The New England Patriots' 31 NFL rivals have combined to employ nearly 300 general managers, head coaches, offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators from 2012 through this offseason. Three men have filled those roles for the Patriots over the same period.
The Patriots stand apart from their league brethren by the most obvious measures: winning percentage, Super Bowls, championships. Their success has earned them uncommon continuity -- or is it the other way around? Winning in the NFL without continuity is tough, but achieving continuity without winning can be tougher. Winning doesn't always ensure it.
New England is heading toward a sixth consecutive season with the same (de facto) GM, head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and primary quarterback, a run only a few teams can come close to matching. The following continuity rankings take into account how many men have filled those roles for each team since 2012. Consideration also was given to roster continuity beyond the quarterback position using three criteria:
Number of starters each team has used (77-137 was the range)
Number of players who started at least one game in three of the past five seasons (22-33 was the range)
Number of players who logged 2,000 snaps from scrimmage for teams over the past five seasons while remaining on the roster in 2016 (3-17 was the range).
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1. New England Patriots
GM: 1 | HC: 1 | OC: 1 | DC: 1 | Primary QBs: 1
The Patriots are the only team with zero change since 2012 in the five primary categories. The 114 starters they've used in that span is seven above average and 37 more than Cincinnati used in setting the league low. That provided an opening to rank another team higher for continuity. However, the Patriots have a league-high 33 players who have started at least one game in three of the past five seasons. The continuity Bill Belichick provides as head coach and de facto general manager helped keep New England in the top spot.