FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Not a bad way to start the day. The New England Patriots woke up Tuesday morning and learned it was a hat-and-t-shirt day, as they are AFC East champions.
Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi once coined the phrase "hat-and-t-shirt" game when the team was playing for some type of championship -- division, conference, Super Bowl. Bruschi always looked forward to returning to his locker and seeing championship hats and t-shirts waiting for him, and always hoped for three sets of them each year.
This year, it was a different type of scenario with the Dolphins playing on Monday night, so the Patriots could earn their hats and t-shirts without playing a game.
A few Patriots divisional notes:
They are 71-19 in regular-season AFC East games since the beginning of the 2001 season.
They have won 12 division titles and have 12 playoff berths since realignment in 2002, the most in the NFL.
This is the seventh straight AFC East title for the Patriots.
Quarterback Tom Brady touched on the division title during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI on Tuesday morning.
"I didn't know until this morning," he said. "That's pretty cool. It is a great achievement for our team. I didn't know that was possible last night or else I probably would have stayed up and watched a little bit longer. Obviously there was some tie-breaker that we came up with or something. That's great. That's what you start with, winning your division. We talk about that every year. We've done a good job in our division thus far, being 4-0. We'll have a chance the last two weeks of the year to finish strong, after this Titan game."