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New England Patriots lose, securing Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl record

Four straight still stands.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The New England Patriots lost on Saturday night and there was much rejoicing in Buffalo Bills land. It wasn’t just that the Patriots lost, it was that the Bills secured their legacy from the early 1990s: The Buffalo Bills are the only team to ever play in four straight Super Bowls.

From January of 1991 to January of 1994, the Bills won four AFC Championships and traveled to four Super Bowls. That team is rightfully celebrated as one of the best ever with multiple players, their head coach, general manager, and owner in the Hall of Fame. It’s an amazing accomplishment marred only by the fact they couldn’t win the big one.

Fast forward to the Patriots dynasty that began in 2001. From January 2002 to February of 2019, the Patriots have made the Super Bowl nine times with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. It’s truly been a remarkable run. But they’ve never won four straight AFC Championships.

They went three years out of four between 2002 and 2005, with the Oakland Raiders winning the AFC in 2003. They went four out of five years from 2015 to 2019 with the Denver Broncos cashing in an AFC Championship in Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

Their loss in this year’s playoff brings to an end their three-year streak. The Miami Dolphins of the 1970s set the previous high-water mark at three straight appearances from the 1971 to 1973 seasons.

Fourteen times, Super Bowl teams have gone back-to-back seasons before not making it the next year.

This loss by New England is probably enough for the 90s Bills to rest easy forever. The greatest coach-QB tandem in NFL history couldn’t do it and in the era of free agency, no other teams have come close. Only one other team even has two straight conference championships since the year 2000: The Seattle Seahawks in February of 2014 and 2015.