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Throwback Thursday: Life Was Different The Last Time Patriots Didn't Host A Divisional Round Playoff Game

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Patriots fans have it pretty good. This does not qualify as breaking news.

And as New England prepares for yet another home playoff game on Sunday, now is a good time to try to put into perspective just how long this current run of success has been going. (While we could go back to 2001, technically, we'll consider this "current" run to be the one that began after Tom Brady missed the 2008 season due to injury.)

When the Chargers visit Gillette Stadium on Sunday, it'll mark the ninth consecutive year that the Patriots have hosted a game in the divisional round of the playoffs. Thus far, they own a 7-1 record.

While that will certainly be tested when the 12-4 Chargers visit Foxboro, here's an idea of what this crazy world was like the last time the Patriots DIDN'T host a game in the divisional round, way back in January of 2010.

The No. 1 movie at the time was "Avatar," which had premiered a few weeks prior. Other movies in theaters at the time included "Sherlock Holmes," "The Blind Side" and "Up in The Air." (Hey, coincidentally enough, almost a decade later, Sandra Bullock is back in the headlines for another blind side. How about that?)

The No. 1 song on Billboard's Hot 100 was "TiK ToK" by Ke$ha, way back when she still had the dollar sign in her name.

Also at the top of the charts at that time:

No. 2: "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga
No. 3: "Replay" by Iyaz
No. 4: "Empire State Of Mind" by Jay-Z with Alicia Keys
No. 5: "Fireflies" by Owl City
No. 6: "Sexy Chick" by David Guetta featuring Akon
No. 7: "Down" by Jay Sean featuring Lil' Wayne
No. 8: "Whatcha Say" by Jason Derulo
No. 9: "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas
No. 10: "Party In The U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus

Barack Obama was nearing the completion of his first year in office for his first term as President of the United States. Donald Trump was still donating money to democrats -- though not for much longer. He was also preparing for the third season of "Celebrity Apprentice," which was won by Poison lead singer Brett Michaels.

In Massachusetts politics, Scott Brown was just a week away from defeating Martha Coakley in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat left vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy.

The newest iPhone on the market was the iPhone 3GS:

An Apple 3GS
An Apple 3GS in December 2009 (Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Based on those apps, you can see that AIM still existed.

On TV, the premiere of Season 9 of "American Idol" was mere days away from premiering -- a season that began with a Boston auditions episode and ended with Lee DeWyze as the winner. Kris Allen was the previous year's winner. On the Saturday of the divisional round of the playoffs, Sigourney Weaver hosted "Saturday Night Live"; musical guest The Ting Tings performed "That's Not My Name" ... which is a song you probably haven't heard since then.

Elsewhere in late night television, conflict between Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno was about ready to come to a head, with the two hosting competing programs on the same network in different time slots.

While the Jets-Chargers divisional round game was the top rated TV show of the Sunday of that weekend, other highly rated shows that night included "24," "Human Target," and "Desperate Housewives." Ricky Gervais hosted The Golden Globe Awards for the first time that same night. The big winners on TV were "Mad Men," "Dexter" and "Glee." Jeff Bridges won best actor in a movie for his performance in "Crazy Heart"; this year, he was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award -- the Golden Globe's version of the lifetime achievement award.

Jeff Bezos was in the process of upping his net worth from $6.8 billion to $12.6 billion. He's now worth $112 billion. Err ... well, maybe call it $70 billion. (Yikes!)

Tiger Woods was coming off a 2009 calendar year that saw him win seven tournaments. Nobody even knew about his ... off-the-course hobbies. He's won 10 total tournaments since then.

Patriots first-round pick Sony Michel was 14 years old. Tom Brady was a spry 32 years of age.

And most importantly of all, back in those days, nobody had ever heard the word "DeflateGate."

It was a simpler time.

Of course, that lonely, dreary divisional round weekend came in went after Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens stomped all over the Patriots in the wild card round that year, which is considered one of the worst seasons of the Brady/Belichick era. The Patriots have since gone 113-31 in the regular season and 13-6 in the postseason, with four Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl victories.

Here's how the Patriots compare to some other perennial AFC foes in that department.

Patriots: 113-31 reg. season (.785), 13-6 playoffs, 4 Super Bowl appearances, 2 Super Bowl wins
Steelers: 94-49-1 reg. season (.653), 5-6 playoffs, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 0 Super Bowl wins
Broncos: 82-62 reg. season (.569), 6-4 playoffs, 2 Super Bowl appearances, 1 Super Bowl win
Ravens: 84-60 reg. season (.583), 7-4 playoffs, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 1 Super Bowl win
Chiefs: 84-60 (.583), 1-5 playoffs, 0 Super Bowl appearances
Colts: 75-69 reg. season (.521), 4-4 playoffs, 0 Super Bowl appearances
Texans: 72-72 reg. season (.500), 3-5 playoffs, 0 Super Bowl appearances

And again, as has been stated, this will be the Patriots' ninth straight season hosting a divisional playoff game. That's an all-time NFL record, beating the previous best of just five seasons, set by Miami in the early '80s.

Overall, this will be the Patriots' 14th home playoff game since the 2010 season.

Patriots: 14
Broncos: 7
Steelers: 5
Texans: 5
Chiefs: 4
Ravens: 3
Colts: 3

All of those comparisons, of course, only involve AFC teams. But we need not limit the field in order to see how much the Patriots have stood out over the last nine seasons.

Patriots: 113-31 reg. season (.785), 13-6 playoffs, 4 Super Bowl appearances, 2 Super Bowl wins

Seahawks: 89-54-1 (.618), 9-6 playoffs, 2 Super Bowl appearances, 1 Super Bowl win
Saints: 87-57 (.604), 3-3 playoffs, 0 Super Bowl appearances
Packers: 89-53-2 (.597), 5-6 playoffs, 0 Super Bowl appearances
Falcons: 82-62 (.569), 4-5 playoffs, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 0 Super Bowl wins
Cowboys: 78-66 (.542), 3-3 playoffs, 0 Super Bowl appearances
Eagles: 78-66 (.542), 4-2 playoffs, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 1 Super Bowl win
Panthers: 73-70-1 (.507), 3-3 playoffs, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 0 Super Bowl wins
Giants: 66-78 (.458), 4-1 playoffs, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 1 Super Bowl win

And the home playoff game comparison:

Patriots: 14
Seahawks: 6
Packers: 5
Eagles: 4
Panthers: 4
Saints: 3
Cowboys: 3
Giants: 1

Any way you slice it, the Patriots are having themselves quite a run. Regular season, postseason, AFC, NFC -- it hasn't really mattered much. The Patriots over the past decade remain peerless in so many areas.

The run will of course come to an end at some point in time. (It will, won't it? WON'T IT??!!!) But for now, it's always worth taking a step back and seeing it all for what it is.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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