NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4) at DENVER BRONCOS (12-4)
Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 at 3:05 p.m. ET. Sports Authority Field at Mile High (76,125)
The New England Patriots advanced to their fifth straight AFC Championship Game, joining the Oakland Raiders (1973-77) as the only NFL teams to reach five straight conference championship games.
Bill Belichick will coach in his 10th conference championship game to match Tom Landry for the most in NFL history. (since the 1970 merger).
Tom Brady has reached his 10th AFC Championship Game to match Gene Upshaw and George Blanda for the most appearances in the title game. Excluding the 2008 season due to injury and the 2000 season when Brady played in just one game, Brady has led the Patriots to 10 title games in 14 seasons as the starter. The Patriots will attempt to reach back-to-back Super Bowls for the second time in team history. The Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004. A Patriots win would give them their ninth Super Bowl berth, breaking a tie with Dallas and Pittsburgh for the most in NFL history.
TELEVISION: *This week's game will be broadcast by *CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. **Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Phil Simms as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn will work the sidelines. The game will be produced by Lance Barrow and directed by Mike Arnold.
NATIONAL RADIO: *This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience on Westwood One. *Kevin Harlan will call the game alongside Dan Fouts and Boomer Esiason with Mark Malone providing sideline analysis.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. Produced by Marc Cappello.
PATRIOTS IN THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Patriots are 8-3 in the AFC Championship Game, including a 5-1 record at home and a 4-1 mark at Gillette Stadium.
The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos will meet for the second time in 2015, for the fifth time in the postseason and for the second time in an AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots traveled to Denver on Nov. 29 this season and lost, 30-24 in overtime in a Sunday Night Football game.
The Patriots and Broncos have played in three divisional playoff games and one AFC Championship Game. The last time they played in the postseason was the 2013 AFC Championship Game, a 26-16 Denver win at Sports Authority Field.
The teams have met in the regular season in each of the last five years, with the Patriots winning the first four games.
This week's game will mark the third time the teams have played twice in a season. The teams met twice in 2011 and 2013 with a divisional postseason game in 2011 and the AFC Championship Game meeting in 2013, in addition to the regular season matchups.
The Patriots and Broncos have played in 46 regular season games with Denver holding a 26-20 edge and four postseason games with Denver in front, 3-1.
The Patriots are 9-20 overall in games played in Denver, including 0-3 in the playoffs.
The Patriots have played more games against the Broncos than any other team that has never been in New England's division.
The history between the teams dates back to the first days of the American Football League in 1960. The Patriots played the Broncos in the inaugural game of each franchise, a 13-10 Denver win on Sept. 9, 1960 at BU Field. The teams squared off twice a year in the decade prior to the AFL-NFL merger, except for 1967 and 1969.
Overall Record, 21-29 (Including 1-3 in playoffs)
Record in New England, 12-9
Record in Denver, 9-20 (Including 0-3 in playoffs)
Total Points in the Series, Denver 1,129, Patriots 1,074
Bill Belichick vs. Denver, 8-12 (8-8 with New England)
BRADY VS. DENVER
Tom Brady is 5-6 against the Broncos in the regular season and 1-2 against Denver in the postseason following a 2005 AFC Divisional playoff loss in Denver, the 2011 AFC Divisional victory at Gillette Stadium and the 2013 AFC Championship Game.
BRADY VS. MANNING: THE STATS
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have had many epic games against each other over the course of their careers. This week's game will be the third overall Brady-Manning game since Peyton Manning's departure from the Indianapolis Colts. Despite playing in separate divisions following the 2002 NFL division reformatting, the Patriots and the Colts played each other an astounding 17 times since 2001 overall. With the exception of the 2011 regular season matchup - a game which Peyton Manning missed due to a neck injury - and the 2008 regular season game that Tom Brady missed following an ACL tear, Brady and Manning have started at quarterback for their respective teams in every game dating back to Sept. 30, 2001. Sunday's game between the Patriots and the Broncos will mark the 16th time that Brady and Manning have started opposite one another.
Although Manning holds a regular-season advantage over Brady in touchdowns, yards and completions, the Patriots have won eight of the 11 regular season games in which the two quarterbacks have faced each other.
Brady and Manning have also faced each other four times in the postseason. The Patriots are 2-2 in those four playoff games with Brady posting a better passer rating (85.1) than Manning (74.8).
NEW ENGLAND TIES
- Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison began his coaching career as an assistant at Suffield (Conn.) Academy from 1992-94.
- Patriots assistant strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera served in the same position at the University of Colorado in 2010.
- Broncos CB Aqib Talib was acquired by the Patriots from Tampa Bay in a trade on Nov. 1, 2012. He started 13 games in his first and only full season with the club in 2013, compiling 41 tackles, four interceptions, 14 passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery en route to earning his first Pro Bowl nod.
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick served as assistant special teams/ assistant to the defensive coordinator for the Broncos in 1978, when the team went 10-6 and won the AFC West.
- Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was head coach of the Broncos from 2009-10.
- Patriots DT Sealver Siliga *spent the entire 2011 season on the Broncos practice squad and then spent the entire 2012 season on the Broncos active roster, appearing in one game and recording one tackle. On Aug. 20, 2013, he was traded by Denver to Seattle in exchange for OL *John Moffitt.
FORMER NFL TEAMMATES
- Patriots WR Danny Amendola spent the entire regular season on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad in 2008, when Broncos DE Demarcus Ware established career highs in Dallas with 69 solo tackles, 20 sacks (eighth highest single-season total in NFL history) and six forced fumbles.
- Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears (wide receivers) and Broncos running backs coach *Eric Studesville *(offensive quality control) coached together on the Chicago Bears staff from 1997-98.
- Patriots WR Keshawn Martin (2012-14), Broncos T Ryan Harris (2012- 13) and Broncos TE Owen Daniels (2006-13) were offensive teammates with the Houston Texans. During his time there, Martin worked with Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison (offensive coordinator, 2010-13), Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak (head coach, 2006-13) and Broncos assistant wide receivers coach *Marc Lubick *(assistant wide receivers, 2012-13).
- Patriots DL Alan Branch and Broncos DE Antonio Smith were defensive teammates with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-08.
- Patriots assistant special teams coach Ray Ventrone (safety) and Broncos S T.J. Ward were teammates in the Cleveland Browns secondary from 2010-12.
- Patriots TE Scott Chandler played for Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips when Phillips served as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2010.
- Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis tutored Patriots LB Jon Bostic when DeCamillis served as assistant head coach/special teams coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 2013-14. Bostic also worked closely with Broncos linebackers coach Reggie Herring in 2014 when Herring held the same role for the Bears.
- Broncos offensive line coach Clancy Barone tutored with Patriots TE Scott Chandler when Barone served as the tight ends coach for the San Diego Chargers in 2007.
- Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly (2012-13), Broncos outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac (2012-13) and Broncos defensive backs coach Joe Woods (2006-13) worked together as members of the Minnesota Vikings defensive coaching staff.
- Broncos wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert tutored with Patriots WR Brandon LaFell when Tolbert served as the wide recievers coach for the Carolina Panthers in 2010.
FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES
- Patriots S Patrick Chung and Broncos S T.J. Ward played together in the Oregon secondary from 2005-08. They were close friends in college and still keep in touch today.
- Patriots WR Chris Harper and Broncos RB C.J. Anderson were offensive teammates at California in 2012.
- Patriots DB Justin Coleman and Broncos DE Malik Jackson were defensive teammates at Tennessee in 2011.
- Broncos LB Lerentee McCray (2008, 2010-12) and Patriots LB Jon Bostic (2009-12)were defensive teammates at Florida.
- Patriots DL Geneo Grissom and Broncos LB Corey Nelson were defensive teammates at Oklahoma from 2011-13.
- Patriots T Nate Solder *and Broncos T *Tyler Polumbus were teammates on the offensive line at Colorado from 2006-07.
- Patriots DB Nate Ebner and Broncos CB Bradley Roby were defensive teammate at Ohio State from 2010-11.
- Patriots WR Danny Amendola and Broncos G Louis Vasquez were offensive teammates at Texas Tech in 2007.
PATRIOTS IN THE PLAYOFFS
The Patriots have qualified for the playoffs 23 times in their 56-year history. Seventeen of those playoff berths have come in the 22 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. The Patriots have won 18 division crowns, including 13 in the last 15 seasons, and have qualified as a Wild Card team on four times (1976, 1985, 1994 and 1998). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 during the strike season.
BRADY POSTSEASON GAMES
The 2015 playoff game vs. Kansas City was Tom Brady's 30th postseason game, tied with Adam Vinatieri for the most in NFL history.
BRADY TIES NFL RECORD WITH HIS 10TH CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Tom Brady will appear in his 10th conference championship game to tie Gene Upshaw and George Blanda for the most conference championship game appearances.
BELICHICK & ALL-TIME IN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCES
Bill Belichick reached his 10th conference championship as a head coach in 2015, to tie the 10 by Tom Landry for themost by a head coach since the 1970 merger.
ALL-TIME POSTSEASON WINS BY AN OWNER
Robert Kraft has 25 career postseason wins, which is the third-most in NFL history.
KRAFT PRODUCES MORE WINS THAN EVERY OTHER PATRIOTS OWNER COMBINED
The Patriots have 266 wins overall under Robert Kraft. He has produced more victories than every other Patriots owner combined. Under Kraft, the Patriots are 266-123 overall since he purchased the team in 1994. Kraft's predecessors in the owner's office went 225-276-9 in the 34 years prior to his purchase of the team.