1998 New England Patriots season

The 1998 New England Patriots season was the franchise's 29th season in the National Football League and the 39th overall. They finished with a 9–7 record, losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

1998 New England Patriots season
OwnerRobert Kraft
Head coachPete Carroll
Home fieldFoxboro Stadium
Division place4th AFC East
Playoff finishLost Wild Card Playoffs (at Jaguars) 10–25
Pro BowlersTE Ben Coates
CB Ty Law
SS Lawyer Milloy
AP All-ProsCB Ty Law (1st team)
TE Ben Coates (2nd team)
SS Lawyer Milloy (2nd team)

In the offseason, the Patriots tendered restricted free agent running back Curtis Martin with the highest possible tender, which would return the Patriots first- and third-round draft picks if any team were to sign him and the Patriots were to decide not to match the offer. Fueling the rivalry between the two teams, the New York Jets and head coach Bill Parcells, who had resigned from the Patriots two years earlier, signed Martin, the 1995 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and per restricted free agency rules ceded their first- and third-round picks in the 1998 NFL Draft to the Patriots.[1] With the first-round pick the Patriots selected another running back Robert Edwards, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign. Suffering a broken finger in November,[2] veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe was unable to start the team's final two regular season games and was replaced by Scott Zolak.[3] With a 9–7 record the Patriots finished fourth in the AFC East but earned a sixth seed in the AFC playoffs. With Zolak still at the helm, the Patriots were defeated on the road by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the second straight playoff defeat for second-year head coach Pete Carroll, and is one of only two games the Patriots have ever lost to the Jaguars, the second being in 2018.[4]

As of the 2022 NFL season, this remains the last time that a team with a fourth-place finish in its division made the playoffs.

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