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Super Bowl XXXVIII Summary
What started as a defensive struggle ended up in a good ol' Texas shootout with Adam Vinatieri repeating his Super Bowl performance of two years ago, nailing a 41-yard field goal with nine seconds to play to give the Patriots a 32-29 Super Bowl win.
It was Tom Brady - the Super Bowl MVP once again - and his team that came away with their second world championship in three seasons. "They made some really big plays in that game," Brady said of the Panthers.
The first half was absolutely no indicator of the fireworks to come. After holding Carolina to a three-and-out, the Patriots had a chance to take an early lead after Troy Brown returned Todd Sauerbrun's punt 28 yards to the Panthers 47. But after Brady got his troops to the Panthers 12-yard line, Vinatieri missed a 31-yard field goal attempt wide right.
"In the first half, there wasn't much offensive production," defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said. "And then in the second half both offenses began to find cracks and seams in the defense and they began to make plays."
Winning the battle of field position, New England took over at midfield but after getting to the Panthers 31, Brady faked a handoff to Smith up the middle on third-and-three and gave to Brown coming around from the left for an end around. But Panthers linebacker Will Witherspoon was right there to catch Brown for a 10-yard loss.
As advertised, the Panthers defense was every bit up to the task as the Patriots. As the first quarter ended, New England had a third-and-one, a situation it has consistently converted throughout the season. But on this one, the Panthers met Smith for no gain and Walter punted yet again.
After Carolina made its second short yardage stop during the Patriots ensuing series, stuffing a Bradt keeper on third-and-one, New England ran Smith up the middle on fourth down with Seymour as the lead blocker. It looked like Smith was stopped short but the ball placement gave New England the first down. Panthers coach John Fox didn't like the spot, challenged the play, but lost. It didn't matter as all New England could do was attempt a 36-yard field goal after getting to the Panthers 18-yard line. Amazingly, it was blocked by Shane Burton - the fourth missed field goal by Vinatieri indoors - all of them at Reliant Stadium.
The game's first turnover came three plays later. Vrabel picked up his second sack of the game while also stripping Delhomme. Richard Seymour recovered the loose ball on the Panthers 20-yard line. "I was able to beat [tackle] Todd Steussie off the edge," Vrabel said. "I'm comfortable rushing from either side and on that one I was on the right when normally I'm coming from the left side."
After Smith netted 3 yards on two carries, Brady dropped back to pass on third down and found nothing except green grass in front of him. Brady took the run invitation 12 yards for a first down. On the next play, he found Branch in the end zone and with just three minutes left in the first half, points finally made their way to the scoreboard. Patriots 7, Carolina 0.
Both teams obviously played excellent defense throughout the first half, but when Carolina hit on a 13-yard pass to Ricky Proehl at the two-minute warning, it was the first time it made a first down by means other than a penalty.
Suddenly, Carolina had life and followed that with another first down pass to Proehl, a 15-yarder. Then New England broke down defensively on a third-and-10 play from its 39. Tyrone Poole had Steve Smith one-on-one down the left sideline and Delhomme threw a beautiful pass over the receiver's right shoulder that Smith took in for the score with 1:07 left in the half. After being smothered all half, Carolina was on the board with a 95-yard drive, the second longest in Super Bowl history.
Brady came right back with a 52-yard bomb to Branch, who was brought down at the Panthers 14. Brady then got the seven points back with a 9-yard completion to Givens, and then a 5-yard scoring pass, also to Givens. Fittingly, a Patriots defensive breakdown was covered up by the offense getting on track, just as the defense assisted the offense throughout the half.
Kris Mangum recovered Vinatieri's squib kick on a short hop and returned it to the Patriots 47-yard line. With 12 seconds left, Davis cracked a 21-yard run off right tackle down to the New England 32 where Kasay nailed a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
The half ended with score, Patriots 14, Panthers 10.
The third quarter clock was dominated by the Patriots but it wasn't until the fourth quarter began that they were in position to score. Starting at his own 29, Brady hit Branch for 16 yards. Smith then ran twice for 10 yards and then Branch caught another for 8. After Joe Andruzzi got caught holding on a Smith run, Brady hit Graham down the middle for a huge 33-yard gain to the Panthers 9. Smith did the work from there with a 4-yard run and then a 2-yard touchdown behind right tackle. That made the score 21-10 Patriots with 14:49 left to play.
Carolina went immediately into a no-huddle offense and it paid off big time. Delhomme hit Muhsin Muhammed for 13 yards to begin the drive, then Smith on the run as he was flushed out of the pocket for 18 and again for 22. Thinking pass, the Patriots defense was hit with a DeShaun Foster run from 33 yards out for the score. Carolina attempted a 2-point conversion to pull within 3 but failed.
New England took over at its own 27 with 12:32 left and up, 21-16. The Patriots could have made things a lot easier on themselves when they drove down to the Carolina 9-yard line but Brady underthrew a pass intended for Christian Fauria in the back of the end zone right into the hands of Reggie Howard. Howard returned the pick to his own 10-yard line and with 7:38 left, Carolina went from being at least down eight to having the ball back with a chance to take the lead. And they did. An 85-yard bomb from Delhomme to Muhammad gave Carolina the lead at 22-21. Again, Carolina went for 2 and was unsuccessful. It marked the first time the Patriots had trailed in a game since the last time they were in Houston - Nov. 23 in a 23-20 overtime win over the Texans.
So with 6:53 left in the game, the game was once again in the hands of Brady and the offense. Once again, Brady came through. On the touchdown drive, he hit Givens for 25 and then for 18 to get the ball to the Carolina 3-yard line. After Smith ran for 2, Brady hit Mike Vrabel, in as a third tight end, for the score.
Now it was New England's turn to go for the two-point conversion. Faulk took a direct snap and went in behind Dan Koppen and Andruzzi for the score.
Carolina needed a touchdown to tie with a lot of football left, 2:51. It only took three plays for Delhomme to move his group into Patriots territory with a 19-yard completion to Muhammad. With the ball at the New England 45, the clock struck the two-minute warning.
Fifty-two seconds later, Delhomme found Proehl in the end zone from 12 yards out and the game was tied. The Panthers made it look easy as both Rodney Harrison (broken arm) and Eugene Wilson (leg) were out of the game with injuries. The big play on the drive was a 31-yard reception by Proehl down the seam to the Patriots 14.
The Carolina kicking game, which served its team so well throughout the game, had a crucial slip-up on the kickoff. Kasay kicked the ball out of bounds - a penalty - and New England took over at its own 40 with 1:08 left.
A pass to Brown was good for a first down at the Panthers 47. That left 51 seconds. An offensive pass interference call on Brown negated a 20-yard completion and knocked New England back 10 yards to its 43. But Brady came back to Brown (13 yards) and then to Graham (4) for consecutive completions. On third-and-three with :15 left, Brady found Branch for 17 yards down to the Panthers 23. On walked Mr. Vinatieri with :09 left for a 41-yard attempt. Good!
The New England Patriots were once again World Champions!
44 Years of Patriots Football
There are currently three former Patriots who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and eleven former Patriots who have been inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Of those, seven players have had their uniform numbers retired:
Bruce Armstrong (78)
Gino Cappelletti (20)
Mike Haynes (40)
Steve Nelson (57)
John Hannah (73)
Jim Lee Hunt (79)
and Bob Dee (89)
Complete Patriots Hall of Fame:
Bruce Armstrong, Nick Buoniconti, Gino Cappelletti, Bob Dee, Steve Grogan, John Hannah, Michael Haynes, Jim Lee Hunt, Steve Nelson, Vito Parilli, Andre Tippett
Professional football arrived in New England on November 16, 1959, when a group of local businessmen, led by former public relations executive William H. "Billy" Sullivan, Jr. was awarded the eighth and final franchise in the new American Football League. One week later, Northwestern University running back Ron Burton was selected as the franchise's first draft choice and Syracuse running back Gerhardt Schwedes was selected as the team's first territorial choice.
Three key personnel decisions were made in the winter of 1960. First, former Boston College head coach Mike Holovak was named director of player personnel. Ed McKeever was hired as the team's first general manager and he selected Lou Saban as the team's first head coach.
One of the first orders of business of the management group was giving the franchise a name and that was accomplished through a public contest. Thousands of entries were submitted to name the team and 74 fans suggested the winning name, the Boston Patriots. Shortly after the franchise name was chosen, Boston Globe artist Phil Bissell drew a cartoon of a Minuteman preparing to snap a football and owner Sullivan liked the drawing so much that he selected "Pat Patriot" as the team logo. On April 1, 1960, Boston University Field - the former home of the Boston Braves - was selected as the first home of the Boston Patriots.
The organization's first training camp opened on July 4, 1960 at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Approximately 350 players reported to the opening of camp, including a large contingent from Boston College. This group would be trimmed to 35 for the start of the regular season. The team's first preseason game was held on July 30 and the Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 28-7 at War Memorial Stadium Buffalo. Patriots defensive end Bob Dee recovered a fumble during the game and scored the AFL's first touchdown. The first "home" game was held two weeks later before 11,000 fans at Harvard Stadium and the Pats lost 24-14 to the Dallas Texans. The team's regular season home opener came on September 9 and 21,597 fans at Boston University field watched the team lose to the Denver Broncos 13-10.
The 1963 season saw the Patriots move to Fenway Park for home games, where they claimed their first division crown with a 7-6-1 record. The team lost the AFL title game, 51-10, to the San Diego Chargers.
A number of Patriots players emerged as stars in the AFL during the 1960s, including wide receiver and kicker Gino Cappelletti, running back Jim Nance, quarterback Babe Parilli, linebacker Nick Buoniconti, defensive linemen Houston Antwine, Bob Dee, Larry Eisenhauer and Jim Lee Hunt and center Jon Morris.
In 1970, after a decade of playing at five different sites, including Boston University Field, Harvard Stadium, Fenway Park, Boston College Alumni Stadium and Legion Field in Birmingham, AL (1968), the Patriots selected Foxboro as the new home of the team. In March 1971, the team was renamed the New England Patriots. On August 15,1971, the Patriots played their first game at Schaefer Stadium in Foxboro, defeating the New York Giants 20-14 before a crowd of 60,423 in a preseason contest.
In 1976, the Patriots earned a wild-card playoff berth, but lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Oakland Raiders, 24-21. In 1978, the Patriots won their first outright division title in franchise history, but lost to the Houston Oilers on Dec. 31, 31-14, in the first playoff game ever at Foxboro Stadium. During the 1970s several Patriots were regarded to be among the most outstanding players in the league in their positions, including offensive guard John Hannah, cornerback Mike Haynes and tight end Russ Francis.
In 1982, Foxboro Schaefer Stadium was renamed Sullivan Stadium in honor of the Patriots owner. In 1985, the Patriots gained a wild-card berth in the playoffs and went on to defeat the New York Jets, Los Angeles Raiders and the Miami Dolphins to win their first AFC Championship and a trip to Super Bowl XX. Unfortunately, the Patriots faced one of the dominant teams of the '80s as the Chicago Bears shuffled to a 46-10 Super Bowl victory. Following that season, Patriot greats John Hannah and Julius Adams retired.
On July 28, 1988, Remington Products, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Victor Kiam purchased the Patriots from the Sullivan family and retained the team for four years.
In 1990, the Patriots' home field was renamed Foxboro Stadium and the following season natural grass was installed in the stadium for the first time by the stadium's new owner, Boston businessman Robert K. Kraft. On July 27 1991, Hannah became the first Patriot to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
In 1992, St. Louis businessman James B. Orthwein purchased controlling interest of the Patriots and made some dramatic changes, both on and off the field. In 1993, he hired former New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells and a new coaching staff. In addition, he also made some cosmetic changes that spring with the unveiling of a new Patriots logo and the change of primary color from red to blue.
On January 21, 1994, Robert K. Kraft became the franchise's fourth owner when he purchased the team from Orthwein, saving the team from a possible move outside of New England. On May 12, 1994, linebacker Andre Tippett moved from the field to the front office when he announced his retirement. That season, the Patriots closed out the season with a seven-game winning streak to qualify for their first playoff berth since the 1986 season. The Patriots lost to the Cleveland Browns 20-13 in the wild-card playoff game. In 1995, the Patriots produced three Pro Bowl players, including Rookie of the Year running back Curtis Martin. Off the field, the Patriots became the only NFL team to publish an all-color team newspaper Patriots Football Weekly and to launch their own web site- www.patriots.com.
The Patriots continued their rise during a memorable 1996 season, winning the AFC Championship and returning to the Super Bowl for the second time in team history. The Patriots finished 11-5 and scored two home playoff wins, 28-3 vs. Pittsburgh and 20-6 vs. Jacksonville, winning the AFC Championship in front of a sold out Foxboro Stadium crowd. The Patriots were defeated by the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, 35-21. The game was the fourth most-watched program in television history attracting some 128,900,000 viewers.
On Feb. 3, 1997, the Patriots hired Pete Carroll as their 13th head coach. In his first season in New England, the Patriots defended their AFC East Division title with a 7-1 record in the division and a 10-6 overall record. It was the Patriots' first back-to-back division titles in franchise history. The Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins 17-3 in the AFC Wild Card playoffs, extending their playoff home winning streak to three games.
On Sept. 7, 1998, the Patriots became the first professional sports team to produce their own live postgame show to be broadcast live only on the Internet. "Patriots Live!", debuted following their season-opening Monday Night Football game at Denver. The Patriots continue to be the only team to produce their own nightly video cybercast on the Internet, "Patriots Video News."
The Patriots finished 9-7 in 1998 and qualified for the playoffs, marking the third consecutive season they have made the postseason - a team record.
The '99 season was the sixth consecutive season that the Patriots have sold out every game prior to the start of the season. Demand for tickets has never been higher. The Patriots established a new sales record by selling out every regular season game for the 1999 season in just 90 minutes. In addition, the waiting list for season tickets has now grown in excess of 35,000 fans. The Patriots have sold-out a franchise record 61 consecutive games (through the 1999 season).
A new era began in Patriots history in the year 2000 when they unveiled designs for their new stadium. The new 68,000-seat CMGI Field was unveiled to the public on April 18th. General seating will remain at 60,000, ensuring current season ticket holders will have the opportunity to renew their accounts. There will also be 8,000 premium seats, including 6,000 club seats and 2,000 luxury suite seats. Those seats will help finance the overall stadium project and allow the Patriots to keep their tickets affordably priced.
The Patriots also began a new era on the playing field when they hired Bill Belichick as the 14th head coach in team history. Belichick, who is regarded as one of the premier defensive architects in the NFL, was hired by the Patriots on January 27, 2000. He had spent the 1996 season in New England as the secondary coach and assistant head coach. He helped the Patriots rebound from a 6-10 record in 1995 to an 11-5 record in 1996 and the team's first divisional title in 10 years. He re-joins the Patriots after spending the past three seasons (1997-99) as the assistant head coach and secondary coach for the New York Jets.
When Kraft purchased the Patriots, he promised fans of New England that he would bring home a championship. And following the 2001 season, Belichick and the Patriots made good on that promise.
The Patriots record from the 2000 regular season was a disappointing 5-11. However, building on the momentum as underdogs for the 2001 season, the Patriots proved to the world their resilience and toughness on the field. In one of the most dramatic turnarounds in NFL history, the Patriots capped off an 11-5 regular season with three playoff wins for the ages. In the divisional round of the playoffs, the Patriots defeated the Oakland Raiders, 16-13 in overtime.
The last game to ever be played at Foxboro Stadium was a thrilling and snowy sendoff for the old Stadium. Adam Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field goal to tie the game late in the fourth quarter to send it into overtime. With at least four inches of snow on the field, Vinatieri and his teammates barely cleared off an area for the dramatic kick. After winning the coin toss in overtime, the Patriots were able to add another Vinatieri field goal (23-yard) to win the game, 16-13. The following week the Patriots traveled to Pittsburgh to play the favored Steelers in the AFC Championship game. Off the field the Patriots demanded respect from the confident Steelers and on the field the Patriots earned it. After a convincing 24-17 win at Heinz Field, the Patriots found themselves back at the Superdome in New Orleans for Super Bowl XXXVI.
On Feb. 3, 2002, the Patriots prepared for a difficult battle against the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. However, with a belief in teamwork and thriving in the role of the "underdog," the Patriots exploded in the first half of the game. They dominated the Rams with a score of 14-3 at halftime. Yet the Rams showed their talents when they rallied in the fourth quarter from 14 points to tie the game at 17. But the Patriots were not willing to watch their eight-game winning streak come to an end.
Quarterback sensation Tom Brady marched the team down the field with only 1:21 left on the clock. Once Brady made it into field goal range, with less than 10 seconds in the game, Adam Vinatieri kicked a remarkable 48-yard field goal to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. In their 42-year history, the New England Patriots finally brought a championship for New England football.
Afterwards, the Patriots were welcomed home with a rally in Boston attended by 1.5 million people and took the Lombardi Trophy to rallies in all of the New England states.
In 2002, coming off their Super Bowl win, the Patriots opened their new home, Gillette Stadium. Having changed the stadium's name from CMGI Field to Gillette Stadium in August 2002, the Patriots also had a changed team for the upcoming season. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe and wide receiver Terry Glenn were traded earlier in the year. Nonetheless, the Patriots began Training Camp with optimism and confidence behind their talented Pro Bowl Quarterback Tom Brady and veteran players Troy Brown, Lawyer Milloy, and Ty Law.
However the momentum from 2001's magical season could not carry over into 2002. The Patriots finished the regular season at 9-7, not enough to defend their World Champions title. While failing to make the playoffs was disappointing, the Patriots sent six players to the 2003 Pro Bowl. This marked the eighth time in franchise history the Patriots had five or more players receive the honor. As the New England Patriots prepared to part with their Lombardi Trophy, the 2003 season appeared to have promise and anticipation. The Patriots hoped to once again return to the Super Bowl and bring another championship to New England, and they reached that goal in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Boston University Field was the Patriots' first "home." The AFL's Boston Patriots played there from 1960-62
Below are the various homes the New England Patriots have had in the past
1960-1962 Boston University Field
Mid 60's Fenway Park
1968 Alabama's Legion Field
1963 & 1969 Boston College's Alumni Stadium
1970 Harvard Stadium
1971-2001 Schaeffer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium
2002-present Gillette Stadium
All information courtesy of Patriots.com