Super Bowl XXXVI: The Patriots Dynasty Begins

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It’s the week before Super Bowl LIV and it’s incredibly weird that the game will not feature Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. 

This week, Boston Sports Syndicate will look at each one of the Patriots Super Bowl victories because it’s not Super Bowl week without Patriots chatter. 

Photo courtesy of si.com
On February 3rd, 2002, the Patriots shocked the world when the organization won its first Super Bowl. 

The Patriots and the St. Louis Rams took the field inside the Louisiana Superdome in front over a capacity crowd over 73000. 

The game was in the wake of the worst terrorist attacks in the history of the United States.  September 11th changed the landscape of the planet.  It’s ironic a team named the Patriots would be the ones to win the world championship that year. 

NFL Conference Champs GearThe NFC Champion Rams were coached by Mike Martz and the team was labeled “The Greatest Show on Turf”.  This style of offense would feature both an aggressive aerial attack and a ground game that featured Marshall Faulk. 

The Rams offense was anchored by QB Kurt Warner, Faulk and WR’s Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim and Ricky Proehl.  They were the first NFL team to score over 500+ points in three consecutive seasons.  The next team to do that would be the New England Patriots. 

The Rams entered the game coming off a 14-2 season.  The Patriots, on the other hand, weren’t expected to be in this game.  Belichick and the Patriots were coming off a 5-11 season.  The Patriots started the year with QB Drew Bledsoe under center. 
The season started out on a somber note for the Patriots as QB coach Dick Rehbein, 45, died of a heart attack.  The Patriots started 0-2 and Bledsoe was hurt during a game against the Jets.  Bledsoe would take a vicious hit from Jets linebacker Mo Lewis, knocking Bledsoe out of the game.  Bledsoe suffered a sheared blood vessel from the hit.

In that game. while a scary moment was unfolding on the television screen with Bledsoe, Brady would take the field against the Jets and the legend would begin. 

Brady would lead the Patriots to an 11-5 record.  The Patriots would meet the Rams during the season.  The Rams defeated the Patriots 24-17 Week 8 in Foxboro.  The game was highly entertaining, and the Patriots played the Rams tough.  Who would have thought that the Week 8 matchup would be a Super Bowl preview? 

As stated earlier, the season was also overshadowed by the attacks of 9/11.  That season the NFL would go on to postpone the September 16th games so the nation could come to grips with the aftermath of the attacks. 

Due to the games being delayed, the NFL had to shift everything else back a week, including the Super Bowl.  It was the first Super Bowl to be played in February. 

After the attacks, the NFL changed the logo for the Super Bowl to reflect a more patriotic look.  Typically the Super Bowl logo mimics the home team and its culture from the area. 

The Rams were 14-point favorites entering the game.  Anyone who took the points or the Patriots would be incredibly happy from the outcome. 

I remember watching this game at home, sick as a dog on the couch.  Two buddies came over to watch and they openly rooted against the Patriots, because it was the thing to do back then. 

The Rams would be announced separately by the PA announcer.  The Patriots came out as a team.  Belichick was given the option of either the offense or defense being announced.  Belichick being who he is held firm to what he wanted, he wanted his team to run onto the field as a group, a team. 

The game opened with the Rams taking a 3-0 lead on a field goal from Jeff Wilkins.  The 50-yarder was the third longest in Super Bowl history.  The remainder of the first quarter was scoreless and the Patriots defense were abusing the Rams wide receivers at the line of scrimmage, not allowing them to get any offensive rhythm. 

With 8:49 left in the second quarter, Patriots cornerback Ty Law intercepted a pass from Warner.  Law brought it to the house and the Patriots went up 7-3. 

2019 NBA Draft Gear at FanaticsBefore the end of the half, Brady would connect with wide receiver David Patton on a 8-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds left in the half.  The Patriots went into the half leading the Rams 14-3.

The Super Bowl halftime show was amazing.  U2 performed and paid tribute to the lives lost from 9/11.  While U2 played the songs “MLK” and “Where The Streets Have No Name”, the names of the victims from 9/11 scrolled on a backdrop during the songs.  At the conclusion of the performance, Bono opened his jacket to show he had an American flag inside his jacket. 

The halftime show captivated the audience at the game and at home.  For me personally it’s one of, if not my favorite Halftime show ever. 

The third quarter was back and forth.  The Rams and Patriots played well defensively.  Late in the third quarter cornerback Otis Smith picked off a pass intended for Holt which led to another field goal and a 17-3 Patriots lead. 

The fourth quarter was amazing.  The Patriots linebacker Roman Phifer caused Warner to fumble, and defensive back Tebucky Jones returned it 93-yards and the Patriots went up 23-3. 

Then a yellow flag was lying on the field.  Linebacker Willie McGinnest was called for a holding penalty and the touchdown was erased. 

Warner then scored and the Pats would be up 17-10.  The Rams buckled down on defense and forced the Patriots to punt the ball.  With 1:30 left in the game, Warner threw a 26-yard pass to Proehl that tied the game 17–17. 

Then, the legend of the GOAT began.  Brady opened the drive with three dump-off completions to running back J.R. Redmond.  Brady then connected with WR Troy Brown and TE Jermaine Wiggins to get the team in field goal range.  Brady then spiked the ball with seven seconds left. 

Do you have goosebumps yet?

This set up a 48-yard attempt for kicker Adam Vinatieri.  Patriots radio announcer Gil Santos will do the honors to finish this article: 

“Far hash mark, angle to the left for Adam Vinatieri - 48-yard field goal attempt.  Snap, ball down, kick up.  Kick is on the way and it is...Good!  It's good!  It's good!  Adam Vinatieri boots a 48-yard field goal, and the game is over, and the Patriots are Super Bowl champions!  The Patriots are Super Bowl champions - the best team in the National Football League!”

The New England Patriots would win their first Super Bowl and defeat the Rams 20-17. 

San Francisco 49ers NFC Champs

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Super Bowl XXXVI: The Patriots Dynasty Begins
Super Bowl XXXVI: The Patriots Dynasty Begins
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