Super Bowl XXXVI
|Super Bowl XXXVI|
|Date||February 3, 2002|
|Stadium||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|MVP||Tom Brady, Quarterback (New England)|
|Favorite||Rams by 14|
|Future Hall of Famers|
Patriots: None. |
Rams: Marshall Faulk, Aeneas Williams.
|National anthem||Mariah Carey|
|Coin toss||George H. W. Bush and Roger Staubach|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Pat Summerall, John Madden, Pam Oliver and Ron Pitts|
(est. 86.8 million viewers)
|Cost of 30-second commercial||US$1.9 million|
Super Bowl XXXVI was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion St. Louis Rams and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2001 season. The Patriots defeated the Rams 20–17. It was New England's first Super Bowl victory.
The game was played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 3, 2002. Following the September 11 attacks earlier in the season, the NFL postponed a week of regular season games and moved the league's playoff schedule back. As a result, Super Bowl XXXVI was rescheduled from the original date of January 27 to February 3, becoming the first Super Bowl played in February. Due to heightened security measures following the terrorist attacks, this was the first Super Bowl designated as a National Special Security Event (NSSE) by the Office of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS would later name each subsequent Super Bowl an NSSE.
This game marked the Rams' third Super Bowl appearance in franchise history and the second in three seasons. St. Louis posted an NFL-best 14–2 regular season record, led by quarterback Kurt Warner and "The Greatest Show on Turf" offense. The Patriots clinched their third Super Bowl berth after posting an 11–5 regular season record, led by second-year quarterback Tom Brady and a defense that ended the regular season ranked sixth in scoring.
Although the Rams outgained the Patriots 427–267 in total yards, New England built a 17–3 third-quarter lead off of three St. Louis turnovers. After a holding penalty in the fourth quarter negated a Patriots fumble return for a touchdown, Warner scored a 2-yard touchdown run and threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to tie the game, 17–17 with 1:30 remaining. Without any timeouts, Brady led his team down the field to set up kicker Adam Vinatieri's game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired. Brady, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown, was named Super Bowl MVP.
St. Louis Rams
Main article: 2001 St. Louis Rams season
After their Super Bowl-winning 1999 season, the Rams offense again dominated the league in 2000, leading the NFL in passing, scoring, and total yards. However, the Rams had one of the worst defenses in the league, ranking second to last in points allowed. This, along with injury problems and a coaching change (Super Bowl winning coach Dick Vermeil left the team and was replaced by Mike Martz), caused the Rams to slip to a 10–6 record in 2000. The season ended with a loss to the New Orleans Saints in the wild card round of the playoffs.
After signing several new defensive players in the offseason, and hiring new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith, the Rams finished the 2001 season with the NFL's best regular season record at 14–2. They led the league in both total offensive yards (6,930) and scoring (503). This was the Rams' third consecutive season with over 500 points, an NFL record. On defense, they only allowed 271 points, improving their 31st ranking in 2000 to 7th in 2001.
The Rams' 1999–2001 offense, nicknamed "The Greatest Show on Turf," is widely considered one of the best in NFL history. The team possessed an incredible amount of offensive talent at nearly every position. In 2001, quarterback Kurt Warner was awarded his second NFL Most Valuable Player Award after throwing for 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns, with 22 interceptions, and earned a league high 101.4 passer rating. Wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce each amassed over 1,100 receiving yards, combining for 142 receptions, 2,469 yards, and 13 touchdowns. Wide receiver Ricky Proehl caught 40 passes for 563 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tight end Ernie Conwell caught 38 passes for 431 yards and 4 touchdowns. Wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim caught 39 passes for 374 yards, and added another 333 yards returning punts.
Running back Marshall Faulk won NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award for the third year in a row in 2001. He rushed for 1,382 yards, caught 83 passes for 765 yards, scored 21 touchdowns, and became the first NFL player ever to gain more than 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards for 4 consecutive seasons. Running back Trung Canidate was also a major contributor, rushing for 441 yards, catching 17 passes for 154 yards, returning kickoffs for 748 yards, and scoring 6 touchdowns. The Rams offensive line was led by guard Adam Timmerman and offensive tackle Orlando Pace, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive year.
The Rams also had a solid defense, ranking third in the league in fewest yards allowed (4,733). The line was anchored by Pro Bowl defensive end Leonard Little, who led the team with 14.5 sacks and recovered a fumble, and defensive end Grant Wistrom, who recorded 9 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 1 fumble recovery. The Rams linebacking core was led by London Fletcher, who had 4.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. St. Louis also had an outstanding secondary, led by Dre' Bly (6 interceptions, 150 return yards, and 2 touchdowns), Pro Bowler Aeneas Williams (4 interceptions, 69 return yards, 2 touchdowns), and Dexter McCleon (4 interceptions, 66 yards).
New England Patriots
Main article: 2001 New England Patriots season
The Patriots' chances for a Super Bowl appearance seemed bleak shortly after the season had begun. Before the season even started, quarterbacks coach Dick Rehbein died of a heart attack. The Patriots, coached by Bill Belichick, lost their first two games. In the second loss, at home to the New York Jets, starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe suffered a sheared blood vessel on a hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis that would cause him to miss several weeks. His replacement was second-year quarterback Tom Brady, a sixth-round draft pick who had thrown only 3 passes in 2000. Also, during the fourth game of the year, wide receiver Terry Glenn, the team's leading receiver in 2000, was benched due to off-the-field problems.
Upon assuming the role of starting quarterback, Brady enjoyed immediate success in the regular season, leading New England to an 11–5 record. He completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,843 yards and 18 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and was selected to the Pro Bowl. Veteran Pro Bowl wide receiver Troy Brown was the main receiving threat, recording 101 receptions for 1,199 yards and 5 touchdowns, while also adding another 413 yards and 2 touchdowns returning punts. His 14.2 yards per punt return average lead the NFL. Wide receiver David Patten also was productive, catching 51 passes for 749 yards and 4 touchdowns. Running back Antowain Smith provided the team with a stable running game, rushing for 1,157 yards, catching 19 passes for 192 yards, and scoring 13 touchdowns.
New England was good on defense as well. Up front, linemen Bobby Hamilton (7 sacks, 1 fumble recovery), and rookie Richard Seymour excelled at pressuring quarterbacks and stuffing the run. Behind them, the Patriots had 3 outstanding linebackers: Mike Vrabel (2 interceptions, 3 sacks), Willie McGinest (5 sacks), and Tedy Bruschi (2 interceptions). The secondary also featured outstanding talent such as defensive back Otis Smith, who led the team with 5 interceptions for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cornerback Ty Law intercepted 3 passes, returning them for 91 yards and 2 touchdowns. Safety Lawyer Milloy had 2 interceptions during the season, and was selected along with Law to represent the New England defense in the Pro Bowl. The defense ended the season ranked 6th in scoring, but 24th in total defense.
During the 2001 regular season, the Patriots hosted the Rams in a nationally televised ESPN Sunday night game on November 18. Although the Patriots jumped out to an early lead, a critical turnover before the end of the first half that led to a Rams score proved costly. In the second half, the Rams wore New England down and won 24–17. The Rams lost four of their defensive players with injuries. The Patriots' physical play led Rams coach Mike Martz to say after the game that the Patriots were "a Super Bowl–caliber team." After the loss, the Patriots dropped to 5–5, but would not lose again the rest of the season.
Coincidentally, this was the third straight time that the New England Patriots Super Bowl appearance was hosted in New Orleans. The Patriots did not appear in a Super Bowl hosted by another city until the team played in Super Bowl XXXVIII two years later in Houston, Texas. They joined the Dallas Cowboys as the only teams to play three different Super Bowls in one stadium. The Cowboys played three at the old Miami Orange Bowl in the 1970s.
Main article: NFL playoffs, 2001–02
The Rams began their postseason run with a 45–17 win over the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. Expected to be a close shootout between Warner and Packers quarterback Brett Favre, the Rams defense dominated the Packers by intercepting a playoff record 6 passes from Favre and returning 3 of them for touchdowns. The Rams offense also racked up 24 points on 2 touchdown passes by Warner, a touchdown run by Faulk, and a field goal by Jeff Wilkins, helping St. Louis put the game away by the end of the third quarter.
One week later, the Rams advanced to the Super Bowl with a 29–24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game. Philadelphia managed to build a 17–13 halftime lead, but St. Louis scored 16 consecutive second half points (2 touchdown runs by Faulk and a Wilkins field goal) to earn the win. Warner finished the game with 22 of 33 pass completions for 212 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions, while Faulk rushed for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns.
In the AFC, the Patriots defeated the Oakland Raiders 16–13 in the final game at Foxboro Stadium played in a driving New England snowstorm. The signature moment of the game was a controversial ruling by referee Walt Coleman in the fourth quarter that would cause this game to commonly be known as the "tuck rule game." While the Patriots possessed the ball, trailing the Raiders 13–10 with under two minutes left in regulation and no time outs, Tom Brady was sacked by defensive back Charles Woodson, and appeared to fumble the ball. The fumble was recovered by Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert, presumably ending the game with a Raiders victory. After reviewing the play using instant replay, Coleman reversed the call on the field pursuant to the "tuck rule", where a loose ball is ruled an incomplete pass if lost while "tucking" the ball. Most of the controversy centered on whether Brady was still trying to tuck the ball away when he lost control. Brady then led his team to the Raiders 27-yard line, where kicker Adam Vinatieri made a 45-yard field goal which barely cleared the crossbar to send the game into overtime. The Patriots won the toss in overtime and would win on another Vinatieri field goal from 23 yards. Oakland's offense never regained possession.
In the AFC title game, the Patriots traveled to Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were coming off a 27–10 win over the previous season's Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. New England scored first with a 55-yard punt return touchdown by Troy Brown, but in the second quarter, Brady was knocked out of the game with a sprained ankle. He would be replaced by Drew Bledsoe in Bledsoe's first game action since being injured in September. Upon entering the game, Bledsoe quickly moved the Patriots down the field and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to David Patten to give the Patriots a 14–3 halftime lead.
Early in the second half, the Steelers moved from their own 32 to the New England 16, where they lined up for a field goal by Kris Brown. However, Brandon Mitchell blocked the kick, Troy Brown picked up the ball at the 40 and ran 11 yards before lateraling to Antwan Harris, who took it 49 yards for a touchdown that made the score 21–3. But Pittsburgh scored two third-quarter touchdowns to make the score 21–17. The Patriots ended the comeback attempt by scoring a field goal in the fourth quarter and intercepting 2 passes from Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart in the final 3 minutes of the game.
Effect of the September 11, 2001 attacks
New Orleans had been preparing for Super Bowl XXXVI ever since the city was awarded the game on October 28, 1998 during the NFL's meetings in Kansas City, Missouri, beating out San Diego as host city. However, the September 11, 2001 attacks led the league to postpone its September 16 games and play them a week after the scheduled conclusion of the regular season. This caused the playoffs and Super Bowl to be moved back by one week. Rescheduling Super Bowl XXXVI from January 27 to February 3 proved extraordinarily difficult. In addition to rescheduling the game itself, all related events and activities had to be accommodated. This marked the first time in NFL history that the Super Bowl was played in the month of February; however, all subsequent Super Bowls (excluding Super Bowl XXXVII) would be played in February.
Historically, the NFL made allowance for an open weekend between the Conference Championship games and the Super Bowl. However, there wasn't one scheduled for 2001, due to the NFL's decision beginning in the 1999 season to move the opening week of games to the weekend after Labor Day. Because the date of the Super Bowl had been set through 2003, the bye week prior to the Super Bowl would not return until 2004.
The NFL and New Orleans officials worked diligently to put together a deal to reschedule the game. The league considered a number of options, including shortening the regular season, shortening the playoffs, condensing the three playoff rounds in two weeks, and moving the game to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It was eventually decided to make every effort to maintain a full regular season and playoff, and push the Super Bowl back to February 3.
One of the most significant logistical challenges was accommodating the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention, which was originally slated to occupy the Superdome on February 3. On October 3, 2001, the NFL announced its intentions to hold the game on February 3, even though no agreement had been reached with NADA. Several weeks later, the three parties came to an accord in which the NADA would move its convention date to the original Super Bowl week in exchange for financial and other considerations, including promotional spots shown during selected regular season NFL games. This agreement permitted the NFL to move the game back to February 3, and allowed for a full standard playoff tournament.
Initially, the original logo for Super Bowl XXXVI had a style that reflected the host city, and was distributed on some memorabilia items during 2001. However, after the 9/11 attacks, a new logo reflecting American pride was designed. It featured the shape of the 48 contiguous states and the American flag colors of red, white, and blue (see the top of this article).
This was the final Super Bowl played on the old-style AstroTurf. From 2000 to 2005, NFL stadiums phased out the short-pile AstroTurf in favor of natural grass or other artificial surfaces which closely simulate grass, like FieldTurf.
Prior to Super Bowl XXXVI, Superdome officials considered installing natural grass for the game. The proposed installation method was comparable to what had been used at the Silverdome during the 1994 World Cup, and at Giants Stadium from 2000–2002. The plan called for large trays of grass to be grown and cultivated outdoors, then brought inside the dome and placed on the field for the game. In the end, cost and quality concerns prompted stadium and league officials to abandon the project.
The Rams were entering as 14 point favorites. This was partly because Rams quarterback Kurt Warner statistically had his best year of his career, with a quarterback rating of 101.4, a 68.7 percent completion rate, and threw for 4,830 yards. Many had believed that the Patriots' cinderella story was simply a fluke, especially after beating the veteran Oakland Raiders in a controversial playoff game in which a recovered fumble by the Raiders was reversed by the Tuck rule.
There had been speculation on whether longtime starter Drew Bledsoe might start the game. As stated above, Bledsoe replaced an injured Brady against the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. Eventually, though, Brady was named starter.
The game was broadcast in the United States by Fox television, with the broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Pat Summerall and color commentator John Madden. Pam Oliver and Ron Pitts served as sideline reporters. This was Summerall's 26th and final Super Bowl broadcast on television or radio. It was also the eighth and final Super Bowl telecast (and final NFL telecast of any kind) for the Summerall and Madden announcing team. The two had become the NFL's most famous broadcast duo since they were paired together in 1981 on CBS. After this game, Madden would move to ABC following Summerall's retirement. As a result, Madden was the first person to announce Super Bowls on different networks in consecutive years when he called Super Bowl XXXVII on ABC with Al Michaels.
James Brown hosted all the events with help from his fellow Fox NFL Sunday cast members Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Cris Collinsworth. Jillian Barberie served as the weather and entertainment reporter during the pre-game show.
Memorable television commercials that aired during the game included Sony Pictures trailer for Spider-Man and Budweiser's "Picking a Card". ADBOWL ranked M&M's "Chocolate on our Pillow" as the best commercial of the year.
In a video segment, past and present NFL players read excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, which has become a part of all subsequent Super Bowls carried by Fox Sports. Super Bowls XXXIX, XLII, and XLV used different active and former players (and a player's widow) reading the Declaration for each version. Former U.S. presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton appeared in another videotaped segment and recited some of the speeches by Abraham Lincoln. Because Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's disease, his wife Nancy appeared on the segment in place of him.
Singers Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony, along with the Boston Pops Orchestra, performed "America the Beautiful". Paul McCartney then sang his post-9/11 song "Freedom". Afterwards, singer Mariah Carey, accompanied by the Boston Pops Orchestra, performed the national anthem.
George H. W. Bush became the first president, past or present, to participate in a Super Bowl coin toss in person (Ronald Reagan participated in the Super Bowl XIX coin toss via satellite from the White House in 1985). Bush was joined by former Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. Staubach played at the United States Naval Academy and was the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VI, which was played 30 years prior at New Orleans' Tulane Stadium.
Patriots entrance into the Superdome
As was customary at the time, the Rams' offensive starters were introduced first, as the Rams were considered the visitors. However, when it came time to introduce the Patriots' starters, Pat Summerall, making the public address announcement, revealed that the Patriots chose "to be introduced as a team." According to David Halberstam's book, The Education of a Coach, Belichick was given a choice by the NFL to introduce either the offense or defense. Belichick chose neither, asking that the team be introduced all at once in the spirit of unity. Although this was initially rejected by the NFL, Belichick held his ground and the NFL honored his request. The full team introduction demonstrated solidarity, and struck a chord with the audience in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. This introduction style set a precedent, and today both Super Bowl contestants are introduced as a team.
The halftime show featured a three-song set from Irish rock band U2, who had just completed their successful Elevation Tour. After a rendition of "Beautiful Day", the band played "MLK" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" as the names of the victims from the September 11 attacks were projected onto a sheet behind the stage. While singing "Where the Streets Have No Name", the group's lead singer Bono replaced the lyrics "take shelter from the poison rain" with "dance in the Louisiana rain", "high on a desert plain" with "where there's no sorrow or pain", and the final line "it's all I can do" with "it's all we can do". At the conclusion of the song, Bono opened his jacket to reveal an American flag printed into the lining. U2's halftime show captivated the audience as a poignant tribute to those who had been lost in the attacks. In 2009, SI.com ranked it as the best halftime show in Super Bowl history, while it was rated the second-greatest by Askmen.com.
Janet Jackson was originally selected to perform at the Halftime Show, though allowed U2 to perform a tribute to the events of September 11 and due to traveling concerns following the tragedy. She would perform at the event two years later, when her highly controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show performance incident occurred.
The Rams scored first midway through the first quarter, with Kurt Warner completing 6 of 7 passes for 43 yards on 48 yard, 10 play drive to set up a 50-yard field goal by kicker Jeff Wilkins. At the time, the field goal was the third longest in Super Bowl history. The rest of the quarter was scoreless.
Early in the second quarter, the Rams drove to New England's 34-yard line, but quarterback Kurt Warner threw an incompletion on third down, and Wilkins' subsequent 52-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
With 8:49 left in the second quarter, New England defensive back Ty Law intercepted a pass intended for receiver Isaac Bruce and scored on a 47-yard return to give the Patriots a 7–3 lead. With less than two minutes left in the first half, Warner completed a pass to receiver Ricky Proehl at the Rams 40-yard line, but New England defensive back Antwan Harris forced a fumble while tackling him, which was recovered by Patriots defensive back Terrell Buckley. New England quarterback Tom Brady started off the Patriots drive with a 16-yard completion to Troy Brown and finished it with an 8-yard touchdown pass to receiver David Patten with 31 seconds left in the half. By halftime, New England owned a surprising 14–3 lead. It was the first time in the entire 2001 season that the Rams fell behind by more than eight points in a game.
The Patriots received the opening kickoff of the second half, but could only reach the St. Louis 43-yard line before being forced to punt. Aided by a 20-yard reception by wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim, a 22-yard reception by Bruce, and a defensive pass interference penalty on Patriots defensive back Otis Smith, the Rams advanced to the New England 41-yard line. However, on the next play, linebacker Mike Vrabel and defensive lineman Richard Seymour sacked Warner for a 9-yard loss. Warner then threw 2 consecutive incomplete passes, which resulted in the Rams punting.
Later in the third quarter, Otis Smith intercepted a pass intended for Rams wide receiver Torry Holt after Holt slipped while coming off the line of scrimmage, and returned the ball 30 yards to the Rams 33-yard line. Though St. Louis' defense did not give up a touchdown to the Patriots, kicker Adam Vinateri made a 37-yard field goal to increase New England's lead to 17–3.
The Rams responded by driving to the Patriots' 3-yard line on their ensuing drive. On fourth-and-goal, the Rams attempted to score a touchdown, calling for a quarterback sneak by Warner. Warner fumbled the ball while being tackled by linebacker Roman Phifer, which was recovered by defensive back Tebucky Jones who returned it 97 yards for a touchdown that would have increased the Patriots lead to 23–3. However, the play was nullified by a holding penalty on linebacker Willie McGinest, who illegally hugged Rams running back Marshall Faulk and prevented him from becoming an eligible receiver. This gave the Rams a first down on the 1-yard line. On second down, Warner scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to cut the Patriots' lead to 17–10.
After Warner's touchdown, the Rams defense forced the Patriots to a three-and-out. St. Louis then drove from their own 7-yard line to the New England 36-yard line, aided by a 30-yard reception by Proehl. However, McGinest sacked Warner for a 16-yard loss on second down, pushing the Rams back to their 46-yard line. St. Louis punted after Warner's third down pass was incomplete.
The Rams forced New England to another three-and-out, and got the ball back on their own 45-yard line with 1:51 left in the game. Warner threw three consecutive completions: an 18-yard pass to Hakim, an 11-yard one to receiver Yo Murphy, and finally a 26-yard touchdown completion to Proehl that tied the game 17–17 with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots had no timeouts left for their ensuing drive, which led Fox color commentator John Madden to initially suggest that the Patriots should run out the clock and attempt to win in overtime. Instead, New England attempted to get the winning score in regulation on the final drive. Brady opened the drive with three completions to running back J.R. Redmond, which moved the ball to their 41-yard line with 33 seconds left. After an incomplete pass, Brady completed a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Troy Brown, and followed it up with a 6-yard completion to tight end Jermaine Wiggins to advance to the Rams' 30-yard line. Brady then spiked the ball with seven seconds left, which set up Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal attempt. Vinatieri's game-winning kick was successful, marking the first time in Super Bowl history that a game was won by a score on the final play.
at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Warner finished the game with 28 completions out of 44 passes for 365 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions, and rushed 3 times for 6 yards and a touchdown. Warner's 365 passing yards were the second highest total in Super Bowl history behind his own record of 414 yards set in Super Bowl XXXIV. Hakim was the top receiver of the game with 5 catches for 90 yards, and also rushed once for 5 yards. Faulk led the team with 76 rushing yards, and also caught 4 passes for 54 yards.
Patriots running back Antowain Smith was the top rusher of the game with 92 yards, and caught a pass for 4 yards. Troy Brown was the Patriots leading receiver with 6 catches for 89 yards. Brown also had a 15-yard kickoff return, and a 4-yard punt return, which gave him 108 total yards. Although the Rams outgained the Patriots 427–267 in total yards, New England forced three turnovers that were converted into 17 points. The Patriots on the other-hand committed no turnovers.
Source: NFL.com Super Bowl XXXVI
The Patriots would finish the 2002 NFL season 9-7, but would later win Super Bowl XXXVIII, Super Bowl XXXIX and Super Bowl XLIX, thus winning three Super Bowls in four years and then a fourth a decade after the third. Tom Brady would also win two more Super Bowl MVP awards in Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XLIX, making him the only player besides Joe Montana to hold that honor. Super Bowl XXXVI later became part of the wider 2007 National Football League videotaping controversy, also known as "Spygate". In addition to other videotaping allegations, the Boston Herald reported, citing an unnamed source, that the Patriots had also taped the Rams' walkthrough practice prior to the game. After further investigations, the league determined that no tape of the Rams' Super Bowl walkthrough was made, and the Herald later issued an apology in 2008 for their article about the alleged walkthrough tape. Nevertheless, the Patriots finished the 2007 regular season with a perfect 16–0 record, but failed to record an unprecedented 19–0 championship season after losing Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants. And at the conclusion of the 2011 NFL season, the Patriots held the NFL's best record since Spygate, compiling a 48-16 record from 2008-11.
The Patriots' win in this Super Bowl, beyond just serving as a springboard to three more championships, also became the starting point for an unprecedented decade of success in Boston sports, with the city's teams winning seven championships in the four major North American sports leagues (the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and MLB), including at least one in each league. Over the next thirteen years, in addition to the Patriots' four Super Bowls...
Beginning with the Rams appearance in Super Bowl XXXVI, 10 different NFC teams appeared in the Super Bowl over the next 10 years. This trend was broken when the New York Giants earned a trip to Super Bowl XLVI after participating in Super Bowl XLII four years earlier. The Rams, on the other hand, finished with a 7-9 record the following year have not appeared in the Super Bowl since then. Kurt Warner suffered a concussion on opening day in 2003, and was later demoted to backup quarterback for the rest of that season. He then signed with the New York Giants in 2004, but lost his starting job to rookie quarterback Eli Manning. Warner later joined the Arizona Cardinals in 2005 and eventually led that team to an appearance in Super Bowl XLIII following the 2008 season.
Notes and references