New England Patriots Super Bowl History

Posted: February 2, 2012 by Kodi in NFL

The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for their 7th time but with a record of 3-3 their looking to join the greats with a 4th trophy

From Raymond Berry to Bill Parcells to Bill Belichick, these Head Coaches all got New England to the big game but just one won

Tom Brady is looking to join an elite group if he can win his 4th Lombardi Trophy

Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are back in the Super Bowl and the Coach/QB combo are hoping to become just the third pair to win four Lombardi trophies. Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw were the first to do it when they were able to win Super Bowl’s IX, X, XIII and XIV together while Bill Walsh and Joe Montana won XVI, XIX, XXIII and XXIV to become the second pairing. Brady and Belichick may already have football immortality under their belts but many thought they would have already been on that list after entering Super Bowl XLII undefeated and just had to beat the New York Giants to join that elusive list.

As we all know the Giants upset the Patriots and until this season New England had not won a single playoff game since then. Well now the wait may be over as the Pats have knocked off the Broncos and Ravens to get another chance as well as the opportunity to avenge what was the franchises biggest loss. New England had an impressive streak going for them winning three Super Bowls in four years but when they returned to the big game three years later and lost the way they did the pampered fans have had a bitter taste in their mouths.

The Pats first Super Bowl appearance happened in 1985 when they faced Mike Ditka’s Chicago Bears in the SBXX and were blown out 46-10. It was a difficult year for the Boston area as the Red Sox were just a single strike away from a World Series Championship before it all was Bucknered away. The Boston Celtics and Bruins were the cream of the crop in the NBA and NHL and the Patriots were ready to put football on the map in Beantown. The Patriots finished the regular season 11-5 but made the playoffs as a Wild Card and were forced to play all of their games on the road. They beat the Jets, Raiders and Dolphins all on the road and were the first time in NFL history to come into the postseason as a Wild Card and reach the Super Bowl.

The Patriots have been part of the AFL/NFL since 1960 but up until 1985 New England had won more than 9 games just three times. The Patriots were in their first full season under Head Coach Raymond Berry who had taken over in the middle of the 1984 season for Ron Meyer. Berry was 11-5 during the regular season in his first two years but all that really stands out during his coaching era is their blowout loss to the Bears. They started off with a 3 point lead but were outscored 44-0 after that until late in the 4th quarter. That’s when QB Steve Grogan hit Irving Fryar for an 8 yard touchdown pass, the first SB TD in franchise history. The Patriots were dominated by a ferocious Bears defense that forced 6 turnovers, sacked Grogan 7 times, allowed just 7 rushing yards, 116 passing yards and 12 first downs. There was no doubt that the Patriots were heavily outmatched but it was hard for Pats fans to swallow, especially since they wouldn’t return until 1996.

Bill Parcells has coached for both the New York Giants and New England Patriots but there is one huge difference. The Tuna won a Super Bowl with Big Blue and although he got to Super Bowl XXXI with the Pats he fell just short of winning another Championship. It was Parcells 4th season as Head Coach and he had created a winning team around Drew Bledsoe, Terry Glenn and Curtis Martin on offense and a stout defense led by Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law and Willie McGinest. The Patriots were the 2nd highest scoring offense in the NFL with the 3rd best passing game while their defense gave up a lot of passing yard they shut down the oppositions running game and gave up few points. After losing their first two games the Pats were able to scratch and claw their way to a 3-3 record but the team would finish the final ten games with an 8-2 record.

After defeating the Steelers in the Division round the Pats welcomed the Jacksonville Jaguars to town and beat them handily 20-6. Parcells and the Pats traveled to the New Orleans Superdome, the same stadium they were demolished by the Bears 11 years earlier, to face the Green Bay Packers. The Packers and Brett Favre were in their first Super Bowl for 29 years but the game’s MVP was Desmond Howard who was the first special teams player to win that award. Howard set a Super Bowl record with 244 return yards including a 99 yard kick return for a touchdown. After giving up just 9 points in their previous two playoff games New England’s defense allowed Brett Favre to throw for 2 touchdown passes. The first came on the second play of the game when Favre threw it deep to Andre Rison for a 56 yard touchdown, the second was a Super Bowl record 81 yard pass to Antonio Freeman. With the performances from Howard and Favre the Pats were unable to hang with the Packers and lost 21-35.

Since the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl loss New England has turned around the franchise and have won 10 games or more in 12 of their last 16 seasons. Parcells left New England after a deflating loss to the Packers and Pete Carrol took over his job. Carrol won 10 games in his first season, 9 in his second and 8 in his third and final year. He was replaced by current Head Coach Bill Belichick in 2000 whom finished 5-11 in his first year but has a 134-42 record in the regular season since then. In his second year as coach Belichick led his team to a 11-5 record after starting the season 3-4. The Patriots would finish the season 8-1 and enter the postseason as the #2 seed.

The first playoff game under the Brady/Belichick regime will forever be one of the most controversial playoff games of all time. It will be known simplay as “The Tuck Game” because of the use of a rule that had rarely been used in the league up until that point. The Brady pass would later be ruled an incomplete pass and eventually K Adam Vinatieri would blast a game winning field goal in overtime to have the Pats move on and play the Steelers in Pittsburgh. New England surprised many casual football fans by beating Pittsburgh but many had them as severe underdogs against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Not only were the Patriots playing “the Greatest Show on Turf” they would be playing the Rams in New Orleans at the Superdome where they had already lost their only other two Super Bowl appearances.

St. Louis had an incredible season in 2001 with a 14-2 record they were the #1 seed in the NFC and easily beat the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles to make it to the Super Bowl. The Rams had an incredible team both offensive and defensively. St. Louis was the highest scoring offense in the NFL and had accumulated the most yards behind the league leading passing offense and the 5th most rushing yards and most rushing touchdowns. They were led by QB Kurt Warner and NFL MVP RB Marshall Faulk but their defense was impressive as well. They ranked 7th in points allowed, 3rd in total yards allowed with the 11th best pass defense and 3rd best rush defense. This team looked incredible during the regular season and many thought the Patriots were dead in the water.

The Patriots were in the middle of the road in offensive and defensive statistics and their teams was full of a bunch of no-namers (at the time) and were led by a QB who replaced Drew Bledsoe early in the season. The Pats relied on RB Antowain Smith and Tom Brady’s favorite targets were Troy Brown and David Patten. New England fell down early but a interception returned for a touchdown by Ty Law in the 2nd quarter gave the Pats their first lead. Brady found Patten for an 8 yard touchdown pass to give their team a 14-3 lead but late in the 4th quarter Kurt Warner found Ricky Proehl to tie the game at 17. New England would get downfield with just seconds left on the clock for Adam Vinatieri to do it again and win the game as time expired with a 48 yard field goal. New England had its first Super Bowl victory and they could finally shake that Superdome curse off of their backs behind the foot of Adam Vinatieri.

After a 2002 season in which Antowain Smith, Troy Brown and David Patten all played like themselves instead of the godly men that showed up the year before and the Pats missed the playoffs. Belichick put together another group of small name guys and got big production out of players like Kevin Faulk and Deion Branch on the way to a successful 2003 season. They were 14-2 in the regular season and absolutely dominated their opposition and cruised their way towards a Super Bowl berth after defeating the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts at home. New England would travel somewhere other than New Orleans for their Super Bowl appearance, this time playing at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

New England were facing the Carolina Panthers who had an 11-5 record in the regular season whose offense was led by RB Stephen Davis and WRs Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad. The game turned out to be a tale of two quarters because all of the 61 points scored were either in the 2nd or 4th quarter. The Patriots were leading 14-10 going into halftime and increased that lead to 21-10 but after a 33 yard rushing touchdown by DeShaun Foster. That drive was followed by an 85 yard touchdown catch by Muhammad the Panthers had jumped out to a 22-21 lead after missing a two point conversion. Brady found LB Mike Vrabel for a 1 yard touchdown pass and converted the two point conversion on a Kevin Faulk run regaining the lead 29-22.

Panthers QB Jake Delhomme found former Rams WR Ricky Proehl for a 12 yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 29. The Patriots were able to get K Adam Vinatieri a little bit closer than they did in 2001 and with 9 seconds on the clock he booted a 41 yard game winning field goal. This however may be the game that people look back on and say “that’s when Tom Brady turned a switch” because he was phenomenal. He was named SB MVP behind his 32-48 for 354 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception performance and it was his first multiple touchdown pass playoff game of his career (he’s had 10 since). The Patriots had won two Super Bowls in the past three seasons but Belichick and Brady weren’t done yet, they were going to solidify the Patriots as a dynasty.

In 2004 the Pats went 14-2 again and easily made their way back to Super Bowl XXXIX after destroying the Indianapolis Colts and the Steelers in the earlier rounds of the postseason. They were facing a formidable opponent in the Philadelphia Eagles but everyone expected the Patriots to win but hoped it wouldn’t come down to another last second field goal. Head Coach Bill Belichick was questioned when he brought in long-time Bengals RB Corey Dillon to fill in the backfield. It turned out to be a great investment as Dillon had his best season with over 1600 rushing yards. Dillon took some pressure off of Brady making their offense even more explosive and both were extremely beneficial in SB XXXIX. Brady passed for 2 touchdowns and Dillon scored on a 2 yarder in the 4th. Adam Vinatieri booted a 22 yard field goal in the 4th quarter but it wasn’t in the final seconds of the game. It did however give them a 24-14 lead which ended up a 24-21 victory after McNabb hit Greg Lewis for a touchdown late in the game.

New England made the playoffs in 2005 and 2006 but were unable to return to the Super Bowl, yet with their 3rd Lombard Trophy in just 4 years solidified their legacy as a dynasty. In 2007 they looked like they were going to become the greatest team in NFL history marching through the regular season 16-0. Belichick rolled the dice signing another veteran, former Raiders/Vikings WR Randy Moss and Tom Brady was extremely grateful to his coach for the new toy in their offense. Brady and Moss broke NFL records and it seemed like they were a shoo-in.

They beat the Jacksonville Jaguars by 11 and the San Diego Chargers by 9 to face the Giants in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants were 10-6 and just squeaked into the playoffs after losing their regular season finale against the Patriots. New York beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers on the road and just like the Pats before them they had made it to the Super Bowl as a Wild Card seed. It seemed like the Giants would roll over and allow New England to celebrate an incredible feat that just the ’72 Dolphins have achieved. David Tyree and Eli Manning had something else to say about it and that one play will go down with a handful of others as the greatest play in Super Bowl history. The final score was 17-14 but this time it wasn’t Adam Vinatieri kicking the game winning field goal, it was Giants Kicker Lawrence Tynes and the Patriots have been stayed with that 18-1 record ever since.

There is no doubt that Belichick and Brady have redemption on their mind but no matter what this game will be one for the ages.

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