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A Superbowl for the Ages
Wendy Yu
February 10, 2002

Admit it. You thought the Rams were going to win Superbowl XXXVI. You didnít think the Patriots had a chance. I mean really, the Greatest Show on Turf versus a bunch of Nobodies and Has-Beens? Puh-leez. Even when the halftime score was 14-3 in favor of the Pats, you still thought the Rams would come back and take it, didnít you. The rest of the world thought so too. Except for the Patriots themselves. In the second biggest upset in Superbowl history (Superbowl III, Jets over Colts being the 1st), the Patriots shocked the world, but just reconfirmed the beliefs that they had in themselves. And in the end, thatís all that mattered.

The Patriots truly overcame all the odds and shocked the world.
Bill Belichick, former defensive coach for both the Giants and the Jets, student of Bill Parcells, has masterminded one of the greatest victories of our time. His Patriots thoroughly frustrated Kurt Warner and the Rams for almost three quarters. The Giants came close to defeating the Rams early in the season, but the untimely Joe Jurevicus fumble recovery by Grant Widstrom ended the game. Bygones. However, these Patriots, with a defense led by Brian Cox, Willie McGinest, and the two loud-mouthed leaders of the secondary, Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy, proved that no one should have overlooked them. Otis Smith blanketed Torry Holt. And if and when Holt caught a pass, Smith was there to hit him hard. The defense played the Rams physically, on and off the ball. Marshall Faulk was hit each time he came through the line, with or without the ball. The receivers were nailed each time they caught the ball, often times dropping it after the hit. Did you notice that many of the Rams had blood on their uniforms? When was the last time that happened? 

The Pats played with confidence and they played with a vengeance. No one likes to be overlooked. They caught the Rams by surprise and it took too long for them to recover. Tom Brady, the second year quarterback played with a confidence rarely seen among young players. He was not spectacular the entire game until the final drive. The final 1:30, from their own 17-yard line and they drove down the field. Brady completed 5 of 8 passes and his receivers got out of bounds to stop the clock. The Rams played prevent defense and it burned them. With 7 seconds left, Vinatieri came out to kick a 48-yard field goal to win the Superbowl. Talk about ice in your veins. Then again, the kick was indoors on turf, where no weather conditions came into play. I am a believer that turf is for wimps and football should be played outdoors on grass. The Pats-Raiders game up at Foxboro in the snow Ė that was a real football game. Thereís a reason why the Rams are much better on turf and only average on grass. But that is a discussion for another day.

The Patriots deserved to win. All year they overcame hurdle after hurdle. From a 5-11 record last year, an 1-3 start this year, losing Drew Bledsoe to an injury, Terry Glenn, their best receiver was suspended multiple times for erratic behavior, and this all after their quarterback coach died this summer. The Patriots truly overcame all the odds and shocked the world.

What does this victory mean? Everything. Any clichť you can think of, it applies. The underdog won. Dreams do come true. Win one for the gipper. There is no I in team. The curse of Beantown has been lifted. If this underdog victory in the biggest game in sports did not bring tears to your eyes or give you that warm, fuzzy feeling, then you truly are not a sports fan. Either that, or you are from St. Louis. And if you are, I apologize for basking in this victory. For everyone else, we will always remember this game, it ranks as one of the greatest Superbowl games ever, with Superbowl III, and XXV, the infamous Scott Norwood miss. This game was eerily similar, except that Vinatieriís kick was good. I guess that was the fitting ending to this fairy tale season. 

 



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