SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 2, 2012

Patriots Super Bowl History

By Hector Longo
Staff writer

SUPER BOWL XX

Bears 46, Patriots 10

January 26, 1986

At New Orleans Superdome

The game-breaker: Richard Dent and the Chicago defense brutalize Tony Eason and Steve Grogan for seven sacks. Famed Bears "46" defense holds Pats to 7 yards on 11 rushes.

Pats leaders: Stanley Morgan caught 7 passes for 70 yards but had a costly early drop, forcing Pats to settle for a field goal.

Key stat: Starting QB Tony Eason was 0 for 6 and was sacked 3 times for -28 yards of passing offense.

Historical significance: The Chicago Bears cash in with their "Super Bowl Shuffle." Buddy Ryan (Rex's father) is proclaimed a genius for his attacking defense. We are all introduced to the worlds of Mike Ditka and William "Refrigerator" Perry. The loss ends a miracle run by the Pats, who "Squish the Fish" in Miami on the way to an unlikely trip to the Super Bowl under coach Raymond Berry.

SUPER BOWL XXXI

Packers 35, Patriots 21

January 26, 1997

At New Orleans Superdome

The game-breaker: With the Pack holding a slim 27-21 lead in the third, Desmond Howard erases any thoughts of a comeback. The former Heisman Trophy winner bursts 99 yards on the kickoff return for a kick-six.

Pats leaders: Ben Coates catches six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Key stat: Both New England's Drew Bledsoe and Green Bay's Brett Favre are sacked five times. The difference? Under pressure, Favre throws for two TDs and zero interceptions. Bledsoe is picked off four times to go with his two TD passes.

Historical significance: It's the end of the Bill Parcells era in Foxboro as the coach who made this franchise relevant moves on almost as rapidly as he arrived.

SUPER BOWL XXXVI

Patriots 20, Rams 17

February 3, 2002

At New Orleans Superdome

The game-breakers: Ty Law sets the tone for the Pats defense with a 47-yard interception return for a TD in the second quarter. Adam Vinatieri seals the upset with a 48-yard field goal on the final play of the game.

Pats leaders: Antowain Smith carries 18 times for 92 yards. Troy Brown catches six balls for 89 yards. Tom Brady completes 5 of 8 passes for 53 yards in the final 1:21 to put Vinatieri in position to win it.

Key stat: Pats produce three turnovers and convert them into 17 points.

Historical significance: The first championship in team history is completed in most unbelievable fashion. The franchise QB Drew Bledsoe goes down to a savage hit in Week 2. Enter a question mark in backup Tom Brady, who catches fire and leads this team to greatness, kicking off an era of greatness that continues today.

SUPER BOWL XXXVIII

Patriots 32, Panthers 29

February 1, 2004

At Reliant Stadium, Houston

The game-breaker: Tom Brady earns his second Super Bowl MVP by tearing up Carolina to the tune of 32 of 48 passing for 354 yards and three touchdowns.

Pats leaders: Deion Branch catches 10 passes for 143 yards and a TD. Troy Brown has eight catches for 76 yards. And David Givens catches five balls for 69 yards and a score.

Key stat: Pats beat up Jake Delhomme, sacking him five times.

Historical significance: Hey, this Belichick-Brady thing is no fluke. Two titles in three years, and nobody is showing signs of letting up off the gas pedal.

SUPER BOWL XXXIX

Patriots 24, Eagles 21

February 6, 2005

At Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.

The game-breaker: After a 10-catch performance in SB XXXVIII, Deion Branch goes one better, catching 11 balls for 133 yards to earn MVP honors.

Pats leaders: Tom Brady delivers his Super Bowl-high with a 110.2 passer rating. Corey Dillon runs hard with 75 yards on 18 tries. Rodney Harrison picks off Donovan McNabb twice.

Key stat: Pats' defense dominates up front, holding Brian Westbrook and Dorsey Levens to 2.6 yards on 17 tries.

Historical significance: The most dominant stretch in Patriots and perhaps NFL history is complete. The Pats, who went 14-2 and cruised through to the title, joined Dallas as the only franchise to win three titles in four years.

SUPER BOWL XLII

Giants 17, Patriots 14

February 3, 2008

At University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

The game-breaker: Eli Manning hits 19 of 34 passes for 355 yards with a pair of TD passes and leads the Giants on the game-winning TD march, climaxing with a 13-yard scoring strike to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left.

Pats leaders: Wes Welker 11 catches for 103 yards. Randy Moss adds 5 catches for 62 yards and the go-ahead TD, And Kevin Faulk adds seven catches for 52 yards.

Key stat: Manning hits 6 of 9 passes on the final drive for 82 yards and the game-winning score.

Historical significance: New England took a perfect 18-0 record into the game but the bid to eclipse the unbeaten 1972 Miami Dolphins falls short.

—Hector Longo