On February 3, 2002, the New England Patriots shocked the National Football League (NFL) and many fans by defeating the heavily favored St. Louis Rams 20-17 to take home their first Super Bowl victory.
This Sunday, the Patriots will make history again: Super Bowl LI marks the team’s ninth Super Bowl appearance, an NFL record.
So, how did they do it in 2002, the year they claimed their initial championship?
Going into the Super Bowl, the Rams’ high-powered offense and Super Bowl experience combined to make them 14-point favorites.
The Rams scored first with a field goal, but did not score any touchdowns in the first two quarters.
The underdog Patriots found the end zone twice and entered the halftime with a 14-3 lead.
The Rams responded in the third quarter — after New England converted a Rams turnover to take 17-3 lead.
Rams quarterback Kurt Warner ran in a touchdown, and then later connected with wide receiver Ricky Proehl with just 1:30 remaining to tie the score.
Tom Brady, then a young quarterback for the Patriots, deftly led the team on a 53-yard drive. With 7 seconds left on the clock, Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal to give the Patriots the win.
It was the first time a Super Bowl had ever been won by a team scoring on the last play of the game.
It remains to be seen whether Brady can lead his team to its fifth Super Bowl win against the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, Texas, on Sunday.