While the Patriots spend the upcoming days to the Super Bowl trying to figure out how to make it back, it’s always nice to take a look back to the past an reminisce on the teams past success. Let’s take a look back at the good and the bad, and rank all eleven of the Patriots Super Bowl appearences.
#11 – Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants – 17 New England Patriots – 14
This is without a doubt the worst Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots. With a chance to be immortalized in NFL history as the greatest team ever, the Patriots faltered at their last possible chance. It seemed like the Patriots were heading for the first ever 19-0 season when Tom Brady found Randy Moss for a six yard touchdown with just under three minutes left. But the Patriots defense faltered, as Asante Samuel dropped an interception that could have iced the game, and Eli Manning made a miraculous throw to David Tyree, who made an even more miraculous catch. Manning found Plaxico Burress for a 13 yard touchdown to ice the game, and the 2007 Patriots team will forever be known as the greatest team that never was.
#10 – Super Bowl XX: Chicago Bears – 46 New England Patriots – 10
The Patriots first ever Super Bowl appearance was rough to say the least. The Patriots jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the first, but were then trounced by the mighty Bears defense for the rest of the night. The Patriots turned the ball over five times throughout the contest, and quarterback Steve Grogan was sacked four times in the game. The Patriots were really no match for the Bears, and the score shows that. The Bears offense ran all over the Patriots defense for 167 total yards and four touchdowns. For the Patriots, it left a sour taste as they realized they were far outmatched in their first ever Super Bowl game.
#9 – Super Bowl XLVI: New York Giants – 21 New England Patriots – 17
The Patriots found themselves with a chance to avenge their previous failures from the 2007 season, but ended up in a similar situation against Eli Manning and the Giants. The Patriots didn’t really help themselves, putting themselves in an early 9-0 deficit, but the Patriots scored back-to-back touchdowns to close the first half and open the second half, and it seemed like their offense was finding it’s rhythm. Yet they were shut out the rest of the game, as Manning and the Giants clawed back into the game. It was deja vu all over for the Patriots, as they failed to stop the Giants final drive, as Ahmad Bradshaw put the finishing touch on the game with a six yard rush with under a minute less in the fourth. The Patriots were left wondering what they had to do to pick up a Super Bowl victory against the Giants.
#8 – Super Bowl XXXI: Green Bay Packers – 35 New England Patriots – 21
More than 10 years after their first Super Bowl berth, the Patriots found themselves back in the big game, this time led by quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Despite that, the result ended up being the same as their previous appearance. Bledsoe and the Pats stayed with Green Bay for most of the first half, but went into halftime down 13. The Pats cut the lead to 6 with an opening drive touchdown in the second half, but eventual Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard restored the two score lead with a 99 yard kickoff return touchdown. Bledsoe had a rough day in the office, throwing four interceptions and getting sacked five times. While Bledsoe would eventually get his ring with the Pats, it would come under a much different set of circumstances.
#7 – Super Bowl LII: Philadelphia Eagles – 41 New England Patriots – 33
One of the most thrilling Patriots Super Bowl games had one of the most heartbreaking results. The Patriots and Eagles engaged in an offensive battle, and it felt like whichever team had the ball last was going to win. After a long Eagles touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, the stage was set for Tom Brady to make another game-winning Super Bowl drive, but Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady on the second play of the drive, giving the Eagles the ball in field goal position with just over two minutes to go. The unfortunate fumble from Brady put a damper on one of the greatest passing performances not just in Super Bowl history, but in NFL history. Brady threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns, and had carved up the Eagles defense for three straight touchdown drives to begin the second half. Had the Patriots ultimately pulled this game off, it would have easily made it’s way into the top three of this list.
#6 – Super Bowl LIII: New England Patriots – 13 Los Angeles Rams – 3
The Patriots would avenge their loss to the Eagles with a win over the LA Rams only a year later. This game was a polar opposite from their previous matchup with the Eagles, as the Pats and Rams were stuck in a defensive stalemate for most of the contest. The Patriots came up with a brilliant defensive gameplan to slow down the high-flying Rams offense, as they forced them to punt on all but three of their drives. The Patriots offense had equally limited success, but made sure to make it count. Brady hit Rob Gronkowski on a beautiful 29 yard throw, which would set up a Sony Michel two yard touchdown. The Rams seemed intent to tie the game, but Stephon Gilmore picked off Jared Goff at the Patriots own four-yard line with four minutes left. The Patriots were able to tack on another field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to ice the game, and the Patriots were able to come away with their sixth Super Bowl victory.
#5 – Super Bowl XXXIX: New England Patriots – 24 Philadelphia Eagles – 21
The original Patriots-Eagles Super Bowl matchup resulted in the Patriots becoming the most recent back-to-back Super Bowl champions. This game was arguably the least contested Super Bowl win for the Patriots, as they were able to keep the Eagles at arms length for most of the second half. Donovan McNabb hit Greg Lewis for a thirty yard score just after the two-minute warning, and got the ball back with under a minute to go, but really showed no urgency on their do-or-die drive, before throwing a game clinching interception to Rodney Harrison. That was one of three interceptions the Pats defense came away with, as they spent most the game making sure McNabb wasn’t comfortable. Deion Branch got the MVP honors after posting an 11 catch 133 yard performance, as the Patriots had officially declared themselves as an NFL dynasty. Little did they know they would have to wait ten more years before getting their next Super Bowl ring.
#4 – Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots – 20 St. Louis Rams – 17
The start of the dynasty. The Patriots were expected to get blown out of the water by the Greatest Show on Turf, but they played better than anybody was really expecting. They had the ball with around a minute left, no timeouts, and the game tied at 17 a piece. John Madden famously urged the Patriots to run out the clock and play for overtime, but was forced to eat his words by the second year quarterback Tom Brady. Brady orchestrated the drive that changed the next 20 years of Patriots football. After a couple of quick passes to running back J.R. Redmond, Brady made the play of the game, finding Troy Brown for a 23 yard completion that put New England within field goal range. Three plays later, the Patriots were Super Bowl champions. This team set the standard for the rest of the Patriots dynasty with one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets ever.
#3 – Super Bowl XXXVIII: New England Patriots – 32 Carolina Panthers – 29
The Patriots second Super Bowl win may just be the most underrated Super Bowl of all time. The Patriots put up the first points of the game with just over 3 minutes left in the first half. Despite that, the game somehow went into halftime with a score of 14-10 in favor of the Patriots. After another scoreless quarter in the third, the game took a wild turn, and an offensive shootout ensued. The Patriots scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, only for Carolina to score touchdowns on their next two possessions, with a huge 85 yard touchdown to Muhsin Muhammed capping it off. The Panthers failed to convert on a two-point conversion, and held a 22-21 lead with 7 minutes left. Brady led another touchdown drive, plus a two-point conversion, giving them a 7 point lead, only to see it quickly evaporate, as Jake Delhomme quickly marched the Panthers down the field to tie the game up. The Patriots found themselves in a similar situation as their previous victory over the Rams, and Brady made sure there was a similar result. He brought the Pats into field goal range, and Adam Vinatieri did the rest.
#2 – Super Bowl XLIX: New England Patriots – 28 Seattle Seahawks – 24
The Patriots seemed set to suffer another unlucky finish to a Super Bowl. After two losses helped by incredible catches to the Giants, Jermaine Kearse somehow managed to snag a pass that seemed to bounce off every limb of his body, and put the Seahawks in position to win their second Super Bowl in a row. The Seahawks ended up at the 5 yard line, and after Dont’a Hightower made an insane tackle to prevent Marshawn Lynch from sealing the game, the Seahawks were at the one yard line. Everyone knows what happens next, as Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass from Russell Wilson, and ensured the Patriots victory. It helped preserve one of the great Super Bowl comebacks, as the Patriots faced a 10 point deficit halfway through the fourth quarter, and cemented Brady’s status as one of the best quarterbacks of all time.
#1 – Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots – 34 Atlanta Falcons – 28
The greatest comeback in NFL history. Sure, there have been larger deficits overturned, but none of them were on the biggest stage the game has. The Patriots faced a what seemed to be an insurmountable deficit, as they trailed 28-3 with a little over 2 minutes left in the third before James White found the endzone to start the comeback. Afterwards, it was all Patriots. Gostkowski would miss the extra point, but redeemed himself with a field goal to make it a two score game with a little under 10 minutes left in the fourth. The defense locked up, and slowed down Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense, and the Patriots not only scored touchdowns on their next two possessions, but also converted both two-point conversions in the process, and somehow managed to tie the game at 28. When the Patriots received the ball first in overtime, there wasn’t much doubt they were going to score. James White capped off one of the most impressive running back performances in the Super Bowl with a two yard score, and made certain that the greatest comeback ever was completed.
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