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Super Bowl XXXVI Champions!

Well the Patriots did what many said couldn't be done, and beat the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI by a score of 20-17.  The key to the Patriots win was their secondary of Ty Law, Otis Smith, Lawyer Milloy, Tebucky Jones, Terrell Buckley, and Terrance Shaw.  They were able to keep the Rams receivers covered even as Warner had the ball for 5 or more seconds some times.   The Patriots offense wasn't very productive until the end, but the one star was Antowain Smith, who ran for 92 yards on 18 carries and helped run down the clock.  At the end, when the Patriots needed to score, the offense came up big, with Tom Brady leading the drive.  J.R. Redmond and Troy Brown both came up huge on the final drive, and of course, Adam Vinatieri was perfect as always with the winning field goal.  

So the Patriots won the Super Bowl.  I was there to see their spectacular game.  After going to 76 straight Patriots home games, including 4 playoff games(all wins), this was my first Patriots road trip.  Before the Raiders game, my favorite games were the comeback from 20-0 against the Vikings in 1994 or the back to back last minute comebacks against the Dolphins and Bills in 1998.  The Raiders game was unbelievable: a 10 point comeback, in the snow, in the playoffs, at the last game at Foxboro Stadium.  But the Super Bowl of course, topped it all.  It wasn't the same without the fans I normally sit next to, but it was is the Super Bowl and my team won.  Nothing can beat that.  Anyway, I took 247 photos of my trip to New Orleans, so here are some of the highlights of my trip.  Congratulations Patriots!  Here is a link to my thoughts and predictions before the game.

250 of the Super Bowl photos I took are available full size on Shutterfly!  

There it is:  My ticket to the greatest show on earth.

This is a picture of one of the many swamps or bayous on the way to New Orleans.

Here is a picture of the massive Superdome as seen from the bus we took from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.

For some reason, there was a news crew taping us getting off the bus, so we're probably on someone's local news.  Our bus ride from Baton Rouge was interesting, we drove on the wrong side of the road and cut across an exit ramp to rejoin the highway.

There are a lot of army and police around and lots of armored trucks blocking off roads around New Orleans.

This is one of the famous streetcars of New Orleans.  It's really strange how these drive in the lanes with the cars.

Bourbon Street in the early afternoon.  

Here is a little French Cafe on Royal Street in the French Quarter. I'm not sure why that girl on the right seems to think this is a picture of her.

A river boat on the Mississippi River.

The Mighty Mississippi.

This is during a commercial break on SportsCenter.  From left: Stuart Scott, Emmitt Smith, Andrea Kramer.

This is me and one of the street performers.  There were lots of street performers, including teenage kids tap-dancing on nearly every sewer cap on Bourbon Street.  I actually saw one chase a guy down for a tip after the guy took a photo of him.

In addition to the street performers, there were lots and lots of fortune tellers and tarot card readers around New Orleans.

More of Bourbon Street.

This guy harassed people into watching him perform.  My dad held his unicycle as he got on and I threw him the basketball.

One of the many armored trucks blocking off the roads to the Superdome.

There were lots of people holding signs and telling us to find Jesus on the way to the Superdome.  "Are you ready for Jesus?"

Here is a view of the Superdome and one of the many closed roads nearby.

The Superdome close up with the Superbowl XXXVI banner on the front.  It's really quite a sight to see that huge banner and
realize that you are at the Super Bowl!!

My dad and me in front of the Superdome.

This is me in front of the Superdome.

The view of the field from my seats.  I was amazed at the size of the Superdome.  I knew it would have to be big to fit a whole football field inside, but it is gigantic.  Wow!

For comparison, here is my view from Foxboro Stadium.  This is an Antowain Smith touchdown against the Bills.

A view of the third tier seating behind the Patriots' sideline. We in row 24, the last row of our section.  But on the 50 yard line, the third tier sections had 70 rows!!

The had banners representing each Super Bowl hanging from the ceiling.  The far left one is Super Bowl XIX, the far right is I.  The
3rd is Pats-Packers in 1997 and the 8th is Pats-Rams this year.

For about an hour and a half before the game, Vinatieri, Walter, and the Rams' Wilkins and Baker stood on the field talking.  I actually took this picture by putting my camera up to binoculars.

The Patriots are starting to warm up on the field.

The Patriots are finishing up a lap around the field before practice.

The pre-game show with Barry Manilow singing.  To be honest, I really don't remember any of the pre-game show.  I think I was just too anxious and waiting for the big game to start.

The finale of the pre-game show with hundreds of people.

The Boston Pops get ready for the pregame ceremonies.

Marc Anthony and Mary J. Blige sing God Bless America.

This is during the Paul McCartney singing Freedom.

Marshall Faulk comes out of the tunnel to meet the Rams.

The Patriots come out of the tunnel as a team.  The Patriots D
has been doing this all year, except for the Cleveland game.

The Patriots jump up and down and get pumped up, like they do for every game.    "Pop the trunk!"

The National Anthem ceremony.  Mariah Carey is just below the flags on the left; she's the little orangish blob.

We all got bags of goodies in our seats, including a stuffed Super Bowl doll, a ticket holder, and a SuperBowl radio because they were broadcasting the game on special stations inside the Super Dome only.  We also got glowsticks for the National Anthem.

Isn't it interesting that the entire Patriots' team comes out for the coin toss and the Rams just sit on the bench.

The Patriots' Adam Vinatieri kicks off to start the game.  I was sitting next to two Saints season ticket holders at the game, but I was able to convince them to cheer for the Patriots.  

Hakim is returning the kick from close to his own goal line.

Kurt Warner is back to pass for the first play of the game.  It was strange to have fans for both teams at the game.  Constant chants of "Let's Go Pats/Rams" were indecipherable.

The Patriots line up on their own 30 after a long play to Troy Brown from about the 5 yard line.

The Rams kickoff after Wilkins 50 yard field goal gives them a 3-0 lead.  I think all the Pats fans are pretty excited here because stopping the Rams in the first few minutes is key.  A field goal is nothing really.

The Patriots attempt to drive down the field again, but they are starting deep in their own territory.

The Rams start the first play of the second quarter up 3-0.  Considering how explosive the Rams are, this is a great score.

Antowain Smith is running a sweep around the right side.  He rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries.  He probably put  up the best offensive stats of anyone for the Pats.

Tom Brady drops back and slings it to the left side.

But Brady's pass is incomplete, and Walter comes out to punt.

A few plays later, Vrabel blitzes Warner, and Ty Law intercepts it and runs back 47 yards for the score.  The fans go wild.  This was something the Pats had to do to win: score on defense or special teams.  After this touchdown, I start yelling at the Rams fans in front of us, "It's gonna be a blowout!!"

The Patriots are pumped up after Ty Law's touchdown.

The Patriots kick off, leading 7-3.

Warner is back to pass again.

Why did Troy Brown just call a fair catch on this punt?  No one is within 15 yards of him. 

Antowain Smith is down after an impressive12 yard run.

Brady throws a screen pass to Edwards on the right, to keep one the Pats' longest drives going, midway through the second quarter. This Pats drive lasts a while and we start thinking of a 14-3 halftime score. But the Patriots are soon forced to punt.

After a Ricky Proehl fumble caused by Antwan Harris and recovered by Terrell Buckley, the Pats are on offense again.

Antowain Smith picks up a key first down on a third and 2.

On this play, David Patten, far right, does an up and out route and catches a TD pass in the back corner of the endzone.

Vinatieri adds the extra point to make the score 14-3.

The fans are celebrating the Patriot's unexpected 11 point lead.  Once again I tell the Rams fans what they heard all week, "It's gonna be a blowout!!"

The Patriots prepare to kickoff again before the half.  Imagine, the Patriots are winning 14-3 at halftime..

Crews setup the stages and lighting for the halftime show with U2.

U2 plays on a heart-shaped stage for the halftime show.

U2 does an excellent performance for the halftime show.

U2 does a very moving tribute to the victims of the September 11th attacks.  All those round white spots are camera flashes from the crowd.

The Patriots start to return to the field from halftime.

The score of Super Bowl XXXVI at the start of the third quarter: Patriots 14, Rams 3.  The Rams had never been held to less than 9 points in one half before this game.  At halftime, the radio was the Pats are 11-1 when winning at the half and that the no team has ever come back from more than 10 down in a Super Bowl.  But this means nothing, since if any team could do it, it would be the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams prepare to kick it off to the Pats to open the second half.  We're hoping to make it 21-3.

Brady is back to pass again from near midfield.  But this drive only lasts 5 plays before we have to punt.

Warner is back to pass for the Rams, but this drive also only lasts 5 plays before the Rams punt.  

After the Pats go 45 yards on 5 plays, Warner is back on his own goalline near the start of the next drive.

After an interception by Otis Smith of Kurt Warner, the Patriots attempt a halfback pass with Kevin Faulk.  He does the smart thing and keeps the ball.

Adam Vinatieri kicks a 37 yard field goal to make the score 17-3.

Vinatieri counts to make sure the Patriots only have 11 players on the field for the kickoff.

The Rams return of Vinatieri's kickoff near the end of the 3rd.

Goal line Stand: First Down: The Rams drive down the field on a very long drive that wears down the defense.  They have first and goal on the 8 yard line.  This pass is incomplete.  While the Patriots were on defense for the rest of the game, the Patriots fans were going wild, yelling and screaming for the defense and banging on the walls, while the Rams fans were motioning for everyone to quiet down.  Just another example of the oddity of having both Pats and Rams fans.

Goal line Stand: Third Down: On third and goal, Warner throws it towards the bottom corner of the endzone, where Ty Law nearly intercepts it.

Goal line Stand: Fourth Down: The Rams go for it on fourth and goal, and Warner is forced to run for the endzone.  He is hit by Phifer, fumbles, and Tebucky Jones runs it back down the sideline for a 99 yard score.  24-3 Pats.  The Patriots fans are going wild.  This is unbelievable.  The Patriots are going to win.

Goal line Stand: Fourth Down: But it's not to be.  Looking back earlier in the play, you can see Willie McGinest tackling Marshall Faulk near the top middle of this picture.  The Rams get an automatic first down and the Pats touchdown is negated.  This really creates that horrible sick feeling in your stomach.

Goal line Stand: First Down: On their fifth play at the goal line, first down again, Marshall Faulk runs for no gain.

After the Patriots are able to hold the Rams for 11 plays, the D is just too worn out and gives up a QB sneak by Warner for the touchdown. Wilkins makes it 17-10 with this extra point.

Patrick Pass is back to return this kickoff from the Rams.

After the Pats go three and out on their next drive, the Rams get the ball back, however they only go 42 yards before punting.

The Patriots have the ball once again and try to use Smith to run the clock down.  If the Patriots can just get one third down, they should be able to run the clock down and win the game.

Even after this nice cut by Antowain Smith, he fails to get the first down, so the Pats go 3 and out and must punt again.  You know the Rams will score here, especially since the Pats defense has been on the field for 21 plays to the Rams defense's 6 plays in the fourth quarter.  

The Rams go 55 yards in just 3 plays and score on this pick play with a pass to Ricky Proehl.  The Rams have scored so quickly that the Pats have time for an attempt to drive and win.  The Pats offense has done nothing all day, the defense is exhausted so we don't want to go to overtime.  The Pats always do well in the no-huddle so I like their chances here.

The Drive Play 1: First and 10 from the 17:  Brady eventually dumps it off to J.R. Redmond on his left for 5 yards.

The Drive Play 2: 2nd and 10 from the 22:  Brady throws this pass to Redmond for 8 yards.

The Drive Play 4: 2nd and 10 from the 30:  Brady passes to Redmond on his left for 11 yards.  Redmond dives out of bounds. This is a huge play as Redmond gets the first down and stops the clock.

The Drive Play 6: 2nd and 10 from the 41:  Troy Brown is wide
open for a 23 yard catch and he gets out of bounds.  This puts the in reasonable field goal range.

The Drive Play 7: First and 10 from the Rams 36:  Brady finds TE Jermaine Wiggins for 6 yards, giving Vinatieri a good shot at the FG.

The Drive Play 9: 3rd and 4 from the Rams 30:  After Brady spikes the ball, Vinatieri comes out to attempt a 48 yard field goal. 

Vinatieri kicks the field goal long and straight.  It looks good!!!

Players run onto the field and confetti blows into the air because The Patriots just won the Super Bowl!!!

Pandemonium!  Complete Pandemonium.

After the field goal, I nearly knock my dad over pushing him and hugging and yelling.  This is me and my dad right after the win.

The stage for the Lombardi trophy presentation is set up.

The Patriots fans are still going insane.  I give every Pats fan I can see a high five.  All the Patriots fans are still in disbelief.

Well it says the Patriots won 20-17 on the scoreboard, so it must be true.  The Patriots won the Super Bowl!!!  After going to every home game for the last 9 years, this is a great feeling.  At the beginning of this year, when the Patriots were 0-2 after losing to the Bengals and Jets and losing Drew Bledsoe to injury, I didn't think the Patriots had any shot at the playoffs, but here they are.

This is me in front of the field after the win.  My previous favorite game of the Patriots coming from 10 back to beat the Raiders in snow in OT to go to the AFC Championship game doesn't compare to this game.  There is nothing better than this.

The Lombardi trophy presentation.  All the Patriots players squeeze onto the platform for the trophy presentation.

This is a close up view from the last photo.  You can see the silver glean from the Lombardi trophy that Kraft is holding in the raised platform.  It's amazing that the Patriots have finally won the Super Bowl, especially after a 5-11 season last year and an 0-2 start this year.  Congratulations to the World Champion New England Patriots!!!

My dad and I moved down to the first tier to see more of the postgame events.  We stay until the cleaning crews kick us out. All of the Rams fans have left long ago, but it was great to see their faces after the game.  On my bus from Baton Rouge to the game, the Rams fans would basically laugh at us whenever we mentioned the possibility of a Patriots win.  It was great to see the shock and disappointment on their faces when they lost.

The conference center next to the Superdome is covered in lights.

This side of the superdome is lit up in different colors and one section says Patriots, Super Bowl Champions.  It's beautiful.

Bourbon Street after the game is just a bunch of crazed Patriots fans running around giving each other high fives and yelling.  I probably gave about 500 high fives to people that night.

A bunch of girls from this strip club are throwing out beads.  While trying to take this picture, I nearly get trampled by a police horse.

A group of people tries to entice women to take off their shirts.

This is the bar where I ate after the game.  Whenever a new Pats fan would come in, We'd break into a chant of "We're #1" again.  While watching ESPN, it is finally settling in that we won.  The only conversation anyone seems to make is "We're world champs" or "We won the Super Bowl."  It's still hard to comprehend.

My delicious Shrimp Ettouffe.  Doesn't food taste so much better when your team is World Champions?

This bar is Pats Central.  Now after the game it's lots of fans celebrating and chanting "Yankees suck!"

A view of the crowd at the Patriots rally.  Of course the jumbotron we were watching breaks right as Kraft walks on stage.

This is another picture of the huge crowd at the rally.

Now that the 2002 season is about to begin, it is sad to see the 2001 season go by.  I kind of feel like I didn't get to enjoy it as much as possible.  It was an amazing season.  It's hard to believe that the same Patriots team that started the season 1-3 won the Super Bowl against the heavily favored Rams.  After the Patriots opening losses to the Bengals and Jets, I thought this was one of the worst Patriots teams I had ever seen.  I had no idea then that I would watch that very team go and win the Super Bowl.  It's amazing that this team just came up out of nowhere to win the Super Bowl.  At no point during the season was anyone outside of Boston saying the Patriots could win the Super Bowl.  Even now, after the Patriots did it and won the Super Bowl, a lot of people believe it was a fluke and the Patriots didn't deserve to win it.  Pittsburgh still claims that it was the better teams, and the Rams say they lost not because the Patriots outplayed them but because they didn't perform as well as they ought to.  Well thy didn't perform that way because the Pats stopped them from it.  It was a great season because the Patriots did win the Super Bowl  Anyway, It's disappointing to see the season go, but I made this collage to remind me that the 2001 New England Patriots were World Champions, and I was there to see it.