The Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans played host to Super Bowl XXXVI between the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots. St. Louis and its "Greatest Show on Turf" offense were a 14-point favorite heading into this Super Bowl matchup.
St. Louis had one of the best offenses in NFL history this season, loaded with talent at every position. Kurt Warner earned the NFL MVP award with 4,380 passing yards and 36 passing touchdowns with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce each racking up over 1,100 receiving yards. Running back Marshall Faulk scored 23 touchdowns with 1,382 rushing yards and 765 receiving yards. And with a defense that had improved drastically from previous years under new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith, the Rams had the NFL's best record at 14-2 SU and were clearly the team to beat.
Taking over the quarterback position from the injured Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady led New England to an 11-5 SU record as a second-year quarterback after having thrown only three passes the season before. New England also had a solid defense with talent at all three levels including a trio of athletic linebackers in Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and Willie McGinest. After narrowly escaping with a win over the Oakland Raiders in the controversial "tuck rule game" and beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in a close game as well, New England was viewed as a Cinderella team coming into this game.
Timely plays from New England's defense gave the Patriots the upper hand in Super Bowl XXXVI. The Patriots held the Rams to a field goal in the only scoring drive of the first quarter, and scored 14 points in the second quarter due to a Ty Law interception return for a touchdown and a forced fumble and recovery that led to a scoring drive. St. Louis clawed back into the game and tied it up 17-17 in the fourth quarter, but Tom Brady led New England down the field and Adam Vinatieri kicked the game winning field goal in the closing seconds of the game.
New England became the fourth team in Super Bowl history to win outright as a double-digit underdog and kept the score well UNDER the posted total of 53.
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