February 3, 2002: Just over 13 years ago from when Tom Brady won his fourth Super Bowl title, he won his first in stunning fashion.
Super Bowl XXXVI at the Superdome in New Orleans featured the heavily favored St. Louis Rams (14-2) and their "Greatest Show on Turf" offense against the Cinderella New England Patriots (11-5) with a young Brady.
Rams QB Kurt Warner was awarded his second MVP that season after throwing for 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns, with 22 interceptions. Rams running back Marshall Faulk won NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award for the third year in a row in 2001. He rushed for 1,382 yards, caught 83 passes for 765 yards, scored 21 touchdowns, and became the first NFL player ever to gain more than 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards for 4 consecutive seasons.
The Patriots started 0-2 and lost Drew Bledsoe to injury in Week 2, forcing second-year, sixth-rounder QB Brady into the mix. He had only three career passes before then. He completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,843 yards and 18 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
The game was played in the shadow of the September 11 attacks. It's fitting that a team named the Patriots would overcome all the adversity they faced all season and shock the sports world.
After taking a 3-0 lead, the Patriots shut out the high-powered Rams offense the rest of the half. Two turnovers lead to 14 New England points, including a Brady touchdown pass. The Patriots had a stunning 14-3 halftime lead.
After another interception of Warner, New England settled for a field goal and lead 17-3 in the third quarter. The Rams then got some help from the football gods after Warner had fumbled at the three-yard line and the Patriots returned it for a crushing 97-yard touchdown, but linebacker Willie McGinest was called for a holding penalty on Faulk. Warner then scrambled for a 2-yard TD, making it 17-10. After some stops, the Rams got the ball back and Warner lead them down the field with a 26-yard TD strike to receiver Ricky Proehl to tie it with 1:30 left in the game. That's when Tom Brady's legend was born.
Just watch the masterful last drive in it's entirety:
As shown, Brady would drive the Patriots down to the Rams' 30 and spike the ball with 7 seconds left. Adam Vinatieri created his own legend by making the 48-yard kick to win the Super Bowl, giving the Patriots a 20-17 win and making it the first time ever the big game was won on the final play.
Brady and Bill Belichick had their first ring together and the start of a dynasty was in the works. Brady, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown, but really came through with the game on the line, was named Super Bowl MVP.
It's still one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. Here's to you Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.