When they look back on the 38th Super Bowl in a decade, they’ll say things like, ‘closest contested game in Super Bowl history’, ‘4th quarter fireworks’ and ‘war of attrition’. They will be no less true then, than they are one day after the epic game.
In a see saw battle, the Panthers fought valiantly to get back to even at 29 with just over a minute to play. But the reward for their efforts was short-lived. Disastrously, always-dependable John Kasay had his kickoff go out of bounds, giving the Patriots the ball at the 40-yard line at the worst of times. That was all the edge that the game’s MVP Tom Brady needed.
Brady moved the Pats 37 yards on 6 plays to give New England the opportunity to win their second Super Bowl in three seasons. Brady set a SB record with 32 completions (on 48 attempts) and racked up 354 yards. It was Brady’s second MVP to go with his second Super bowl ring.
Adam Vinatieri’s last second heroics atoned for an otherwise abysmal day which saw him miss a chip shot from 31 yards and also have a 36-yarder blocked, either of which could have made his 3rd attempt moot. When it counted most though, he hit the clutch 41-yard kick straight down the pipe.
The one thing that may not be so apparent in a decade when they look back on this game is the stunning defense played by both teams. The game finished 32-29 only because of a SB record 37 points in the 4th quarter. There was an equally impressive 27 minutes of scoreless football. Well, impressive to a fan of good defense. Both teams were so strong in the first half that it seemed that nobody would ever score. Vinatieri’s FG misses aided Carolina, but they created their own ‘luck’. Perhaps the only reason that the offenses were able to post so many points in the 4th was due to the fact that both teams’ defenses played a game’s worth of defense in the first three quarters.
The Panthers have to be proud of an incredible season regardless of the final game’s output. This is a team that was 1-15 just two seasons ago and the quality of their play Sunday shows just how far John Fox has brought this team in a very short time. Hats off to the whole organization for an inspirational performance in 2003.
The same can be said for the Patriots, after all, they overcame seemingly insurmountable odds and injuries to claim the big prize. Bill Belichek and his staff patched together a lineup all year, and patched them together well enough to win 15 straight games. Truly remarkable.
Congratulations to both teams on fine seasons, and thanks for providing the fans with an epic Super Bowl battle.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Mark Solway