As soon as Rex Burkhead fell into the closing area last Sunday to overthrow the Chiefs in overtime, the memories began to flood. Earlier in the day, the frames had beaten the Saints 26-23 to earn a Super Bowl quay, and with New England's 37-31 win, the scene was set to a variety of types: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's ninth Super Bowl together will have them same team as their first. Seventeen years ago, Belichick's defense unlocked Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and The Biggest Show at Turf on the way to a 20-17 victory. The legend of the patriots was born that night, and it has only been burned in the years since.
To prepare for the probable attack of retrospects, we see next Sunday, I rewatched that game and noted 1
first Man, I miss Pat Summerall and John Madden. It's not a blow to the current networking campaigns. Al Michaels are play-by-play GOAT, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are quite comfortable, and I'm actually a bit jealous of anyone who hears Tony Romo calling his first Super Bowl next Sunday while I'm in the press book listening to sports writers swill diet cola. But there was just something else about Summerall and Madden calling a game. Maybe it's because I'm a kid in the 90's.
Madden started playing play-by-play six years before I was born, but I was 4 years old when the first John Madden Football video game was released on Super Nintendo. I can't even imagine how many hours I've spent listening to his voice – and that is before you count the games he called on Sunday. Pat started the Super Bowl broadcast by making introductions so Madden testified that the two had eaten three meals on the Superdome (where the game was played) that day. Summerall, in all its folksy honor, replied: "Next comes the shaving and then dinner." The two together were perfect.
However, my favorite back and forth of the day came late in the second quarter when the patriots gave the ball to fullback Marc Edwards on two consecutive plays. Even in 2002, two equal FB dives were a curious strategy, and it asked Summerall to ask loudly: "What is going on?" Always a believer in the big guys, Madden replied, as he could only: "Well, when you are going to throw a guy a leg, why not throw him two bones in a row?" God bless them two.
2nd In addition to the advertising team, there are plenty of other things that date this game. Let's start with the player introductions. At that time, Fox did not go with the standard introduction "Tom Brady, Michigan". Instead, five-player pictures were put on the screen at one time. They looked like creepy, silent, floating heads, and everybody practiced a great similarity: white visors. It may be the most fashionable fashion statement in 2002.
On the ground, the equipment's differences are obvious, especially in the size of the shoulder pads. Ty Law was a cornerback, and his shoulder pads in this game were about as wide as the ridiculous XXXXL coat Brady wears on the sidelines now. These days, Michael Bennett – a 275-pound defensive end-wear that resembles hockey pads under his shirt. Look at this:
The other aspect of this game, which is just amazing now, is the artificial turf. Superdome did not install peat until 2003, which means these guys played on the same carpet-like surface team used in the 1970s. The players didn't even have clothes; they used "turf shoes" which had about as much traction as a golf shoe. It is impossible today.
3rd The legend of Super Bowl XXXVI goes that Belichick asked his defenders to pop Marshall Faulk every chance they got. But going back through the band, it is clear that the strategy did not only apply to Faulk. Patriots defensive backs came out swinging from the game's opening snap. Both Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt were whacked on their first goal and the physical situation instantly established tone in the game. There are lots of hits from past times that would be illegal under today's rules, but many Patriots' physical games in this game would not look out of place if it happened next Sunday. At Rams' second drive, Warner floated a ball to the left sidelines to Bruce, who stayed