After the NBA All-Star Break, the Celtics returned on Friday night with an impressive road win over the Pistons, and are currently just one game behind first place Toronto in the East. In case you forgot, Kyrie Irving is still the man. (There’s nothing sweeter than watching Kyrie step back and drill a 3-pointer. Almost feels a little Larry-esque.)
The Bruins are red hot; they’ve played 10 games in the month of February and have won eight of them. They trail the Tampa Bay Lightning by just three points for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and, in their first full season under head coach Bruce Cassidy, have emerged as a legitimate favorite to win their second Stanley Cup of the decade.
Meanwhile, down in Florida, the Red Sox have officially begun Spring Training games. All we’re waiting for is the completion of the J.D. Martinez signing, and the Sox will have officially claimed their brand new slugger for the 2018 season. By the way, there was a really interesting piece on The Ringer about the Martinez signing. If you’re a Red Sox fanatic like myself, you should give it a read.
The only bummer right now? No Patriots football for a while. Tom Brady won’t be slinging passes to Julian Edelman or Brandin Cooks any time soon. We won’t get to see Bill Belichick on the sidelines, wearing a headset and a Pats hoodie, glaring at every person on the field like he wants to stick a knife between their eyes. But it’s OK, because even though we’ve got seven months to kill before football returns, there are still five Super Bowl titles that we can reminisce on to help pass the time.
So, just for the fun of it, let’s rank the five championships. Keep in mind, this is just my list, and yours may be different.
5. Super Bowl XXXIX – Patriots 24, Eagles 21
Definitely the least exciting of New England’s five titles. The game happened in Jacksonville, Florida – just kind of a “meh” location for the Super Bowl – and pretty much everybody knew the Patriots were winning this Super Bowl. They were the best pure team in the NFL throughout the 2004 season, while the Eagles and their fans were just happy to be there. Heading into the game, Tom Brady was 8-0 in playoff games. Just one more victory and the Pats would win their third title in four years, officially establishing themselves as a dynasty.
And just as everyone expected, they won. Even though it was only a three-point game, it wasn’t as close as it looked. Rodney Harrison’s interception of Donovan McNabb in the final minute sealed the deal.
4. Super Bowl XXXVIII – Patriots 32, Panthers 29
This Super Bowl deserves to be higher up on the list, because it was one of the wildest and craziest football games in Super Bowl history. Neither team could score in the beginning, but in the second half, it was nothing but a back-and-forth shootout. It came down to just a matter of which team wanted it more.
And ultimately, it was the Patriots that wanted it more. Brady clinched his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the league; he reached the point where Pats fans just expected him to come through when it counts, and there wasn’t any other quarterback that performed better in big games. For the second time in his young career, Brady led the team on a game-winning drive in the Super Bowl, and Adam Vinatieri kicked his second Super Bowl-winning field goal to finally close the door on the Panthers for good.
3. Super Bowl LI – Patriots 34, Falcons 28
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to put Super Bowl LI ahead of Super Bowl XXXVIII, but I figured I had to since it featured the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. After trailing the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 in the third quarter, the 39-year-old Brady led the Patriots all the way back to tie the game and send it to overtime – the only time the Super Bowl has ever reached overtime.
The Patriots luckily won the overtime coin toss, and James White took it to the end zone for the game-winning score, completing one of the most improbable and unbelievable comebacks in the history of sports. In my opinion, it wasn’t the greatest Super Bowl of all time, but nobody can deny it was the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time. It was the game that finally and officially clinched GOAT status for Brady, even though most people knew it long before that.
2. Super Bowl XLIX – Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
There’s no doubt about it; when I saw Malcolm Butler intercept Russell Wilson at the goal line just when it seemed like everything was about to unravel for the Patriots, I screamed and jumped with joy. It was, and still is, the most incredible sports moment of my life.
Butler’s interception wiped out the previous 10 years of “close but no cigar” stories. Everybody was talking about how Brady and Belichick had lost their edge and couldn’t win the big one anymore, seeing as how it had been 10 years since their last title. The only thing I remember feeling after that game was just pure euphoria. The slate was wiped clean. We were the champs again, finally.
Just pure euphoria.
1. Super Bowl XXXVI – Patriots 20, Rams 17
I’ve said it many times before: no matter the team or the sport, there is nothing more magical than when a professional sports franchise wins its first championship. The Patriots have delivered a ton of memorable moments over the past two decades, but winning that first title on the shoulders of a 24-year-old quarterback in his first year as a starter … it was the beginning of the greatest run of dominance in NFL history.
The Patriots were two-touchdown underdogs to the Greatest Show on Turf. But Belichick’s mighty defense kept the Rams in check, and in the final minute and a half, young Tom Brady led his team on an amazing drive into field goal range, and Adam Vinatieri knocked home a 48-yarder for the victory. For the first time ever, the New England Patriots were world champions.
It will always be true: nothing will ever top a team’s first championship.
Which Patriots Super Bowl win should rank number one?
This poll is closed
Super Bowl XXXVI (Rams)
Super Bowl XXXVIII (Panthers)
Super Bowl XXXIX (Eagles)
Super Bowl XLIX (Seahawks)
Super Bowl LI (Falcons)