Super Bowl LI: The 2003 and 2016 Patriots have bizarre similarities

Super Bowl LI: The 2003 and 2016 Patriots have bizarre similarities

Every football team’s season has their own story, different from any other team out there. Although the Atlanta Falcons have the same head coach and quarterback from last season, they are much improved from their previous 8-8 mark. The New England Patriots managed to lock up home-field advantage this season, something they failed to do in 2015.

However, the Patriots squad headed to Super Bowl LI in Houston has some odd similarities with the Patriots team that played in the previous Super Bowl in Houston.

Both the 2003 and 2016 Patriots had 16-2 records (including the postseason) and were shut out by the Bills in their first loss of the season. Like the 2003 Patriots, the 2016 Patriots were also two years removed from their previous Super Bowl victory. The list below should help paint the full picture for you:

2003 Patriots

  • W-L (including postseason): 16-2
  • Super Bowl location: Houston
  • Last trailed: Week 12
  • Points allowed rank: 1st
  • Previous SB win: 2 years prior
  • 1st loss of season: Shut out by Bills

2016 Patriots

  • W-L (including postseason): 16-2
  • Super Bowl location: Houston
  • Last trailed: Week 12
  • Points allowed rank: 1st
  • Previous SB win: 2 years prior
  • 1st loss of season: Shut out by Bills

But the similarities don’t end there. Just like they were in Super Bowl XXXVIII, New England is also up against an 11-5 NFC South team who missed the playoffs the previous season. In order to get to the Super Bowl, the 2003 and 2016 Patriots had to go through teams with ties to Houston in the Divisional round, the Texans and the Titans (formerly the Oilers).

As many fans may recall, the last time New England participated in a Super Bowl in Houston, it was a game for the ages. The Panthers had made their debut appearance to the Super Bowl, while the Patriots were making their second since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady took the reins. 

The Pats held a 21-10 lead at one point in the fourth quarter, but Carolina brilliantly ran a no-huddle offense to prevent any New England substitutions and found the end zone twice in a short amount of time, as the Panthers capitalized off of a Tom Brady interception in the red zone. After coming up empty on a pair of two-point conversions, Carolina held a narrow 22-21 lead.

The Patriots responded by registering a touchdown and a successful conversion to take a 29-22 lead over the Panthers. Carolina then tied the game 29-29 by scoring yet another touchdown.

With 1:13 remaining in regulation, John Kasay drilled the ball out of bounds on the kickoff, which gave Brady and company one more shot to close the game out. Brady took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him and set up Adam Vinatieri to kick a game-winning 41-yard field goal as the clock expired. Vinatieri did his job, and the ball sailed through the uprights, making Brady undefeated in the postseason at the time.

If Super Bowl LI is anything like Super Bowl XXXVIII, then this game is going to be wild. Both offensive units in this year’s Super Bowl are high-powered, so we may have another shootout on our hands.

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