Rodney Harrison calls it the scene of the crime.
On Sunday, the Patriots will go back to the University of Phoenix Stadium to play the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
It’s the same place where the Patriots’ bid for a perfect 19-0 season went up in smoke when they lost to the 10-6 Giants seven years ago.
The haunting image of David Tyree pinning the ball against his helmet, just out of the reach of Harrison, is painfully ingrained into the minds of Patriots fans, filed right next to Plaxico Burress’s game-winning catch.
It hurt Harrison for quite some time, too.
“It took me a long time to get over the fact that we didn’t win that game because I felt like I was personally responsible for it,” Harrison said.
“It still hurts six years after the fact I’ve ben retired. Seven years later around this time it hurts.
“It really hurts and it’s disappointing because you mess up an opportunity to make history.”
But for Harrison, along with the pain comes a profound appreciation for what the Patriots accomplished in that 18-1 season, highlighted by the stunning accomplishments of Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the rest of the offense.
The Patriots scored the most points (589) and touchdowns (75) in one season, both of which have been surpassed by the 2013 Broncos.
Moss’s record of 23 touchdown receptions still stands, and Brady’s 50 touchdown passes were a record until Peyton Manning surpassed it in 2013 (55).
“Just mixed emotions,” Harrison said. “That’s all a part of all the experience.
“We had broken a lot of records offensively, felt defensively in that game we had some opportunities we didn’t take advantage of.
“To have that opportunity, it still hurts when you talk about it. But the flip side is all the wonderful memories and great times we had.”
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