Patriots 20, Rams 17

Patriots shock NFL, defeat Rams to win Super Bowl

“The Impossible Dream’’ has a new meaning in Boston sports lore. Maligned, disrespected, and disbelieved, the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI.

Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal as time expired clinched a 20-17 defeat of the Rams for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI at the Louisiana Superdome.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal as time expired clinched a 20-17 defeat of the Rams for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI at the Louisiana Superdome.

In just his second season as a pro, 24-year-old Tom Brady led the Patriots to a championship.

Bill Greene/Globe Staff

In just his second season as a pro, 24-year-old Tom Brady led the Patriots to a championship.

Ty Law’s 47-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter helped the Patriots build a 17-3 halftime lead.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Ty Law’s 47-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter helped the Patriots build a 17-3 halftime lead.

The victory was sweet for veterans such as Tedy Bruschi, who was on the losing end of Super Bowl XXXI in the Superdome five years earlier.

AP

The victory was sweet for veterans such as Tedy Bruschi, who was on the losing end of Super Bowl XXXI in the Superdome five years earlier.

Less than two years after being drafted in the sixth round, Brady was named Super Bowl XXXVI MVP.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Less than two years after being drafted in the sixth round, Brady was named Super Bowl XXXVI MVP.

Bobby Hamilton showed off the Lombardi Trophy to the assembled Patriots fans inside the Superdome.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Bobby Hamilton showed off the Lombardi Trophy to the assembled Patriots fans inside the Superdome.

Dan Shaughnessy

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/01/04/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/shaughnessy-1483.png Patriots win thrilling Super Bowl, restore pride to New England fans

This time, the ball didn’t scoot between anyone’s legs. It sailed between the uprights. Straight and true. The Patriots were NFL champions.

Dan Shaughnessy

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/01/04/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/brady-1491--90x90.jpg Tom Brady’s story reflects a rise like no other

The QB was on the cover of a Wheaties box before the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory was an hour old. He’s already emerged as every mother’s favorite would-be son-in-law.

Bob Ryan

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/01/03/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/ryan90-1447.png No Boston team has ever been a more deserving champion

There are no more games, right? There aren’t any reviews, replays, or reassessments, correct? The Patriots won the 2002 Super Bowl, fair and square?

Michael Holley

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/01/03/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/X00009_9[1]-1446--90x90.jpg Patriots are NFL champs? This requires an attitude adjustment

Is any of this sinking in yet? Now no Patriot will have to whisper when talking about the team’s lack of Super Bowl success.

Adam Vinatieri’s kick a majestic ending for Patriots

It will be the kick that sails on for eternity in the minds of all Patriots fans - Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard boot with 0:07 left.

Patriots went for broke, then cashed in on final drive

On TV, John Madden told a nation the Patriots would be wrong to move the ball. Then they proved him wrong.

Michael Holley

Championship changes image of once-reviled Bill Belichick

A Bill - not Parcells - coached the Patriots to a Super Bowl win? By completely ripping up and re-forming his game plan? Come on.

More Super Bowl XXXVI

Former Patriots owner Victor Kiam

Champion Patriots were once the NFL’s laughingstock

Of all the improbable things that have happened in team history, nothing was more improbable than winning this Super Bowl.

More Super Bowl XXXVI

Drew Bledsoe’s Super Bowl ride came mostly on the bench as a backup to Tom Brady.

Will McDonough

Bittersweet win for the outward-bound Drew Bledsoe

The QB has played his last game with the Patriots. He wishes it wasn’t this way. He would have liked to finish his career here.

'Tuck Rule' game

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Thrilling snowy comeback launched Patriots

The “tuck rule” win against the Raiders included two plays that became NFL icons and sparked a title run for the Patriots.