FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots led the Rams 17-0 at halftime on Sunday, but it pales in comparison to a game the two franchises played in February 2002. Maybe you’re familiar with it — then-Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri booted a 48-yard field goal as time expired to win Super Bowl XXXVI, the first Super Bowl win in Patriots history.
New England went on to win three more championships, but at the time, beating the Rams as a 14-point underdog was considered one of the more monumental wins in league history.
On Sunday, the Patriots honored that 2001 championship team at halftime by celebrating the 15-year anniversary of that historic season. Owner Robert Kraft opened the ceremony with a speech about teamwork beating individual players, saying, “Our fans had been waiting for 42 years for the opportunity to celebrate as champions.”
The 2001 team then walked out of the tunnel, led by quarterback Drew Bledsoe, wide receiver Troy Brown, and safety Lawyer Milloy, who held the Lombardi Trophy.
“It’s good to be home, with the best owners, the best stadium, and the best fans,” Milloy said.
Bledsoe, who spoke next, was serenaded by chants of “Drew.”
“We were so proud to represent you as our fans in the best way we knew how to do it, as a team,” Bledsoe said. “We’re all so proud to be part of the team that started this tradition of winning championships.”
Brown’s message was a little more PG-13.
“This day, 15 years ago, we took on the greatest team on turf,” Brown yelled. “That made us the greatest team on (expletive) earth. We did it. We did it.”
Kraft ended the speeches.
“This team will always have a special place in the hearts of all New England fans,” he said.
Bledsoe, Brown, and Milloy were the game’s honorary captains, and ten minutes before the game started, Bledsoe and Milloy opened the doors to the Patriots locker room. Quarterback Tom Brady stopped to give Bledsoe a hug before he went on the field and completed 17 of 22 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.