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Super Bowl: How the New England Patriots beat the Greatest Show on Turf

Super Bowl: How the New England Patriots beat the Greatest Show on Turf
© Reuters
The two sides met in the Super Bowl nearly two decades ago.

The Patriots and the Rams will face off for the top prize in the NFL when the Super Bowl takes place in Atlanta on February 3.

Both sides needed overtime to see off the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints respectively and set up a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI when the Rams were based in St Louis.

Back in 2002, the Rams, known as the Greatest Show on Turf, went into the game as favourites but were stunned by a New England side who were forced to bring in a young, untested Tom Brady part way through the season and won the game 20-17.

Brady replaced the injured Drew Bledsoe in the second week of the campaign and the Patriots won 11 of their remaining 14 games to take the AFC East and came up against the Rams who had an NFL-best record of 14-2 for the season.

It was the Rams who took an early lead at the Louisiana Superdome through a Jeff Wilkins field goal, but a Ty Law interception was returned for a touchdown and Brady drove the Pats downfield with an eight-yard pass to David Patten, giving their side a surprise 14-3 half-time lead.

The Rams put two touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter with Ricky Proehl's 26-yard reception from Kurt Warner with 1:30 left to play drawing the game level at 17-17.

Rams Saints Football
Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein holds the NFC trophy in the locker room after the win over the Saints (David J Phillip/AP)

But New England – who had no timeouts remaining – were not done.

Brady had three straight completions to move New England to the 41-yard line and followed this with a 23-yard pass to Troy Brown. Another six-yard pass moved the Pats to the 30-yard line, setting up a 48-yard field goal attempt.

Adam Vinatieri split the uprights as time expired to cap a nine-play 53-yard drive as the Patriots won their first Super Bowl.

The 2001 season would serve as a launchpad for Patriots success, having won the AFC Championship eight times and Super Bowl on four occasions since.

As for the Rams, they found themselves suffering a play-off drought between 2005 and 2017, by which time the side had relocated to Los Angeles.

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Melvin Gordon #28 of the San Diego Chargers runs through the tackle attempt of Tyvon Branch #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium during the third quarter of the game on December 13, 2015
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