Super Bowl XXXIX
Super Bowl XXXIX welcomed the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles and their 13-2 regular season record, and the AFC champion New England Patriots, whose 14-2 record helped them reach the big game for the second year in a row. (In contrast, the Eagles were making only their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history). Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his team, which included quarterback Tom Brady, line backer Tedy Bruschi, and kicker Adam Vinatieri, aimed to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Massachusetts after being bested the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Of course, all that stood in their way was the Eagles … a team led by head coach Andy Reid and featuring the likes of Donovan McNabb at quarterback and Terrell Owens as wide receiver. Despite making it to the NFC Championship game for four consecutive seasons, Super Bowl XXXIX would mark only the second time the team would make it to the Sunday spectacular (the first coming in 1980).
Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida hosted Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6, 2005, marking the first time that the big game was played in that Sunshine State city. The included its share of drama, beginning with the first drive of the game as Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest sacked McNabb, causing him to fumble as New England recovered the ball at Philadelphia's 34-yard line. Reid challenged the ruling, however, and a replay showed McNabb was down by contact before he lost control. After a 0-0 tie at the end of the first quarter, both teams scored in the second (with New England scoring with just over a minute left), making it 7-7 at the half. The halftime tie would be only the second in Super Bowl history; the game would also mark the first time in NFL history that both of the game's first two quarters ended with a tie. The seesaw score continued as the second half took shape. On the opening drive, Patriots receiver Deion Branch caught four passes for 71 yards, ending with Brady's 2-yard touchdown pass to Mike Vrabel. Not to be outdone, the Eagles tied it up with a 74-yard, 10-play drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from their QB to running back Brian Westbrook. As the clock ticked down, fans watched as New England and Philadelphia sat knocked up at 14-14 … the first time ever that a Super Bowl game would be tied going into the fourth quarter. Although Super Bowl XXXIX was close through the first three quarters, the Pats would take a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter via a 2-yard touchdown run by Corey Dillon and a 22-yard field goal by Vinatieri. Not to be outdone, McNabb hit receiver Greg Lewis with a 30-yard touchdown pass with less than 2 minutes remaining to make the score 24-21. But that was not enough, as the Patriots held on to the first team since the Denver Broncos in 1997 and 1998 to win back-to-back Super Bowls, and the second team (after the Dallas Cowboys) to capture three Super Bowl titles in four years. New England wide receiver Deion Branch was named Super Bowl MVP in the wake of 133 receiving yards, tying a Super Bowl record 11 catches.