By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
For the No. 4 game on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Belichick 20/20 countdown, we go back to one of the Patriots’ six Super Bowl wins. And this team has played in so many big games that their thrilling 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII kind of gets lost in the shuffle.
But this was a great game, certainly one of the more heroic performances of Tom Brady’s career and one of Adam Vinatieri’s signature games. Brady earned MVP honors after going 32-for-48 through the air for 354 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
The team’s back-and-forth shootout in the second half turned this one into a thriller, and Brady certainly deserved credit for his performance. But Belichick’s stamp on this game came on special teams.
Vinatieri missed a couple of field goal attempts early in the game, but nailed his 41-yarder with mere seconds left in regulation so he more than made up for those misses. His big kick came after another clutch drive engineered by Brady to get the Patriots in position – and a major miscue in the kicking game by the Panthers.
Many Pats fans remember this night for Carolina kicker John Kasay kicking the ball out of bounds on their final kickoff of the game with the score tied 29-29. That resulted in a penalty and the Patriots getting set up at the 40-yard line. So it wasn’t exactly the longest, hardest drive of Brady’s career. But considering the circumstances, and the Patriots’ ability to execute perfectly in a season-on-the-line situation while the Panthers faltered, Belichick deserves credit of his own for having his team ready to play their best football in those final minutes – as opposed to John Fox’s Panthers.
You can check out video highlights from the game from the NFL on YouTube, but Patriots fans should absolutely listen below for classic radio calls by the late Gil Santos and some of Belichick’s animated postgame comments.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.