New England Patriots claimed the Super Bowl following a hard-fought 32-29 victory over Carolina Panthers in Reliant Stadium with Adam Vinatieri
kicking a last-gasp field goal.Following a scoreless first quarter, the longest a final has gone without a team scoring,it erupted with both sides
exploding on offence with Tom Brady and Jake Delhomme showing the form that go their respective clubs into the finale.
Defence dominated the game early on with Carolina punting on their first three drives, while The Patriots' inability to score on their opening drive
was their first in their last six attempts.
The AFC champions should have taken a 3-0 lead,
however Adam Vinatieri surprisingly missed a 31-yard field goal attempt pulling his effort just wide with a chip shot.The 2001 Super Bowl game-winner
then missed his second kick of the game in the second quarter when Shane Burton got a hand on his low attempt and blocked his 36-yard effort.
Despite missing good touchdown scoring opportunities, Tom Brady and company were not to be denied against the Panthers, who had done nothing on
offence in the first quarter.
Tom Brady threw three TD passes and Adam
Vinatieri booted the winning field goal with just four seconds remaining as New England beat Carolina 32-29 in a thrilling Super Bowl XXXVIII in
Vinateri missed two first-half field goals but it was a case of third time lucky as he connected from 41 yards out to clinch a second world
championship in three seasons for the Pats.
Defeat was hard on Carolina, for whom quarteback
Jake Delhomme overcame a terrible start to throw for 323 yards and three touchdowns.
Most experts expected a low-scoring affair between two teams with great defenses, and it was still scoreless with just over three minutes remaining in
the first half.Vinatieri's two missed field goals had been the only real opportunities. But then the game exploded with 24 points before
First Brady hit Deion Branch from five yards
out.The Panthers, who had done nothing on offence in the first quarter, responded immediately when Delhomme replied with a 39-yarder to Steve
Defence had now gone out the window as Brady
came right back with another five-yarder to David Givens.There was still time for Carolina to pull a field goal back when Stephen Davis' made a
21-yard run which allowed John Kasay to kick a 50-yarder keeping the NFC winners in touching distance and take it 14-10 at the half.
The third quarter, like the first, was scoreless but the fourth was another explosion with 37 points.New England looked to have taken control for good
when Antowain Smith went in from two yards out to make it 21-10, but DeShaun Foster , who destroyed St Louis Rams, in their divisional play-offs
clash, replied by breaking the tackles and running into the end zone from 33-yards out to bring Carolina back to within 21-16.
Then Delhomme hit Muhsin Muhammad wide open with
a picture-perfect pass for an 85-yard score and Carolina led 22-21.Back came Brady and the Pats with a great drive capped by a one-yard scoring pass
to outside linebacker Mike Vrabel of all people.
Kevin Faulk's two-point conversion made it 29-22 New England, but Carolina still weren't beaten.Delhomme brought them back once more, hitting Ricky
Proehl with a 12-yard scoring pass to cap a gutsy 80-yard drive and tie it up at 29-29.
Kasay's resulting kickoff however crucially went
out of bounds, giving Brady the ball at the New England 40 with three timeouts and 68 seconds remaining.And he took six plays to drive his team 37
yards down inside the Carolina 25 to set up Vinatieri.He put his early misses behind him to boot home the winning field goal for the second time in
three years. His last-gasp effort had beaten St Louis in February 2002.
Brady completed 32 of 48 passes for 354 yards,
three touchdowns and one interception, to be voted the game's MVP -also for the second time in three seasons.