Unforgettable Games Presents: Super Bowl XXXVIII New England Vs. Carolina

David ArreolaSenior Analyst IJanuary 20, 2009

Hello friends, I will be starting a new series called "Unforgettable Games."

Throughout my life I have witnessed some pretty sweet games, in all sports. These games were so good that I still remember some of the most irrelevant plays in the game to this very day.

This is the first of many games that I felt are unforgettable.

I hope you tune into the next segments as I relive the glory of the amazing games of sports' past.


Unforgettable Games

Super Bowl XXXVIII: New England Patriots Vs. Carolina Panthers


Before the game

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, everyone was going on and on about the Pats win streak (which stood at 14 prior to the Super Bowl). The Panthers had just finished dominating the Eagles in their own stadium 14-3. Confidence was sky high in Carolina.

However, outside of Charlotte, most the the United States felt the Patriots had this one wrapped up.

Despite the Panthers knocking off the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs, the Patriots were favored by seven.

My pregame prediction gave the Panthers a little more credit than the nation. I predicted a 31-28 Panthers win, Adam Vinatieri missing the game tying field goal as time expired. I was confident in the Panthers, but I knew what they were up against.


First Quarter

The first quarter was a defensive struggle to say the least. Adam Vinatieri missed a close field goal, and had another blocked, to keep the game tied. While the Patriots defense kept the Panthers from earning a first down.

Delhomme started out as bad as a quarterback could in the Super Bowl. One for nine passing and fumble.

The defensive struggle continued as the first quarter ended 0-0.


Second Quarter

The first 12 minutes of the second quarter was much of the same. Defensive struggle. That was until Tom Brady hit Deion Branch for a five-yard touchdown pass to put the Pats up 7-0.

Carolina's offensive came out of nowhere and scored on their next drive, going 95 yards in eight plays. Steve Smith scored on a 39 yard touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme.

Tom Brady's offense responded with their own touchdown drive as they scored with 18 seconds remaining on a Tom Brady touchdown pass to Deion Branch.

The Patriots' squib kick would backfire as it gave the Panthers a short field to work with.

A big 21-yard run by Stephen Davis set up John Kasey for a 50-yard field goal to make the game 14-10 going into halftime.



We all remember this. For many young children, it will be remembered as the first nipple they ever saw on T.V.


Third quarter

The third quarter saw the offensive fireworks that ended the half come to an abrupt end.

Both teams punted twice.

However, similar to the second quarter, at the three minute mark the Patriots scored again.

Antowain Smith capped of a 71-yard drive with a two yard touchdown run to give the Patriots a 21-10 lead going into the fourth quarter.


Fourth quarter

I will always remember the 4th quarter as the best NFL quarter I have ever seen.

With the Patriots having a 21-10 lead, the Panthers needed to put up points fast.

DeSean Foster burst from the line of scrimmage for a 33-yard touchdown run to cut New England's lead to five. The Panthers two point conversion attempt failed.

With time winding down, the Patriots were a touchdown from putting this game away. I will always remember sitting on my chair saying, "The Panthers need a pick or this is OVER!"

On the very next play Tom Brady threw an interception on the Panthers' nine yard line giving Carolina brand new hope.

On the next possession the Panthers were in a hole. Third down on their own 15 yard line.

On that very play Jake Delhomme hooked up with Muhsin Muhammad for an 85-yard touchdown pass. Breaking the previous record for longest play from scrimmage in Super Bowl history, previous held by Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman.

The Panthers' failed another two point conversion attempt, but still held the lead 22-21.

Tom Brady redeemed his interception as he threw his third touchdown pass of the game to give New England a 27-22 lead. Kevin Faulk would convert the two point conversion to increase the Patriots lead to seven.

However, the Panthers would not be denied.

In an eerie set of coincidences the Panthers tied the game 29-29 with 1:08 remaining.

What made the Panthers touchdown so peculiar was who caught it. Ricky Proehl also caught the game tying touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVI while he was with the St. Louis Rams.

John Kasey made the mistake of a lifetime as his ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Patriots a short field to cover.

Tom Brady easily put Adam Vinatieri in field goal position to win the game.

As he did two years ago, Adam Vinatieri kicked the game winning field goal. Knocking home a 41-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 32-29 lead with four second left.

Carolina went nowhere with their kickoff and the Patriots won the Super Bowl.


The Aftermath

It was the Cinderella story that wasn't meant to be. Carolina proved to the nation that they had earned the right to play the Patriots, but were unable to emerge victorious.

The fourth quarter had a combined 37 points scored, the most in Super Bowl history.

Delhomme and Brady each passed for over 300 yards and three TD's, becoming only the second quarterbacks to do this in a Super Bowl. Dan Marino and Joe Montana did this in Super Bowl XIX.

The Patriots dominated the stat sheet as well as the time of possession. Failed two-point conversions by the Panthers gave the Patriots the opportunity to win it in the end.


My Thoughts

While the nation rambled on about Janet Jackson's nipple flash, I was reveling in one hell of a game.

Watching Jake Delhomme will his team to take the lead after a 21-10 deficit was one of the most memorable performances ever.

I was disappointed in the outcome, as I felt if John Kasey had not royally screwed up the Panthers would have won the game.

Despite the outcome, I still feel the Patriots were very deserving of the title as they stepped up when they needed to.

This still remains my favorite Super Bowl of all-time.