The Patriots have been the symbol of excellence for decades now, with six Super Bowl wins in nine appearances over the span of the last 20 years. Meanwhile, eight teams have yet to even add one title to their franchise’s trophy cases, and eight others only have one Super Bowl win to their names.
But, what if things were different? What if five of the Patriots’ Lombardi trophies were to suddenly disappear, leaving just one Super Bowl win for fans in New England to enjoy and reminisce about?
And, knowing everything about each of those six victories, which one would you decide to keep if given the choice?
The answer isn’t exactly an easy one, and each Super Bowl win has its own case as it vies for the chance to live on in glory at Gillette Stadium.
Do you take Super Bowl XXXVI, where the Patriots defeated the Rams, the Greatest Show on Turf, to take home their first hardware in franchise history? Is the first time the most special of them all?
“If I could only keep one Super Bowl, it would have to be Super Bowl XXXVI,” Boston 25 sports anchor Butch Stearns said. “When Adam Vinatieri kicked that 48-yard field goal, it started two decades of championship dominance in Boston that will probably never be seen again in any other city. But what made it so special was how it changed everything.”
“The last Boston championship before that was the ’87 Celtics, and up until Super Bowl XXXVI, Boston was ‘Loserville,'” Stearns continued. “In big moments, everyone knew that. The ball was going through Buckner’s legs, or there would be a call for too many men on the ice or roughing the passer. Super Bowl XXXVI changed all that.”
If you prioritize game quality over historical significance, do you pick the win in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Panthers? A classic game that included a whopping 37 total points between the two teams in the fourth quarter alone, with three different scoring drives ending in the last three minutes of the game.
The win over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX likely seems like a cherry on top for most fans, and doesn’t mean as much without the first two, anyway. Following that, things get a little more interesting.
After more than 10 years away from the stage where confetti would fall over your head as you hoist the Lombardi trophy , the Patriots were back in the conversation of champions. They defeated the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in one of the greatest games the league has ever seen, with the most improbable ending that fans never could have expected.
“If I were to pick one, I’d say Super Bowl XLIX,” former Boston Globe reporter and current Yahoo Sports! writer Shalise Manza Young said. “That game was such a great championship and a true team win for New England.”
“It’s remembered of course for Malcolm Butler’s incredible game-sealing interception, but Tom Brady and the offense scored 14 fourth-quarter points on a defense that hadn’t given up more than 7 points in the fourth in more than three months. It also started phase two of the dynasty.”
Just two years later, that game may have been topped in the minds of fans across New England. After falling behind to the Falcons with a 28-3 deficit to overcome in the third quarter, the Patriots defied anything a football fan would expect and pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
“The atmosphere of being in the stadium when the Pats came back to beat the Falcons is one I will never forget,” CBS Boston’s Levan Reid said. “Pats fans are drunk ’cause they are losing, Falcons fans are lit because they are blowing out the Pats. Everyone reaching for water as the comeback happens and New England fans realized something. Tom Brady is not going to lie down.”
“That win was everything Tom Brady and that organization is all about under Mr. [Robert] Kraft,” Reid continued. “Perseverance and success despite the odds.”
As if those wins weren’t enough, Brady, Belichick and the Patriots had to add some more jewelry to the collection, giving Brady his “one for the thumb” in the form of a sixth Super Bowl ring.
A year after a devastating Super Bowl defeat against the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, the Patriots found themselves right back in the championship hunt against the Rams down in Atlanta.
Unlike Super Bowl LII, however, Super Bowl LIII was anything but an offensive slugfest. With just 16 total points scored between the two teams, it was Belichick’s defense and special teams that ended up playing the most pivotal part in the victory.
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Had it not been for the excellent efforts of Julian Edelman as the offensive spark in the team’s offense, Patriots punter Ryan Allen could have somehow found himself hoisting a Super Bowl MVP trophy for his stellar special teams work.
In its entirety, the Patriots’ Super Bowl resume is one for the ages, and some teams would do anything just for the opportunity to experience one of those victories.
Each win has its own story, with the history of a win sometimes outweighing the quality of the battle waged on the field. For some Patriots fans, it could be like picking between one of your children, and the decision may be too difficult to make if they were asked for an answer on the spot.
So, with all of that in mind, the question still remains: if you could only keep one of the team’s six Lombardi Trophies, which one are you picking?