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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 03:22 GMT
Shock win for the Patriots
Adam Vinatieri kicked the winning field goal as time ran out
Last-gasp winner: Vinatieri wins New England the match
The New England Patriots pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, beating the St Louis Rams 20-17 in New Orleans.

Kicker Adam Vinatieri was the hero of the day, stepping up to convert a 48-yard field goal as time ran out on a thrilling season finale.

And his kick earned New England their first Super Bowl win, the franchise having lost out in two previous appearances against Chicago and Green Bay.

Tom Brady was MVP of Super Bowl XXXVI
MVP: Tom Brady is also youngest QB winner

Bill Belichick's unfancied team started the brighter, shutting down the Rams juggernaut offense and limiting the NFL's top scorers to one field goal in the first half.

Touchdowns from Ty Law and David Patten and a field goal from Vinatieri gave them a surprising 17-3 lead to take into the final period.

But Kurt Warner inspired a brave Rams comeback, sneaking in unchallenged for one touchdown and passing to Ricky Proehl to level the scores deep in the fourth quarter.

Just when it looked as though a Super Bowl would go to overtime for the first time in NFL history, quarterback Tom Brady drove the Patriots forward and into field goal range.

The 24-year-old - who is the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl - took MVP honours for his role in the winning drive.

Kurt Warner rallied the Rams late but could not prevent Super Bowl defeat
Warner inspired a late Rams rally

But Vinatieri, who showed great composure when faced with the biggest kick of his career, had the satisfaction of striking the final blow.

All of the talk pre-game was of a big St Louis win.

But head coach Belichick got his defensive tactics just right and stifled the favourites' prolific offence early by applying blitz pressure on Warner, who made a succession of turnovers.

St Louis' Marshall Faulk, the most potent running back in the NFL this season, was held to just 76 yards in a disappointing outing.

New England, meanwhile, found a rush offence of their own through Antowain Smith, who proved to be a useful foil for Brady.

In the end though, theirs was a victory for a well-drilled unit over a Rams team that underperformed under huge pressure.

Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey and U2 provided memorable musical interludes during the game.

And the Patriots played their part on the field, serving up one of the biggest sporting upsets in American team sports history.

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 ON THIS STORY
Todd Ant reports for BBC Sport
"An exciting finish in New Orleans"
American journalist Bob Addison
"This was a huge shock"
Links to more US Sport stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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