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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 06:12 GMT
Happy Patriots accept plaudits
New England hero Tom Brady with the Lombardi Trophy
New England hero Tom Brady with the Lombardi Trophy
New England refused to get carried away by the hype following their 24-21 victory over Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX.

The narrow win over the Eagles in Jacksonville was the Patriots third NFL title in four seasons, securing their status as one of the league's handful of 'dynasty' teams.

Quarterback Tom Brady, who threw two touchdown passes, completing 23 of 33 passes for 236 yards, was delighted but typical down-to-earth.

"We never self-proclaimed ourselves anything," he said after improving his post-season record to a perfect 9-0.

"I know it sounds cliché, we keep saying we are just a team but we are. If you guys (the media) say we're great then we accept the compliment, but we still worked hard."

Coach Bill Belichick was similarly grounded despite his latest success.

We fought our tails off to get that victory - the guys stepped up
Patriots safety Rodney Harrison

He is now the first coach to win three Super Bowls in four years and improved his play-off record to 10-1, surpassing legendary Green Bay boss Vince Lombardi.

"We started at the bottom of the mountain with everyone else and we're happy to get to the top," Belichick said.

"I'll leave the historical perspectives to everyone else. We're just thrilled to win, it was a very tough year."

Brady, Super Bowl MVP in 2002 and 2004 was more excited by the performance of this year's winner, team-mate Deion Branch, than his own.

The wide receiver took a Super Bowl record-equalling 11 catches for 113 yards, having caught 10 in last year's win over Carolina.

"He was huge in this game," Brady said. "He did some big things after he caught the ball. He's a dynamite player - he can do it all."

Philadelphia made the Patriots work hard for their latest success, as New England linebacker Willie McGinest acknowleged.

"I have all the respect in the world for them," he said. "But we were not going to be denied."

"These guys got a taste of it and they are going to want to come back
Eagles coach Andy Reid

The Eagles, making their first Super Bowl appearance in 24 years, were bidding for their first NFL crown since 1960, but it wasn't to be.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb said: "We stayed aggressive and played close, but we just weren't able to pull it out.

"You can put your head down after something like this, but I won't do that. We'll be back."

Wide receiver Terrell Owens, who defied medical advice to play on his healing broken leg, added: "A lot of people believed I couldn't play, but my faith carried me all the way.

"We'll be back - we will be back on this stage."



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