Super Bowl XXXVIII - New England Patriots 32 Carolina Panthers 29 - MVP Patriots QB Tom Brady
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots 32 Panthers 29 - MVP Patriots QB Tom Brady

Tom Brady's Patriots treated the fans to another exciting finish that ended with a game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal with four seconds remaining to edge Carolina, 32-29. The Michigan product completed 32 of 48 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns to become the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to start and win two Super Bowls before his 27th birthday

NFL fans and sports writers widely consider Super Bowl XXXVIII one of the most well-played and thrilling Super Bowls. Sports Illustrated writer Peter King hailed it as the "Greatest Super Bowl of all time."

While it took a Super-Bowl record 26 minutes and 55 seconds for the first points to be scored, the teams combined for 868 yards (481 by New England) and the game also featured the highest scoring quarter (combined 37 points in the fourth).

Vinatieri missed a 31-yard field goal on the Patriots' first possession, and had a 36-yard attempt blocked by Shane Burton with 6:00 left in the second quarter. But three plays later, Mike Vrabel sacked Jake Delhomme and forced him to fumble. Richard Seymour recovered at the Panthers' 20, and a 12-yard scramble by Tom Brady on third-and-7 set up his 5-yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch with 3:05 left in the first half.

The Panthers responded with an 8-play, 95-yard drive capped by Delhomme's 39-yard perfectly placed touchdown pass to Steve Smith with 1:07 left in the half. Delhomme beat the blitz by lofting the pass deep down the left sideline.

Brady's 52-yard pass to Branch with 37 seconds left in the half set up David Givens' 5-yard touchdown catch with 18 seconds left. New England squibbed the ensuing kickoff and Kris Mangum returned it 12 yards to the Panthers' 47. A 21-yard run by Stephen Davis set up John Kasay's 50-yard field goal as the half expired for a 14-10 New England lead.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Antowain Smith's 2-yard touchdown run two plays into the final quarter capped a 71-yard drive and gave the Patriots a 21-10 lead.

Undaunted, the Carolina Panthers scored on their next two possessions.

First, Delhomme completed passes of 18 and 22 yards to Smith to set up DeShaun Foster's 33-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 21-16 with 12:39 to play. Carolina went for the 2-point conversion, but Delhomme's pass was incomplete.

New England marched to the Panthers' 9 with the ensuing kickoff, but Reggie Howard intercepted Brady's third-and-goal pass in the end zone. Two plays later, Delhomme rolled left and fired a Super-Bowl record 85-yard touchdown pass to Muhammad for a 22-21 lead with 6:53 left. Once again, the Panthers went for 2 points and Delhomme's pass was incomplete.

New England drove 68 yards on its next possession, with Givens catching a 25-yard pass and 18-yard pass on third-and-9, to set up Brady's 1-yard touchdown pass to Vrabel, who was lined up as a tight end. A direct snap to Kevin Faulk resulted in a 2-point conversion for a 29-22 lead with 2:51 left.

Delhomme completed passes of 19 yards to Muhammad and 31 yards to Ricky Proehl before finding Proehl from 12 yards with the tying touchdown with 1:08 remaining.

Kasay's ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving New England the ball at their own 40. Five plays later, faced with third-and-3 from the Panthers' 40 with 14 seconds left, Brady fired a 17-yard pass to Branch to set up Vinatieri's Super Bowl-winning 41-yard field goal.

The Patriots and Panthers combined for 868 yards of total offense, the second-highest total in Super Bowl history. Both starting quarterbacks threw for at least 300 yards for only the second time in Super Bowl history, with Dan Marino and Joe Montana each passing for at least 300 yards in Super Bowl XIX. This was also only the second Super Bowl to feature one 100-yard receiving performance on each team, with Deion Branch and Muhsin Muhammad each reaching 100 yards. Andre Reed and Michael Irvin first accomplished the feat in Super Bowl XXVII. The 37 total points scored in the 4th quarter were the most combined points in a 4th quarter in a Super Bowl and the most in any quarter by two teams. Washington's 35 points in Super Bowl XXII was the previous high for most combined points in a single quarter in a Super Bowl. The fourth quarter was the second in Super Bowl history to have five touchdowns scored in a single quarter, the first being when the Redskins had five in Super Bowl XXII in the second quarter. It was also the first time in Super Bowl history that both teams would score at least two touchdowns in the same quarter.

Delhomme finished the game with 16 completions out of 33 attempts for 323 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions for a passer rating of 113.6. He was seen standing on the field during the Patriots' post-game celebration; he later commented: "I wanted to catch up to the moment of what it feels like to be on the other side, to be on this side, the losing side. To let it sink in, to hurt, so when we start practice in the fall, the two-a-days and there are days during the season when I'm tired and I want to go home, but I need to watch that extra film. I want to get back there, but I want to get on the other side of that field. They rope you off, the losing team basically. I just want to get on the other side of that rope. I just wanted to watch and let it sink in and hurt a little bit. When I have a tough day, I'll just think about that feeling and it will make me dig down just a little deeper."

Muhsin Muhammad caught four passes for 140 yards, an average of 35 yards per catch, and a touchdown. Steve Smith caught four passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. He also returned a punt for two yards, and returned a kickoff for 30 yards, giving him 112 total yards. Proehl caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Proehl joined Jerry Rice as only two players to score touchdowns with two different teams in Super Bowls.

Tom Brady, who was named the Super Bowl most valuable player for the second time in his career, was 32 of 48 for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception. Branch had 10 receptions for 143 yards.

Tom Brady's 32 completions were the most in Super Bowl history. His 48 attempts were the most for a winning quarterback. His 354 yards passing is now the fifth best total in Super Bowl history. Brady's passer rating for this game was 100.5. Branch was the top receiver of the game with 10 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown. Brown caught 8 passes for 76 yards, and returned four punts for 40 yards. Antowain Smith was the top rusher of the game with 83 yards and a touchdown.

Super Bowl XXXVIII MVP: Patriots QB Tom Brady

Super Bowl XXXVIII MVP: Patriots QB Tom Brady
Super Bowl XXXVIII MVP: Patriots QB Tom Brady

Two late, winning Super Bowl drives in three seasons. Two Super Bowl MVP awards in three seasons.

Can there be any doubt now that Tom Brady is one of the great quarterbacks in NFL history?

I don't think so.

Great quarterbacks give their best performances in the biggest games, and that was exactly what Brady did. Twice. In Super Bowl XXXVI, he marched the Patriots to the winning points against the St. Louis Rams. In Super Bowl XXXVIII, he marched the Patriots to the winning points against the Carolina Panthers.

Think about how incredible that is. It's the sort of stuff that has elevated players to Pro Football Hall of Fame status. And the kid is only 26 years old.

Yet, once again, Brady was so cool and so poised beyond his years. He was everything a top-notch, championship-level quarterback needs to be.

You could base that opinion on Brady's numbers alone: 32 completions in 48 attempts for 354 yards and three touchdowns. The 32 completions broke a Super Bowl record that Jim Kelly had set at 31 in Super Bowl XXVIII against Dallas.

But Brady's excellence went well beyond numbers. For the second time in three Super Bowls, he came through in the most pressure-filled of situations one can face in football -- or in any sport for that matter.

For one thing, he did not lose his cool after suffering an interception in the end zone that allowed the Panthers to make a stunning, 90-yard scoring march that gave them their first lead of the game -- 22-21 -- with 6:53 left in the fourth quarter.

For another, when the Patriots got a huge break when John Kasay sent a kickoff out of bounds that started them on their 40 with 1:08 remaining, he just tossed completion after completion against one of the NFL's best defenses. The 37-yard drive put them in position to score their 15th consecutive victory, which Adam Vinatieri delivered with his winning 41-yard field goal.

"Who would you rather have running a two-minute drive than Tom Brady?" Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis said. "I'll take him 10 times out of 10 times."

Me, too.

Brady took some big hits, but never went down, giving the Patriots zero sacks for the postseason. He threw touchdowns to a pair of wide receivers, Deion Branch and David Givens, and to linebacker Mike Vrabel. He played like a champion and celebrated like a champion, giving credit, as usual, to everyone but himself.

"To win this, the way we did it, is just incredible," Brady said. "Just a great, all-around game."

But Brady deserves all of the credit he can get. He can be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the all-time greats, including his boyhood idol, Joe Montana.

And give credit to Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme, who also passed for 300 yards. In fact, it was only the second time in Super Bowl history both quarterbacks amassed 300 yards. The first time was Joe Montana and Dan Marino in Super Bowl XIX.

Conventional wisdom suggested this game would be dominated by defense, and in the beginning it was. When the Patriots scored the game's first touchdown, with 3:05 left in the second quarter, it marked the latest first score in Super Bowl history.

After the first quarter, Delhomme had completed 1 of 6 passes for 1 yard. After five series, the Panthers had zero net yards of total offense. After the game's first 20 plays, the Panthers had minus-7 yards in total offense.

But just when it seemed as if the Patriots had built an impenetrable wall in front of Carolina, Delhomme got hot. The Patriots ended up allowing three offensive touchdowns of 33 or more yards, including an 85-yard touchdown pass from Delhomme to Muhsin Muhammad that was the longest play from scrimmage in Super Bowl history.

Then Brady got a little hotter. And with the Super Bowl on the line for the second time in three years, he gave the Patriots the clutch work they needed.

"Tom's going to be mentioned with the better quarterbacks playing now and in the past," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "You can't deny his production. He's a winner. He does what he needs to do to help the team win, and he does it as well as anybody."

Super Bowl XXXVIII Scoring

Teams Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Source: NFL
Carolina Panthers 0 10 0 19 29
New England Patriots 0 14 0 18 32


Qtr Time Plays Yards Duration Team Scoring Summary Panthers Patriots
Source: NFL
23:054202:10NEDeion Branch 5-yard TD reception from Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri PAT07
21:078951:58CARSteve Smith 39-yard TD reception from Jake Delhomme, John Kasay PAT77
20:186780:49NEDavid Givens 5-yard TD reception from Brady, Vinatieri PAT714
20:002210:18CAR50-yard FG by Kasay1014
414:498714:08NEAntowain Smith 2-yard TD run, Vinatieri PAT1021
412:396812:10CARDeShaun Foster 33-yard TD run, 2-point pass failed1621
46:533900:45CARMuhsin Muhammad 85-yard TD reception from Delhomme, 2-point pass failed2221
42:5111684:02NEMike Vrabel 1-yard TD reception from Brady, 2-point run good (Kevin Faulk)2229
41:087801:43CARRicky Proehl 12-yard TD reception from Delhomme, Kasay PAT2929
40:046371:04NE41-yard FG by Vinatieri2932/td>


Super Bowl XXXVIII Team Statistics

Statistic Panthers Patriots
Source: NFL
First downs1729
First downs rushing37
First downs passing1219
First downs penalty23
Third down efficiency4/128/17
Fourth down efficiency0/01/1
Net yards rushing92127
Rushing attempts1635
Yards per rush5.83.6
Passing -- Completions-attempts16/3332/48
Times sacked-total yards4--280--0
Interceptions thrown01
Net yards passing295354
Total net yards387481
Punt returns-total yards1--25--42
Kickoff returns-total yards6--1164--78
Interceptions-total return yards1--120--0
Punts-average yardage7--44.35--34.6
Time of possession21:0238:58


Super Bowl XXXVIII: Panthers Player Statistics

Source: NFL
PassingComp / AttYardsTDINTRating
Jake Delhomme16/3332330113.6
Stephen Davis13490213.77
DeShaun Foster343133t14.33
Muhsin Muhammad4140185t10
Steve Smith480139t9
Ricky Proehl4711315
Jermaine Wiggins2210152
DeShaun Foster19092
Kris Mangum12023
Brad Hoover00001


Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots Player Statistics

Source: NFL
PassingComp / AttYardsTDINTRating
Tom Brady32/4835431100.5
Antowain Smith2683193.19
Kevin Faulk6420237.00
Tom Brady2120126.00
Troy Brown1--100--10--10.00
Deion Branch1014315213
Troy Brown87601310
David Givens56912511
Daniel Graham4460334
Kevin Faulk419074
Mike Vrabel1111t1
Larry Centers00001
Christian Fauria00001
Bethel Johnson00001
Dedric Ward00001

February 1, 2004

Reliant Stadium (Houston, Texas)

Attendance: 71,525

National Anthem: Beyoncé

Coin Toss: Earl Campbell, Ollie Matson, Don Maynard, Y. A. Tittle, Mike Singletary, Gene Upshaw

Halftime Show: Jessica Simpson, Ocean of Soul, Spirit of Houston, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, and Nelly

Network: CBS

Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Phil Simms, Armen Keteyian and Bonnie Bernstein

Nielsen ratings: 41.3 (est. 89.8 million viewers)

Cost of 30-second commercial: $2.2 million

Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots vs. Panthers Highlights


Super Bowl XXXVIII: Ticket & Championship Ring

Super Bowl XXXVIII Championship Ring and Game Ticket Super Bowl XXXVIII: New England Patriots  32  Carolina Panthers  29 | MVP: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

Super Bowl XXXVIII - New England Patriots 32 Carolina Panthers 29 - MVP Patriots QB Tom Brady

Super Bowl XXXVII Logo

Super Bowl XXXVIII - New England Patriots 32 Carolina Panthers 29 - MVP Patriots QB Tom Brady

NFL Football: "Super Bowl XXXVIII - New England Patriots 32 Carolina Panthers 29 - MVP Patriots QB Tom Brady "