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  1. #1
    GreatestShow99's Avatar
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    Jim Thomas: Super Bowl loss still stings

    Feb. 3, 2002--New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri kicks a 48-yard field goal as time runs out to give the Patriots a 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. (Chris Lee/P-D)

    To this day, defensive end Leonard Little has never watched the entire game.

    "Never will," Little said. "Because I felt that the best team didn't win that day. We didn't win; they won the game. It goes to show that anything can happen on any given day."

    What happened on that day, Feb. 3, 2002, was one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history. The heavily favored Rams, at the apex of their brief but brilliant run as the Greatest Show on Turf, were toppled by the upstart New England Patriots 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI.

    Now, as the Rams wind down preparations for Sunday's game at New England their first trip to Foxborough since that 2001 season Little is one of only four players left from that squad.

    Although he wasn't a starter that season, Little had a breakout year with 14 sacks, a total that remains his career high. He had another sack in that Super Bowl. Orlando Pace started at left tackle and Torry Holt started at wide receiver in the game, played at the Superdome in New Orleans. The team's obscure No. 3 quarterback that day was a fellow named Marc Bulger.

    Seven years later, it's still hard for those Super Bowl vets to get away from the game.

    "Funny, Leonard was just talking about it today during stretch," Pace said Thursday.

    "I think about it occasionally, when I'm just sitting around or going through some old tapes or something," Holt said. "I just think about how it would've been for the players and the organization if we would have won that Super Bowl.

    "I think about the one we won that's always great."

    Holt, Little and Pace were members of the Super Bowl XXXIV squad two years earlier that defeated Tennessee for the Lombardi Trophy. (Bulger was still in college for that one, at West Virginia.)

    "But that one you lost is just always there," Holt continued. "You can't get rid of it. I think about it quite a bit."

    That Patriots game changed careers, reputations and maybe even dynasties.

    "For us to win two out of three Super Bowls, I guess we could've started our dynasty," Little said. "But it didn't happen."

    "Who knows?" Bulger said. "If we get that second one, I may not be playing right now. There might have been three or four (titles), because when you lose a Super Bowl for whatever reason, it's another issue. Kind of the next year, it demoralizes you a little bit."

    It demoralized coach Mike Martz and the Rams' front office. The team stumbled through a 7-9 season in 2002. The relationship between Martz and Jay Zygmunt, the Rams' president of football operations, never was the same, ending in a messy divorce and Martz's ouster after the 2005 season. And by early in the 2003 season, two-time NFL most valuable player Kurt Warner had been replaced by Bulger as the Rams' starting quarterback.

    While the Rams were gradually unraveling, the Patriots became the team of the decade, appearing in four Super Bowls and winning three, from the 2001 campaign through last season, when the Spygate allegations surfaced.

    The Patriots and coach Bill Belichick were punished for illegally taping opponents' signals. But nothing ever came of the more shocking allegation that New England taped the Rams' walk-through the day before Super Bowl XXXVI.

    Although they'll never say so publicly, there are Rams employees past and present who believe the Patriots taped that walk-through. Some wonder whether the Patriots taped the Rams' defensive signals when the teams met in the 2001 regular season in Foxborough. (The Rams won that contest 24-17.)

    So did the Patriots cheat their way to the Super Bowl XXXVI title?

    "I'm not going to answer that," Pace said, chuckling Thursday.

    But he then pointed out that no matter what, the Rams had plenty of chances to win the game, and didn't.

    "I didn't think they cheated," Holt said. "I think they came out and they executed their game plan and they beat us. Even when that (Spygate) stuff came out I didn't make too big of a deal out of it. I just took it as they were the better team on that particular day."

    As Bulger watched the game from the sideline, he noticed how much Patriots defenders were clutching and grabbing Rams receivers.

    "They were real physical with our receivers a lot of holding and grabbing," Bulger said. "They were kind of the first team that said, 'Hey, we're going to push the limits a little bit with the refs.' That's not an excuse. It was a smart game plan and it worked."

    A year later, illegal contact by defensive players became a point of emphasis for NFL officiating crews too late, obviously, to help the Rams.

    "We did beat them earlier that season, and I guess they adjusted their game plan accordingly," Little said. "They did a great job. I take my hat off to them."


  2. #2
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    Re: Jim Thomas: Super Bowl loss still stings

    We'll make it up sunday when we beat them deep into the ground.


    GO RAMS

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    Re: Jim Thomas: Super Bowl loss still stings

    One of the most depressing games in my life time!!!!

    I will never get over it either.

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    Re: Jim Thomas: Super Bowl loss still stings

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatestShow99 View Post
    "Never will," Little said. "Because I felt that the best team didn't win that day. We didn't win; they won the game. It goes to show that anything can happen on any given day."
    I never quite get myself to watch that entire game either. Once the game gets tied, I turn it off. I guess it hurts because we thought the best team was going to win too! We had already beat them at home, convincingly.

    I agree any given Sunday, and this Sunday won't payback, but a win will certainly be sweet!
    LA RAMMER

    It's Jim not Chris
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Jim Thomas: Super Bowl loss still stings

    Because of the 911 attacks, the SB that year was pushed back a week & took place on February 3rd.

    Feb 3rd is my birthday.

    Nuff said.

  6. #6
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    Re: Jim Thomas: Super Bowl loss still stings

    demoralized my freakin childhood watching that game, I hope we pound the Patriots in to the ground and I hope they never get up again.

  7. #7
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    Re: Jim Thomas: Super Bowl loss still stings

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    One of the most depressing games in my life time!!!!

    I will never get over it either.
    by far the MOST depressing one I have seen in my life and I to will never quite get over it,in fact it bothers me talking about it now.

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