Back for seconds
Patriots' fans celebrate another dramatic Super Bowl win
Posted: Sunday February 1, 2004 11:39PM; Updated: Sunday February 1, 2004 11:39PM
BOSTON (AP) -- New England Patriots fans have seen this ending before. And they still love it.
When Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal split the uprights with nine seconds left in the Super Bowl, fans across New England celebrated -- just as they had in 2001 when the Patriots last won the Super Bowl on the power of his right foot.
"Could you ask for a better script? It's a Hollywood ending -- again," said Jim Jackson, 44, of Boston.
The Patriots beat the Caroline Panthers 32-29, and quarterback Tom Brady immediately prepared New England fans for an even bigger celebration when the team returns home for a parade on Tuesday.
"Be careful on the T -- don't tear that thing down!" Brady said during post-game ceremonies on the field.
Across New England fans held their breath after Vinatieri uncharacteristically flubbed two previous field goals. Still, they remained faithful to a man who has come through in the clutch in past close situations.
At the Ivy Tavern in Providence, R.I., Terrie McAloon of New Shoreham, leaped out of the her chair and yelled "Vinatieri is the man!"
"It's unbelievable," added her boyfriend, Rob Weintraub. "That's one lucky win."
Carolina, which trailed most of the game, came back twice in the fourth quarter, tying the game with less than two minutes remaining. The comeback had Patriots fans thinking about another local team -- the Boston Red Sox -- that wasn't so lucky at the end of close, crucial games.
Would the Patriots be just as doomed to collapse?
"It looks like the curse is only on the Red Sox," Jackson said.
In Boston, more than 200 people gathered at The Rack, where the billiards club was decorated in red, white and blue for the Patriots.
"I was getting a little nervous but I knew if the Patriots got in field goal range Vinatieri wouldn't miss a third one. That guy is money in the clutch," said David Preston of Boston.
Another patron, Augustine Russo of Bedford, refused to speak after becoming teary-eyed and emotional after the intense game.
But Beth Doherty of Boston wasn't worried "because that's what the Patriots do. This is the way they've won all season and that's when they play their best."
"We're not used to seeing the Patriots put it away early," she said.