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20 Greatest moments in Patriots Super Bowl history

The Patriots aren't playing in Super Bowl 54, but there have been plenty of great memories from the big game spanning four decades.


The Patriots have played in a league-record 11 Super Bowls, winning six of them and losing five, including appearances in four of the last five. Even in defeat they were all thrilling rides that captured the attention of the entire New England region.

Now, with the Patriots on the outside looking in for the first time in four years, we take a look back at the 20 greatest moments from all 11 of the team's Super Bowls and pick the 20 greatest moments from those games


20. Tony Franklin gives the Pats a 3-0 lead - Super Bowl 20

There wasn't much to cheer about when the Patriots were blown out 46-10 in Super Bowl 20, but for an oh-so-brief moment the upstart Pats held a 3-0 lead. After a forced Bears fumble on their opening possession was recovered by New England on the Chicago 19, Tony Eason just missed Stanley Morgan for a touchdown. The Pats would settle for the 36-yard field goal...and then watch the Bears rattle off 44-straight points. It was fun while the three-point lead lasted.

19. Curtis Martin's 18-yard touchdown run - Super Bowl 31

The Pats second Super Bowl appearance wasn't the blowout like their first, with New England hanging around on Green Bay into the second half. Curtis Martin's 18-yard touchdown scamper near the end of the third quarter got the Pats within a score at 27-20 and it reignited hopes for a victory. All that changed on the ensuing kickoff as Desmond Howard took the return 99 yards for a touchdown that would be the final score of the game.

18. Aaron Hernandez 12-yard touchdown catch extends Pats lead - Super Bowl 46

The Patriots got off to a slow start in Super Bowl 46 but found their stride in the middle periods, scoring the go-ahead touchdown just before halftime and then taking the opening kickoff of the second half 79 yards on eight plays, capping it off with a touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez that extended the lead to 17-9. An eight-point lead on the Giants felt like it might be enough. Sadly, it wasn't.

17. Randy Moss puts the Patriots ahead 14-10 with 2:42 left - Super Bowl 42

The Patriots offense struggled for most of Super Bowl 42 as they were under siege by the Giants defensive front. But late in the fourth quarter they finally strung their best drive of the game together, going 12 plays, 80 yards, with Brady finding Randy Moss for the go-ahead touchdown with just 2:42 left in the game. The perfect season was right there for the taking and it seemed like it was the Pats destiny as Moss celebrated. We all know what happened next.

16. Rob Gronkowski's 4th quarter TD gives Patriots 33-32 lead - Super Bowl 52

The Patriots were trailing for most of Super Bowl 52 but clawed their way back into things with three-straight touchdown-scoring drives after halftime. It culminated with Brady's four-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski that gave the Pats their first lead of the game, 33-32 with 9:22 left. It would be their only lead of the game, as they couldn't get a fourth-down stop on the next drive and Philly would retake the lead and not relinquish it.

15. Rodney Harrison game-sealing interception - Super Bowl 39

Patriots fans weren't yet terrified to hold a late Super Bowl lead when Rodney Harrison grabbed an overthrow by Donovan McNabb to close out the Pats' third title in four seasons. It was just nice not having it all come down to an Adam Vinatieri kick for the third-straight time and made for an iconic moment as New England cemented their place as the newest NFL dynasty.

14. Julian Edelman's 3rd-and-14 conversion - Super Bowl 49

Down by 10 in the fourth quarter, the Patriots were running out of time as they faced a third-and-14 from their own 28 with just under 11 minutes in the game left. A punt and Seattle score would've put the game out of reach. Instead, Julian Edelman came through with one of the toughest catches in Super Bowl history, absorbing a huge hit from the hardest hitting safety in the league and still holding on to the ball. The Pats would score six plays later and close within three points.

13. Brady-to-Branch for 17 yards to Carolina 23 with 9 seconds left - Super Bowl 38

After being a defensive struggle early on, Super Bowl 38 turned into a back-and-forth shootout and one of the most unexpectedly exciting games in Super Bowl history. Brady and the offense got the ball back with the game tied and only 1:08 remaining. Troy Brown would pick up 26 yards on two catches on the ensuing drive and it was Deion Branch's tough 17-yard catch on third down that took the Patriots from the Carolina 40-yard-line to their 23-yard-line, setting up a 41-yard championship-winning field goal kick for Adam Vinatieri.

12. Brady-to-Brown for 23 yards to Rams 36 - Super Bowl 36

With John Madden and everyone else expecting the Patriots to play it safe in a tie game with just 1:21 left in the game, the Patriots went out and, in Drew Bledsoe's words, slung it. J.R. Redmond had 24 yards on three different catches, but it was Troy Brown's critical 23-yard catch-and-run, including getting out of bounds, that got the Pats into Rams territory and set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal.

11. Stephon Gilmore interception - Super Bowl 53

The Patriots had just taken a 10-3 lead late in Super Bowl 53 when the Rams put together their best drive of the game, getting all the way down to New England's 27-yard-line. They were looking to tie the game as Jared Goff took a shot downfield while under pressure. The ball was underthrown and Stephon Gilmore made a perfect read, intercepting the ball and setting up the final Patriots scoring drive of the game that would put their sixth championship on ice.

10. Ty Law 47-yard Pick Six - Super Bowl 36

The Patriots had held the vaunted Greatest Show on Turf to just three points through the first quarter-plus of Super Bowl 36 but had to find a way to score and got a huge boost from Ty Law's signature 47-yard pick-six that gave the Pats a 7-3 lead. The frustration continued to mount for the Rams until they made a run in the fourth quarter. It's no surprise this play highlighted Law's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

9. Dont'a Hightower sack and forced fumble on Matt Ryan - Super Bowl 51

The Patriots had almost gotten run off the field through three quarters of Super Bowl 51. Down 28-12 with 8:31 left in the game, Dont'a Hightower broke free off the edge, forcing a Matt Ryan fumble that was recovered by Alan Branch at the Falcons' 25-yard-line. The Patriots would score five plays later and get the two-point conversion to make it a one-score game with just under six minutes left in the game. It was a critical turning point in the game.

8. Julian Edelman's go-ahead touchdown - Super Bowl 49

Down by three points in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady and the offense went on a relentless drive with just one play of 11 that failed to pick up yardage. It was all capped off with Brady finding Edelman on his patented "whip" route for the go-ahead score.

7. Adam Vinatieri kicks the game winner: Part II - Super Bowl 38

The second Super-Bowl-winning kick of Vinatieri's career wasn't in a blizzard and was just 41 yards long but given the situation it was one of the greatest kicks in Patriots history, giving the team their second title in three seasons and putting away a feisty Panthers squad.

6. James White's overtime touchdown - Super Bowl 51

It felt inevitable when the Patriots won the coin toss in overtime of Super Bowl 51 that they'd march right down the field like they had for the entirety of the fourth quarter, but it was still the ultimate thrill when James White crossed the goal line on a toss right. White, a receiving back not known for tough, goal-line carries, showed unexpected power and wiggle to get in for the score, capping off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

5. Dont'a Hightower goal-line tackle of Marshawn Lynch - Super Bowl 49

True Patriots fans remember this play just as much as the one that would come after it, as the Seahawks tried to run Marshawn Lynch into the end zone from the five-yard-line. Lynch got four yards but couldn't get the last one due to an inhuman play by Hightower, who defeated a blocker and tackled the angriest runner in the league with only one arm.

4. Rob Gronkowski's 29-yard catch sets up the only touchdown - Super Bowl 53

Super Bowl 53 was the ultimate defensive struggle, with the score tied at three in the fourth quarter, you knew one play would change the game. That play came on a perfect seam pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski who made the 29-yard catch with defenders draped all over him. The Patriots would score the only touchdown of the game on the next play. It was a fitting final catch for Gronk and the signature play to cap off his career.

3. Julian Edelman's impossible catch - Super Bowl 51

After a start where it felt like everything was going wrong, the Patriots staged a furious comeback and Julian Edelman's catch, mere millimeters from the ground, with just over two minutes in the game remaining, felt like the tide had finally turned back into New England's favor. Still down by eight points, it was a impossible play in a critical moment that will be shown on NFL highlights forever.

2. Malcolm Butler's Interception - Super Bowl 49

Ten years of falling short, twice on miracle plays, had built to a fever pitch after the Seahawks got an impossible catch from Jermaine Kearse that set the Seahawks up on the Patriots five-yard-line in Super Bowl 49. It seemed like things were destined to go completely sideways once again until Malcolm Butler stepped in front of a Russel Wilson pass and made an interception that would finally give New England their elusive fourth title. The drama and pressure of the moment could not have been higher and the result was one of the most shocking moments in Super Bowl history.

1. Adam Vinatieri's kick gives the Patriots their first championship - Super Bowl 36

This wasn't a particularly difficult 48-yard field goal when compared to the kicks Vinatieri had made in the snow just a couple weeks earlier, but it was a kick that changed the course of the New England Patriots. There were other more improbable and impossible plays by Patriots in the Super Bowl, but this one meant everything and there's no replacing the first time.

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