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Celebrating 2001: A look back through pop culture

It's been 15 years since the Patriots fairytale 2001 Super Bowl Championship season. Lifestyle is taking a walk down memory lane and looking back at some of the iconic movies, shows and pop culture moments from that year.


It's been 15 years since the Patriots defied the odds, beat the (then St. Louis) Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI and became world champions for the first time in franchise history. A lot has happened since that first Super Bowl victory, including three more banners adorning Gillette Stadium, but Lifestyle wanted to take you back in time to reflect on what was hot in popular culture during the 2001-02 season.

Ready for some serious nostalgia? Good! 

The Emmy's took place on Nov. 14, 2001, and a string of classics walked away winners. "The West Wing" was at the start of its third season and won the award for Outstanding Drama. The Sopranos reigned supreme as both Tony and Carmella Soprano (played by James Gandolfini and Edie Falco) both walked away winners for Lead Actor and Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and we were still six years away from debating whether we loved or hated the "Don't Stop Believin'" diner moment in the finale. 

"Will and Grace," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Sex and the City" were also among the other top winners in television that year. 

Photo by Max Nash/AP

Before 2001, the world had yet to be introduced to Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley on screen. It wasn't until November that J.K. Rowling's beloved world came to life as a movie. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was the top grossing movie in 2001, a sign of things to come for the franchise that would dominate the box office for more than a decade. Yet, no one can forget the first time they saw the Sorting Hat, heard the words "wingardium leviosa" and realized their letter from Hogwarts was not lost in the mail. 

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were just 11 years old when the movie was filmed.

"Harry Potter" wasn't the only fantasy book turned movie that year. "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring," the first in the trilogy, premiered the same year. The world was also introduced to a grumpy green ogre, an annoyingly loveable donkey and the phrase, "Not the gumdrop buttons!" "Shrek" became an instant hit among kids (OK, and adults) since it's premiere.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/AP

If you cruising around listening to the radio, chances are you were bopping along to hits like "Survivor" by Destiny's Child, "Ms. Jackson" by Outkast, "The Way You Love Me" by Faith Hill and "All or Nothing" by O-Town. Alicia Keys, now a globally known superstar, was honored as the "Best New Artist" at the 2002 Grammy's after "Fallin'" topped the charts the previous year.

"Now That's What I Call Music's" compilation of the year's top jams was probably also in your CD player rotation. Now 6, 7 and 8 were released that year in the United States. For reference, Now 60 was released this November.

Photo by Julie Jacobson/AP

This was also the year that the music industry would forever change. iTunes was released in January, and the original iPod came out months later. For the younger folks, the ability to take your music on the go, create playlists and download your favorite songs may be the way it's always been. But before the iPod was burning a mix tape on a CD or waiting for the local station to play the song you couldn't get out of your head so you could record it on a cassette tape. 

The iPod changed that and made it more convenient. In the words of Ron Swanson, "The songs just play one after another! This is an excellent rectangle!"

Photo by Matt York/AP

We all know the Patriots ended the 2001-02 season by lifting up the coveted Lombardi trophy, and the season the kicked off a dynasty in New England was also the final year of the Lakers three-year championship reign. The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championships in four games over the New Jersey Nets for their third straight title. It would be a decade before the Nets moved to Brooklyn.

In the NHL, the Detroit Redwings won their 10th Stanley Cup, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Redwings were celebrating one of their many title wins, the Arizona Diamondbacks clinched their first and only World Series victory in a gripping seven-game-series against the Yankees. Pitchers Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were co-MVPs of the series. 

It may feel like decades ago. It may feel like yesterday, but this Sunday the Patriots will celebrate 15 years since that improbably world championship. Here's to hoping you don't fall too deep into the nostalgia rabbit hole until then. 


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