New England's run through the 2001 football season finished with the team winning the biggest award in the game, but the Patriots may not be done picking up honors for their Super Bowl championship.
Nominees for the 10th Annual ESPY Awards have been released, and the Patriots are represented in six of the more than 35 featured categories. The ESPY Awards – which will be hosted by actor Samuel L. Jackson – will air on ESPN live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady is nominated in two categories, Best Breakthrough Athlete and Best NFL Player. In the Breakthrough competition, Brady is up against Olympic gold-medal winning figure skater Sarah Hughes, Seattle Mariners outfielder and American League MVP Ichiro Suzuki and NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year and Busch Series Championship winner Kevin Harvick, who became the first man in NASCAR history to run full-time on both the Busch and Winston Cup series.
In the Best NFL Player category, Brady is included with St. Louis tandem Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner; Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre; Kansas City running back Priest Holmes; Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis; New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Head Coach Bill Belichick, who turned the Patriots around from a 5-11 campaign in his first year at the helm to a Super Bowl title, is a nominee in the Best Coach category. His competition includes University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma; Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly; Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson and University of Miami football coach Larry Coker.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri gets into the act in the Best Sports moment category for his game-winning field goal on the final play of Super Bowl XXXVI. He is up against Barry Bonds breaking Mark McGwire's HR record; Luis Gonzalez getting the base hit to win the 2001 World Series; Hughes winning the gold in Olympic figure skating; and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. winning the Pepsi 400 - his first race at Daytona since his father's death.
New England as a whole is up for the Best Team honor, along with the World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks, NHL runner-up Carolina Hurricanes; NHL champion Detroit Red Wings; NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers and runner-up New Jersey Nets; the University of Connecticut women's basketball team; and the University of Miami football team. Both college teams finished their respective seasons as undefeated champions.
The final category involving the Patriots is Best Game. New England versus St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI will do battle with Game Seven of the World Series between the Diamondbacks and New York Yankees and the Women's Long Program in Olympic Figure Skating.
Winners will be chosen by the ESPY Awards Academy, which includes Hall of Fame athletes and coaches as well as nationally recognized print and broadcast sports journalists representing every major outlet.
Scheduled to join this year's show as presenters are actor/comedian Adam Sandler, actor Matthew Perry, actor/comedian David Spade, actor Kiefer Sutherland and actress Vivica A. Fox. In addition, actor Tom Hanks will participate in the ESPY Awards telecast by voicing over the Arthur Ashe Courage Award presentation. This award, which has provided some of the most memorable and poignant moments in ESPY Awards history, is given annually to individuals whose contributions transcend sports.
Confirmed performers for the event include Santana, Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins and the Original P-Funk have been confirmed to perform. Additional presenters and celebrity attendees will be announced in the coming weeks.