PATRIOTS-PANTHERS QUICK HITS
This week's game marks the second time in franchise history the Patriots have participated in a preseason Super Bowl rematch. In 1997, the Patriots opened the preseason against the Green Bay Packers, the same team they had played in Super Bowl XXXI following the 1996 season.
Of the 44 starters in Super Bowl XXXVIII, 34 players are still with the Patriots or Panthers. New England returns 19 of 22 starters, while Carolina brings back 15 of their 22 starters.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is a combined 5-0 against the Panthers in preseason, regular-season and postseason games. Since becoming head coach of the Patriots in 2000, he has led his team to three preseason wins, one regular-season win and one postseason win over Carolina.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, while head coach at Cleveland, hired Scott O'Brien as his special teams coach. O'Brien is now the assistant head coach/special teams coach for Carolina.
Patriots special teams coach Brad Seely was the Panthers special teams coach for four seasons, from 1995-98.
Patriots cornerback Tyrone Poole played for the Panthers for the first three years of that franchise's existence, from 1995-97. Over that span, he started 44 of 47 games played. He started at cornerback for Carolina in the first game in franchise history, at Atlanta on Sept. 5, 1995.
New England wide receiver Troy Brown was born in Barnwell, South Carolina and attended Blackville-Hilda High in Blackville, South Carolina where he lettered in football and track.
Patriots running back Michael Cloud spent the first four years of his life in Charleston, South Carolina before his family moved to Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
New England tight end Daniel Graham's twin brother Josh Graham played football his freshman year at the University of North Carolina.
New England linebacker Ted Johnson notched his first NFL pass defense on Oct. 29, 1995 when he knocked down a pass from then-Carolina quarterback Kerry Collins. Johnson amassed 10 tackles in the game.
Patriots cornerback Ty Law's interception and subsequent 46-yard return for a touchdown against Carolina on Jan. 6, 2002 earned him his second pick for a score in the season and made him one of only seven Patriots in team history to accomplish the feat twice in one season.
In the Patriots' win over Carolina on Jan. 6, 2002, New England linebacker Willie McGinest recorded four tackles, including two sacks. McGinest's second sack moved him into fifth place on the Patriots all-time list (51.5 career) and earned him his third multi-sack game of the season.
McGinest recorded a career-high 11 tackles against Carolina on 10/29/95.
Panthers offensive coordinator Dan Henning was a head coach at Boston College (1994-96).
Panthers tight ends coach Dave Magazu was a defensive tackle at Springfield College, before becoming a collegiate coach. For four seasons, Magazu coached at Boston College (1999-2002).
Panthers offensive line coach Mike Maser was a coach at Maine from 1979-80 and at Boston College from 1981-93.
Panthers strength and conditioning coach Jerry Simmons held a similar position for the Patriots from 1988-90.
Panthers secondary coach Rod Perry tutored the defensive backs for the San Diego Chargers from 1997-2001, where he worked closely with Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, who earned Pro Bowl berths with the Chargers in 1998 and 2001.
Panthers guard Doug Brzezinski played his collegiate ball at Boston College, where he served as a co-captain his senior year.
Panthers linebacker Vinny Ciurciu played at Boston College, where he was a teammate of Dan Koppen in 2001 and 2002.
Panthers rookie running back Derrick Knight attended Boston College from 2000-03 and set the school's all-time rushing record with 3,725 yards. Knight broke the record set by Patriots running back Michael Cloud, who gained 3,597 yards from 1995-98.
A winning record in the preseason has historically been a harbinger of success for New England. The Patriots have qualified for the playoffs seven of the last nine times they recorded a winning preseason record. The last seven times the Patriots have made the playoffs, they have also had a winning preseason record.
The Patriots are 28-16 (.636) in the preseason since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. New England has had a winning record in seven of its last eight preseasons. Prior to 1994, the Patriots were 60-96-1 (.385) in the preseason. New England enters this week's game with an all-time preseason mark of 88-112-1.
PRESEASON SUCCESS STREAK
New England has won eight of its last nine preseason games and has been victorious in 12 of its last 15 preseason contests. The Patriots recently tied a franchise record with an eight-game preseason winning streak lasting from Aug. 17, 2002 to Aug. 13, 2004. Since Bill Belichick became the head coach, the Patriots hold an overall mark of 14-5 (.737) in the preseason. The Patriots have been especially tough at home in the preseason, compiling a 17-4 (.810) home preseason record since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. Since Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, New England holds an 8-1 (.889) preseason mark at home.
BILL BELICHICK IN THE PRESEASON
Bill Belichick has compiled an overall record of 25-14 (.641) in the preseason, including a 14-5 (.737) mark as Patriots head coach. Belichick's teams have been .500 or above in all nine of his previous preseasons as a head coach in the NFL.