One year ago this week, the Philadelphia Eagles came to Foxborough to play in the first football game at Gillette Stadium. On Friday night, the Patriots will return the favor to their brethren in the City of Brotherly Love, traveling to Philadelphia to take part in the inaugural game at the Eagles' brand new Lincoln Financial Field.
The Patriots carry an unblemished 2-0 preseason record into Friday's game and look to continue their success this week against Philadelphia, which also sports a perfect 2-0 exhibition mark. The Patriots have won five straight preseason contests, beginning with a 16-15 win over the Eagles at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 17, 2002.
New England's final exhibition tune-up comes just five days after their clash with the Eagles. The Patriots will return home to host Chicago on Wednesday, Aug. 27, in their final preseason game before opening the season on Sept. 7 in Buffalo.
TELEVISON: This week's game is the second of three preseason telecasts broadcast locally by WCVB-TV, Channel 5 in Boston, the flagship station on the Patriots preseason television network. Veteran CBS broadcaster Don Criqui provides play-by-play and is joined by three-time NFL Pro Bowler and CBS analyst Randy Cross. WCVB principal sports anchor Mike Lynch offers on-field reports from the sideline.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 27th season as the voice of the Patriots, and calls the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. In 2003, Santos and Cappelletti celebrate their 20th season as a broadcast tandem.
PATRIOTS IN THE PRESEASON
Including the 20-13 win over the Redskins last week, the Patriots are 25-15 (.625) in the preseason since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. New England has had a winning record in seven of its last nine preseasons. A winning record in the preseason has historically translated into regular-season success for New England. The Patriots have qualified for the playoffs six of the last eight times they recorded a winning record in the preseason. Prior to 1994, the Patriots were 60-96-1 (.385) in the preseason.
BILL BELICHICK IN THE PRESEASON
Bill Belichick has compiled an overall record of 22-13 (.629) in the preseason, including an 11-4 (.733) mark as Patriots head coach. With two wins to start off the 2003 preseason, Belichick is assured of another preseason with a record of .500 or above. Including this preseason, Belichick's teams have been .500 or above in all nine of his preseasons as a head coach in the NFL.
TRAINING CAMP AT GILLETTE STADIUM
In 2003, the Patriots held training camp at their own state-of-the-art, year-round facility for the first time. And by all accounts, it was a resounding success. Patriots fans of all ages came on a daily basis to the newly renovated practice fields behind Gillette Stadium in numbers never before seen in franchise history. Patriots players and coaches were able to utilize one of the country's finest football facilities to prepare for the upcoming season and were able to make a seamless transition into their regular-season routines. The opportunity for record numbers of fans to see their favorite stars in action up close combined with the improved work environment for the team to make the Patriots' 2003 training camp a hit for everyone.
This week's game will be the 16th preseason meeting between the Patriots and the Eagles, and the 24th meeting overall between the two clubs. The Patriots have downed the Eagles in each of their last four preseason matchups, but the Eagles hold an 8-7 lead in the overall preseason series. New England has won two of its last three preseason games in Philadelphia, dating back to 1988. The two teams squared off last preseason in the first football game at Gillette Stadium, which the Patriots won, 16-15. The Patriots and Eagles will play each other again in Week Two of the regular season, marking just the second time in 13 years that the teams have squared off in the regular season. The Week Two tilt will come just 22 days after this week's preseason clash.
|**Preseason - Philadelphia 8, New England 7**|
|09/02/68||Eagles 22, Patriots 20||-2||at Boston|
|08/12/72||Eagles 29, Patriots 20||-9||at Philadelphia|
|09/08/74||Patriots 27, Eagles 17||10||Foxboro|
|08/22/75||Eagles 24, Patriots 10||-14||at Philadelphia|
|09/05/76||Patriots 27, Eagles 7||20||Foxboro|
|08/22/77||Eagles 21, Patriots 10||-11||at Philadelphia|
|08/24/80||Eagles 23, Patriots 17||-6||Foxboro|
|08/20/82||Eagles 14, Patriots 7||-7||at Philadelphia|
|08/23/87||Eagles 19, Patriots 13 (OT)||-6||Foxboro|
|08/20/88||Patriots 24, Eagles 21||3||at Philadelphia|
|08/17/95||Eagles 31, Patriots 7||-24||at Philadelphia|
|08/18/96||Patriots 37, Eagles 10||27||Foxboro|
|08/21/97||Patriots 28, Eagles 14||14||at Philadelphia|
|08/29/98||Patriots 24, Eagles 7||17||Foxboro|
|08/17/02||Patriots 16, Eagles 15||1||Gillette Stadium|
|**Regular Season - Philadelphia 6, New England 2**|
|11/4/73||Eagles 24, Patriots 23||-1||at Philadelphia|
|11/27/77||Patriots 14, Eagles 6||8||Foxboro|
|10/8/78||Patriots 24, Eagles 14||10||Foxboro|
|9/13/81||Eagles 13, Patriots 3||-10||at Philadelphia|
|12/9/84||Eagles 27, Patriots 17||-10||at Philadelphia|
|11/29/87||Eagles 34, Patriots 31 (OT)||-3||Foxboro|
|11/4/90||Eagles 48, Patriots 20||-28||at Philadelphia|
|12/19/99||Eagles 24, Patriots 9||-15||at Philadelphia|
The Last Meeting — August 17, 2002
The Patriots hosted the Eagles in the first preseason game at Gillette Stadium and inaugurated their new home with a 16-15 win. The game was tight at the end, as the Patriots defense thwarted a two-point conversion attempt by Philadelphia with less than a minute left in the game to preserve the victory.
Adam Vinatieri got the Patriots on the board with a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter to record the first preseason points in Gillette Stadium history. Tom Brady completed 57.9 percent of his passes (11-19), but the Patriots couldn't muster any more first-half points, as the Eagles went into the break with a 6-3 lead courtesy of a pair of field goals by David Akers, including a 38-yarder with 10 seconds left before halftime.
On their first offensive possession of the second half, the Patriots scored the game's first touchdown on a one-yard plunge by Kevin Faulk, giving the Patriots a 10-6 lead. Faulk gained 48 yards on the touchdown drive (six rushes and a reception). The Eagles countered with another Akers field goal to make the score 10-9 going into the final stanza. After two more Vinatieri field goals made the score 16-9, the Eagles were finally able to crack the Patriots defense, as Philly's A.J. Feeley found former Patriot Sean Morey for an eight-yard touchdown to bring the Eagles within a point, 16-15. The Patriots foiled Feeley's two-point conversion attempt, then killed Philadelphia's final drive after the Eagles recovered an onside kick to seal the tight win.