The Patriots’ final drive to win Super Bowl XXXVI squares off against Tim Thomas’ stick save on Steve Downie in the third round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
1. Patriots’ final drive to win Super Bowl XXXVIThe Patriots’ and Boston’s rise to power in the sports world can be traced back to Super Bowl XXXVI, when the underdog Patriots faced the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. The importance of the game never fazed the Patriots, not even when the game was tied 17-17 late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots got the ball for their last drive, and all they needed was to get within kicker Adam Vinatieri’s range. To accomplish the task, Tom Brady slung the ball to his receiving corps in a series of short passes that ate up yardage and took just the right amount of time off the clock. Finally, with seven seconds left, Brady spiked the ball and Vinatieri came out to attempt one of the biggest kicks of his career. His 48-yard field goal was spot-on, bringing home New England’s first Super Bowl and Boston’s first championship since 1986.
12. ‘The Save’Tim Thomas transformed into a Boston legend during the 2011 NHL playoffs by leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years. Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP and made countless tremendous saves, but few were more incredible -– or more important — than the one on Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. With Boston holding a 2-1 lead early in the third period and the series tied 2-2, Downie controlled a rebound off the end boards and shot on a wide-open net. Thomas would not be beaten, however, as he dove to his right across the crease, just barely tipping away the puck with the end of his stick. “The Save” enabled the B’s to hold on to win Game 5 and eventually win the series in seven games.
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