Dirk Johnson

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Posted by bender 04/10/2009 @ 21:09

Tags : dirk johnson, football players, football, sports

News headlines
Steelers Sign 5 Free Agents Prior To Minicamp - WPXI.com
The team added cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, punter Dirk Johnson, wide receivers Shaun McDonald and Jayson Foster, and kicker Piotr Czech. Ratliff (5-11, 188) was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round (49th overall) of the 2004...
Judge: Springfield teen accused in killing can stand trial - News-Leader.com
By Dirk VanderHart • dvanderhart@news-leader.com • May 19, 2009 A Springfield teen accused of shooting and killing an acquaintance in broad daylight last month can stand trial for the crime, a Greene County judge ruled this afternoon....
Dirk A. OLivier Stephen Johnson Warren Manuel Dorothy Walls - Opelousas Daily World
CHURCH POINT - Funeral services for Dirk A. Olivier, 45, will be held at 2 pm Monday, May 18 at Guidry Funeral Home in Church Point. Mr. Olivier died on Thursday, May 14. Guidry Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements....
When the Lotto Gives You Lemons . . . - Washington Post
Start with those very same Los Angeles Clippers, the ones who can't get anything right, the ones who in 1998 upon winning the lottery took Michael Olowokandi over Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison. Let's just say the Clippers...
Obama, and Protests, at Notre Dame - New York Times
Susan Saulny and Dirk Johnson contributed reporting from South Bend, and Liz Robbins from New York. Father Ted | 4:00 pm Near the end of his speech, President Obama spoke about the Civil Rights Commission, whose resolutions were the foundation of the...
John Deeres Richard Johnson receives top engineers award - Farming UK
... was awarded the Johnson New Holland Trophy for his college project relating to reducing the in-field turning circle of a JCB tractor, whilst Professor Dick Godwin and Dirk Ansorge of Claas were Douglas Bomford Paper Award winners for their research...
For Dirk, another shot comes up short - Dallas Morning News
The defensive identity forged under former coach Avery Johnson has given way to breakdowns. Denver shot 58.5 percent in the clinching Game 5 and 50.6 percent in the series, attacking the rim often. "We used to be a pretty decent defensive team with...
Roy S. Johnson Blog - Yahoo! Sports
It's not a coincidence that the Nuggets lost, too, 119-117, to the Dallas Mavericks; or that Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 44. Had Birdman not been clipped back in the locker room, you've gotta think Dirk's night would not have been so easy....
2009 NFL Free Agent Signings List - The Associated Press
Agreed to terms with Craig Hentrich, P. WASHINGTON REDSKINS_Signed Derrick Dockery, G; Dominique Dorsey, KR; Albert Haynesworth, DT; Dirk Johnson, P; Dave Rayner, K; and Renaldo Wynn, DE. Re-signed Ethan Albright, LS; Phillip Daniels, DE; Reed Doughty,...
Poole: LeBron may prove exception to NBA championship rule - Contra Costa Times
We've seen a 6-foot-9 guard run the point with flair (Magic), seen a 6-6 swingman routinely dominate both ends (Jordan), seen a 7-foot forward take defenders off the dribble (Dirk Nowitzki) and seen a 6-foot guard take over games (Allen Iverson)....

Dirk Johnson

Dirk Johnson (born June 1, 1975 in Hoxie, Kansas) is an American football punter for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 1998. He played college football at Northern Colorado.

Johnson has also been a member of the New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals.

He played college football as a punter and defensive back at the University of Northern Colorado. While there he was a three-time All American selection (as a punter in 1995, as a defensive back and punter in 1996 and as a defensive back in 1997). He helped lead the UNC Bears to two NCAA Division II national championships ('96 and '97). Johnson finished his college career ranked 2nd on the school's all-time list with a 40.8-yard career punting average. He was first-team All-North Central Conference at safety in 1997 and at punter in 1995 and 1996.

He was signed as a rookie free agent by the Seattle Seahawks in 1998.

In 2002 he played one game with the New Orleans Saints. In the spring of that same year he played one season with the NFL Europe team, the Rhein Fire and appeared in the World Bowl.

In 2003, Johnson was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent. During his four years with the Eagles he had an average of 41.7 yards per kick and played in the 2004 Super Bowl. He was assigned the role of placeholder after the drop of Koy Detmer and addition of Jeff Garcia. Johnson was released for the 2007 season on the final day of cuts, with Australian Saverio Rocca favoured as the Eagles Punter.

The Chicago Bears signed Johnson on September 16, 2007 to temporarily replace veteran punter Brad Maynard, who sustained a minor injury in the previous week. Ironically, after 4 punts with a 49.8 yard average and 60 yard long punt, Johnson also sustained an injury, and was replaced by place kicker Robbie Gould.

On September 24, 2007 the Bears released him.

Johnson was signed by the Arizona Cardinals on March 5, 2008. He appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals that season, punting 40 times for a 41.8-yard average. The Cardinals released him on December 1 in favor of Ben Graham, this became the second time Johnson has been cut in favor of an Australian punter.

Johnson was signed by the Washington Redskins on March 5, 2009 to compete with with Zac Atterberry for the team's punting job.

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Super Bowl XXXIX

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (right) lost a friendly football bet to Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. Here Santorum wears a Patriots hat and presents Kennedy and his staff with Philly cheesesteaks.

Super Bowl XXXIX was an American football game played on 6 February 2005, at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion following the 2004 regular season. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots (17-2) defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Philadelphia Eagles (15-4), 24–21, and became the first team since the 1997–98 Denver Broncos to win consecutive Super Bowls.

New England also became the second team after the Dallas Cowboys to win three Super Bowls in four years. This was the Patriots' third straight Super Bowl victory in which they won by a margin of three points. They defeated the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, 20–17, and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, 32–29. Each of these margins was because of an Adam Vinatieri field goal, two of which (against the Rams and the Panthers) happened in the final seconds of the 4th quarter.

The Patriots, playing in their first-ever outdoor Super Bowl (and first east of the Mississippi River), forced four turnovers, while New England wide receiver Deion Branch, who recorded 133 receiving yards and tied the Super Bowl record with 11 catches, was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player. Because he recorded 10 catches during the previous year's Super Bowl, he also set the record for the most combined receptions in 2 consecutive Super Bowls (21). Branch was the third offensive player ever to win Super Bowl MVP honors without scoring a touchdown or throwing a touchdown pass. The other 2 players were Joe Namath in Super Bowl III and Fred Biletnikoff in Super Bowl XI.

New England's major acquisition prior to the season was veteran running back Corey Dillon, who joined the team after playing 7 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. In his first 6 seasons in the league, Dillon averaged over 1,250 rushing yards per year, including setting a single-game rushing record (278 yards, but has since been broken) against the Denver Broncos on October 22, 2000. In 2003, however, injuries, conflicts with the Bengals' management and coaching staff, and other off-field problems limited him to just 541 yards during the season. By the end of the 2003 season, Dillon had lost his starting job to running back Rudi Johnson, and thus demanded to be traded. Although many observers questioned how effective the 30-year-old Dillon would be after recovering from his injuries as well as his ability to function in a team environment, the Patriots decided to sign the running back in exchange for a second-round draft pick.

Dillon became a significant offensive weapon for the 2004 Patriots, recording 1,635 rushing yards (franchise record) and 12 touchdowns, both career highs, and was named to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his career. He also caught 15 passes for 103 yards and another touchdown. His contributions helped lead the team to break the NFL record for the most consecutive regular season victories (18), the record for the most consecutive overall victories (21) and earned the second best regular season record during the year at 14–2. The team's only losses during the year were to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who ended up with the league's best regular season record at 15–1, and a 29–28 loss to the Miami Dolphins on ABC's Monday Night Football.

Another weapon in the Patriots' offensive backfield was running back Kevin Faulk, who rushed for 255 yards, recorded 26 receptions for 248 yards, returned 20 punts for 113 yards, returned 4 kickoffs for 73 yards, and scored 3 total touchdowns. Fullback Patrick Pass also emerged as a big contributor, rushing for 141 yards, catching 28 passes for 215 yards, and gaining another 115 yards on kickoff returns.

Pro Bowl quarterback Tom Brady remained at the helm of the Patriots offense, completing 288 out of 474 (60.8 percent) of his passes for 3,692 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Although wide receiver Deion Branch, New England's major deep threat, missed most of the season because of injuries, he did record 35 receptions for 454 yards and 4 touchdowns. Wide receiver David Givens ended up being the team's leading receiver with 56 catches for 874 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wide receiver David Patten also contributed with 44 receptions for 800 yards and 7 touchdowns, and tight end Daniel Graham had 30 receptions for 364 yards and 7 touchdowns.

With their patchwork secondary, the Patriots ranked just 17th in passing yards allowed (3,400) and 22nd in completions allowed (315). However, they did rank 7th in interceptions (20) and 10th in fewest passing touchdowns allowed (18). Most importantly, New England continued to win despite the injuries. Brown actually turned out to be very effective playing as a defensive back, ranking second on the team with 3 interceptions. Safety Rodney Harrison was also an impact player, leading the team with 138 tackles while also recording 3 sacks and 2 interceptions.

Up front, the Partriots defensive line was anchored by Pro Bowler Richard Seymour, who recorded 5 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. New England also still had their trio of impact veteran linebackers: Pro Bowler Tedy Bruschi (122 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 70 return yards), Willie McGinest (9.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 interception), and Mike Vrabel (71 tackles and 5.5 sacks), along with Ted Johnson. Vrabel also frequently played at the tight end position during offensive plays near the opponent's goal line, recording 2 touchdown receptions.

The Eagles gained the 2004 NFC Super Bowl berth after 3 consecutive defeats in the NFC Championship Game. The Eagles hired Andy Reid as their head coach in 1999 following two straight losing seasons. That same year, they used their first-round pick in the NFL draft (the second overall) to select quarterback Donovan McNabb. Although they finished the 1999 regular season with a 5–11 record, they became a playoff team in 2000, with McNabb throwing for 3,365 yards and 21 touchdowns while also rushing for 629 yards and another 6 touchdowns.

The Eagles achieved the best regular season record in the conference during the combined 2001, 2002, and 2003 seasons with a total of 35 wins out of 48 games, but lost the NFC Championship Game in each of those 3 years. Prior to the 2004 season, the Eagles traded for wide receiver Terrell Owens to be the impact player to help get them to the Super Bowl.

Owens joined the team after 8 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He was considered one of the top receivers in the league, but he was also widely considered a troublemaker because of controversial touchdown celebrations and his tendency to berate his teammates during media interviews. Nevertheless, Owens became the Eagles' deep-ball threat, finishing the season with 77 receptions for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns.

McNabb had the best season of his career in 2004, completing 300 out of 469 (64 percent) passes for 3,875 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions, making him the first quarterback to ever throw for more than 30 touchdowns and fewer than 10 interceptions in a season. He also rushed for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wide receiver Todd Pinkston was also a reliable target, recording 36 catches for 676 yards.

Philadelphia's running game was not as strong as their passing attack, ranking just 24th in the league in rushing yards (1,639). Running back Brian Westbrook lead the team with 812 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Westbrook also led all NFL running backs in receiving with 73 receptions for 706 yards and 6 touchdowns. Veteran running back Dorsey Levens was also a big contributor with 410 rushing yards. The Eagles' offensive line was led by Pro Bowl tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan.

Three of their four starters in the defensive secondary were named to the Pro Bowl: Cornerback Lito Sheppard (1 sack, 5 interceptions, 172 return yards and 2 touchdowns), safety Michael Lewis (88 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception) and safety Brian Dawkins (3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 4 interceptions for 40 return yards). Their defensive line was anchored by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Corey Simon (5.5 sacks) and defensive ends Jevon Kearse (7.5 sacks, Pro Bowl) and Derrick Burgess. Pro Bowl linebacker Jeremiah Trotter recorded 60 tackles and 1 sack.

The Eagles started the 2004 regular season with seven straight wins before suffering a loss to the Steelers. After that, they finished the season with a 13–3 record. Their only other 2 losses were in their last 2 games of the season, when they decided to rest all of their starters because they had already clinched the NFC #1 seed, and thus home-field advantage in the playoffs. However, during a December 19th 12–7 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Owens was seriously injured on a "horse-collar tackle" by Cowboys defensive back Roy Williams and had to miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.

Despite the loss of Owens, the Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings, 27–14, and the Atlanta Falcons, 27–10, in the playoffs. McNabb recorded 21 out of 33 completions for 286 yards and two touchdowns, while receiver Freddie Mitchell scored two touchdowns in the victory over the Vikings. McNabb then completed 17 out of 26 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Falcons.

Meanwhile, the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 20–3, holding the league's highest scoring team with 522 total points to just one field goal, Indianapolis' lowest point total since their opening game of the 2003 season. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 4,557 yards during the regular season, and set NFL records for most touchdown passes in a regular season (49) and highest quarterback rating (121.4). Running back Edgerrin James gained 2,031 combined rushing and receiving yards and scored 9 touchdowns. Wide receivers Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Brandon Stokley each recorded over 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. However, the Patriots limited Manning to 238 passing yards with 1 interception and no touchdowns, and James to just 39 rushing yards. The Patriots also held possession of the ball for 37:43, including 21:26 in the second half, and recorded three long scoring drives that each took over 7 minutes off the clock. One reason New England was able to hold the ball so long was because of Dillon's rushing. He finished the game with 23 carries for 144 yards and 5 receptions for 17 yards.

The Patriots then defeated the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, 41–27. Although Pittsburgh had beaten New England, 34–20, during the regular season and led the league in fewest total yards allowed, they could not stop the Patriots. Brady threw for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns; Dillon rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown; and Branch, who was coming off of his injuries, recorded 4 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown, along with 37 rushing yards and another touchdown on 2 carries. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (who had struggled the previous week against the New York Jets) was intercepted 3 times, and running back Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh's leading rusher, was held to just 64 yards.

Owens was cleared to play in Super Bowl XXXIX, defying doctors orders by playing on his injured ankle containing 2 screws and a metal plate.

The other major story was the Patriots' potential loss of both their offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator at the end of the season, and how it might affect the team in 2005. On December 12, 2004, about a month and a half before the game, New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis signed a contract to become the head coach of Notre Dame starting in the 2005 season. Rumors were also circulating that defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel would also leave the team to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns (which ended up being true as Crennel and the Browns agreed to a contract a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl).

Due to injuries at the tight end spot, the Eagles were forced to sign Jeff Thomason, a former tight end who was working construction at the time, to a one-game contract for the Super Bowl. Thomason saw time during several plays, although never had a ball thrown his way. This was his third Super Bowl, playing in two with the Green Bay Packers during Andy Reid's days as a Packer assistant.

With this appearance the Patriots became the 8th team to make it to the Super Bowl for the 5th time. They joined the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, and Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders.

The game was televised in the United States by FOX, with play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and color commentators Cris Collinsworth and Troy Aikman. This marked the first time since Super Bowl I that none of the network commentators had ever called a Super Bowl game before (although Collinsworth had worked three prior Super Bowl telecasts as a pregame analyst). This was the last game that Cris Collinsworth broadcasted as a member of the NFL on FOX team, as he chose to sign with NBC in the following off-season.

James Brown hosted all the events with help from his fellow FOX NFL Sunday cast members Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson.

After the game, FOX aired a special episode of The Simpsons and the series premiere of American Dad!, except in both Philadelphia and Boston, where local newscasts delayed the premieres by an hour.

Before the game, performances came from the Black Eyed Peas, Earth Wind & Fire, Charlie Daniels, and Gretchen Wilson. Shortly before kickoff, Alicia Keys sang "America the Beautiful," paying tribute to Ray Charles, who died in June 2004. The combined choirs of the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy sang the national anthem accompanied by the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets. It had been more than 30 years since all four service academies sang together—the last time was at the second inauguration of President Richard Nixon in 1973.

In a move which proved somewhat controversial after the broadcast, the traditional military missing man formation flyby was this year performed by a pair of F/A-18 Super Hornets from VFA-106 at NAS Oceana and a pair of the Air Force's newest fighters, the F-22 Raptor, flying from Tyndall AFB, the training base for the Raptor. The earlier military flyby during the veterans' salute was conducted by 2 T-6 Texan trainers and a B-25 Mitchell bomber.

The coin toss ceremony featured youth football players from Jacksonville: Tyler Callahan, Tyler Deal, Lawrence McCauley, and Jacob Santana; and New Orleans NFL Junior Player Development coach Tamaris Jackson.

Taking the concept a step further, for the first time, a theme was tied to the event: Building Bridges, as symbolized by the theme logo, represented by the Main Street Bridge, one of the seven bridges that crosses over the St. Johns River in the host city, and according to the League, symbolized the bridging of a nation under the NFL football umbrella. The theme was also used by Jacksonville-area nonprofit Fresh Ministries in a major event entitled "Bridges of Peace," featuring city officials asking the people to unite for the Super Bowl and heal the wounds of segregation.

On the first drive of the game, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb fumbled while being sacked by New England linebacker Willie McGinest, and the Patriots recovered the ball at Philadelphia's 34 yard line. Fortunately for the Eagles, coach Andy Reid's instant replay challenge overruled the fumble; officials ruled that McNabb had been down by contact before the ball came out of his hands. Later in the quarter after each team had punted twice, McNabb completed a 30-yard pass to Terrell Owens, with a roughing the passer penalty adding 9 yards, moving the ball inside the Patriots 20 yard line. However, linebacker Mike Vrabel sacked McNabb for a 16-yard loss on the next play. On the following play, the Eagles once again appeared to turn the ball over: McNabb's pass was intercepted in the end zone by Patriots defensive back Asante Samuel, but it was nullified by an illegal contact penalty on linebacker Roman Phifer, moving the ball back inside the 20 and giving the Eagles a first down. However, McNabb's second chance was wasted as he threw an interception to safety Rodney Harrison on the next play.

The Eagles defense then forced New England to a three-and-out on their ensuing possession, and Philadelphia got great field position by receiving the punt at the Patriots 45 yard line. But once again, they gave up another turnover: tight end L.J. Smith lost a fumble while being tackled by defensive back Randall Gay, and Samuel recovered the ball at the 38.

The Eagles defense once again forced New England to punt, and got the ball back at their own 19 yard line. Aided by a pair of completions from McNabb to receiver Todd Pinkston for gains of 17 and 40 yards, the Eagles drove 81 yards in 9 plays and scored on McNabb's 6-yard touchdown pass to Smith, taking a 7–0 lead with 9:55 left in the second quarter. It was the first time New England trailed during the entire postseason. On their ensuing drive, the Patriots moved the ball to the Eagles 4-yard line, mainly on plays by Corey Dillon, who caught two screen passes for 29 yards and rushed for 25. But quarterback Tom Brady fumbled the ball on a fake handoff and Philadelphia defender Darwin Walker recovered it. However, the Eagles could not take advantage of the turnover and had to punt after 3 plays. Eagles punter Dirk Johnson's punt went just 29 yards, giving the Patriots the ball at Philadelphia's 37 yard line. The Patriots then drove 37 yards to score on Brady's 4-yard pass to receiver David Givens with 1:10 remaining in the period, tying the game 7–7 by halftime. It was only the second halftime tie in Super Bowl history and the first time both of the game's first 2 quarters ended tied.

On the opening drive of the second half, Patriots receiver Deion Branch caught 4 passes for 71 yards on a drive that ended with Brady's 2-yard pass to Vrabel, who lined up at the tight end spot on the play. The Eagles later tied the game with 3:39 left in the third period with a 74-yard, 10-play drive that was capped by McNabb's 10-yard touchdown pass to running back Brian Westbrook. For the first time in Super Bowl history, the game was tied going into the fourth quarter.

Early in the final period, the Patriots put together a 9-play, 66-yard scoring drive that was keyed by 3 plays from running back Kevin Faulk, who caught 2 passes for 27 combined yards and rushed once for 12. Dillon capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Patriots a 21-14 lead. Then after forcing another Eagles punt, Branch's 19-yard reception and a roughing-the-passer penalty on Philadelphia defensive lineman Corey Simon set up kicker Adam Vinatieri's 22-yard field goal with 8:43 left in the game to increase the score 24–14.

The Eagles responded by advancing to the New England 36-yard line on their next drive, but it ended with no points after linebacker Tedy Bruschi intercepted a pass from McNabb at the Patriots 24-yard line. After forcing New England to punt, Philadelphia got the ball back at their own 21-yard line with 5:40 left in the game.

The Eagles then drove 79 yards in 13 plays to cut their deficit to 24–21 with McNabb's 30-yard touchdown pass to receiver Greg Lewis. However, the drive consumed 3:52 of the clock, and only 1:55 remained in the game by the time Lewis scored. Because of this, many sportswriters later criticized the Eagles for not immediately going to a no-huddle offense at the start of the possession.

The Eagles failed to recover their ensuing onside kick attempt. The Patriots then played it safe by running the ball 3 times and forcing Philadelphia to use all of its timeouts. New England punter Josh Miller then pinned the Eagles back at their own 4-yard line with just 46 seconds left in the game. Philadelphia then tried one last desperate drive to win or tie the game. But on first down, McNabb was pressured into making a rushed pass to Westbrook at the line of scrimmage. Instead of dropping the pass to stop the clock, Westbrook made the mistake of catching the ball and was immediately tackled for no gain, keeping the clock running and forcing the Eagles to run back to the line of scrimmage for their next play with no huddle. On second down, McNabb threw an incomplete pass intended for Owens. Finally on third down, McNabb threw a pass that went just over the outstretched fingertips of Smith and into the arms of Harrison for an interception with 9 seconds left, sealing the victory for the Patriots.

McNabb completed 30 out of 51 passes for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns, but threw 3 interceptions and was sacked four times. Westbrook was the Eagles leading rusher with 44 yards, while also catching 6 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown and returning 3 punts for 19 yards. Pinkston caught 4 passes for 82 yards. Owens was the Eagles' top receiver with 9 catches for 122 yards.

Brady completed 23 out of 33 passes for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dillon was the top rusher of the game with 75 yards and a touchdown, and had 3 catches for 31 yards. Branch's Super Bowl record 11 catches tied Cincinnati Bengals' Dan Ross in Super Bowl XVI and San Francisco 49ers' Jerry Rice in Super Bowl XXIII. (Coincidentally all 3 would eventually be traded to the Seattle Seahawks: Ross in 1985, Rice in 2004, and Branch in 2006). Running back Kevin Faulk contributed 38 rushing yards and 27 receiving yards.

Branch and Terrell Owens each had 100 yards receiving, marking the third time in Super Bowl history, one player from each team had over 100 yards in a Super Bowl. Michael Irvin and Andre Reed were the first in Super Bowl XXVII, and Branch and Muhsin Muhammad the second a year earlier in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Branch also became the fourth player to have at least 100 yards receiving in back-to-back Super Bowls, joining John Stallworth, Jerry Rice and Antonio Freeman. Also, Mike Vrabel and David Givens became just the 14th and 15th players to score a touchdown in consecutive Super Bowls. Vrabel is the most surprising person on this list because he is a linebacker and he scored his on offense. They also became just the 7th and 8th players to catch a touchdown in back-to-back Super Bowls.

With the victory, Tom Brady became just the fourth quarterback to win at least three Super Bowls. He joined Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Troy Aikman on this exclusive list. Brady also became the fourth quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in three different Super Bowls. Other quarterbacks to do it were Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and John Elway.

As usual, the television coverage of this year's Super Bowl was the showcase for the most expensive commercials in television—both to produce and to buy airtime (at the rate of $2.4 million US for 30 seconds).

One ad that drew the ire of many—including the NFL—was for the internet domain provider Go Daddy, which tweaked the controversial halftime of the previous year's game with a mock censorship hearing featuring a comely woman, Nikki Cappelli (played by WWE Wrestler Candice Michelle), having a "wardrobe malfunction". Fox pulled the second airing of the ad, scheduled for the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter, along with a five-second plug, and it was replaced with a promo for The Simpsons. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based World Wide Web domain registration company got a refund on the second ad.

Another popular ad was made by the NFL. It featured players who were not in the Super Bowl, headlined by Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being at a beach resort, depressed he did not make it in. Joe Montana comforted Roethlisberger, and soon both Montana and Roethlisberger joined many other players in different locations in an off-key yet rousing edition of "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie. The commercial ended with the tagline: "Tomorrow, we're all undefeated again." Roethlisberger would go onto lead the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XL the very next season. The top ad, as chosen by the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter was for Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light featuring a timid skydiver making his first jump getting enticed with a six-pack of the product.

For the first time since the campaign started in Super Bowl XXI, no "I'm Going to Disney World!" ad aired following Super Bowl XXXIX.

Each member of the Patriots team received a payment of $68,000 for winning the game. The Eagles each received $36,500. When adjusted for inflation, the Patriots salary was actually less than the $15,000 paid to members of the Green Bay Packers for winning Super Bowl I in 1967. That amount of money in 1967 equated to approximately $85,000 in 2005.

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2005 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 2005 Philadelphia Eagles season was a complete disaster for the team. Injuries and the Terrell Owens saga combined to wreak havoc upon the Eagles' chances in their post-Super Bowl season. After making the playoffs every season since 2000 and winning the past four NFC East crowns, the Eagles staggered to a 6-10 record. In 2004 NFL season, Philadelphia had swept its division rivals, but they became the first team to reverse that feat in its next season, going 0-6 against the NFC East in 2005.

After the Super Bowl, the future looked bright for the team, but the onset of the Owens controversy in the summer began to cloud that outlook. The Eagles got out to a 3-1 record, but there were signs of trouble from the start. Contract disputes with Owens and Brian Westbrook created ugly distractions, and the team was criticized for not replacing departed defensive linemen Derrick Burgess and Corey Simon. Around the middle of the season, the injuries began to take a devastating toll. Quarterback Donovan McNabb, running back Brian Westbrook, wide receiver Todd Pinkston, offensive tackle Tra Thomas, defensive lineman Jerome McDougle, center Hank Fraley, cornerback Lito Sheppard, and running back Correll Buckhalter were all at some point lost for the season. Moreover, kicker David Akers and punter Dirk Johnson also battled injuries and missed time during the year.

The Owens situation boiled to a head in early November, with the team essentially suspending the outspoken receiver for the rest of the season. The rash of injuries, meanwhile, revealed a disturbing lack of depth on the team, especially in the quarterback position and defensive line. The Eagles lost eight of their final ten games, led at quarterback by the athletic, but inept, Mike McMahon.

In the seven games he did play, Owens caught six touchdowns with 763 receiving yards. Rookie Reggie Brown showed promise after Owens' suspension, grabbing four touchdowns, as did rookie running back Ryan Moats, who had three late-season touchdowns. The team's two Pro Bowlers came from the defense - middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and safety Brian Dawkins. However, for the most part, the Eagles' pass defense suffered due to the poor pass rush.

The Eagles' 2005 season-opener on Monday Night Football was more famous for what happened before the game, when Pro Bowl linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was ejected for a scuffle near mid-field during pre-game warmups. The Eagles missed his presence as a run-stopper in the first quarter as Warrick Dunn gained big yards and Michael Vick rushed for a touchdown. A couple of minutes later, Michael Jenkins caught a 58-yard bomb and T.J. Duckett scored from a yard out. Down 14-0, McNabb rallied the Eagles to a solid drive capped by a touchdown pass to Brian Westbrook. The defense was solid and gathered key turnovers for the rest of the game, but the offense could not make up the deficit. A field goal made it 14-10 in the fourth quarter, but with two minutes left and the ball at midfield, McNabb fired off four incomplete passes and the Eagles fell short in their rematch of the 2004 NFC Championship. McNabb, who suffered a bruised sternum, passed for 257 yards and a score, while Terrell Owens caught seven passes for 112 yards. Safety Brian Dawkins had two sacks, six tackles, forced a fumble, and intercepted a pass.

There were shades of 2004 when the Eagles routed the San Francisco 49ers in their home-opener. In the opening series, Donovan McNabb found Terrell Owens wide open on a broken play and the two connected for a 68-yard touchdown. Later in the quarter, McNabb went to tight end L.J. Smith for the six-yard score. Owens got open on the left side in the second quarter and ran under a McNabb pass to score his second touchdown and the score was 21-0. Cornerback Lito Sheppard made an interception on the next play and returned the ball to the 49er two-yard line. McNabb prompty passed it out to Brian Westbrook for the easy touchdown. In a comical moment, linebacker Mark Simoneau booted home the extra point in place of kicker David Akers, who was momentarily resting a hamstring he had strained on the kickoff. Joe Nedney kicked a field goal for San Francisco in the third quarter, but McNabb came back with a touchdown pass to Greg Lewis. Running back Lamar Gordon added a rushing touchdown late as the Eagles came together and steamrolled the Niners by a score of 42-3. McNabb, who was playing slightly injured, had one of his best days ever - five touchdowns and 342 yards. Owens burned his old team for 143 yards and two scores, while L.J. Smith also had a big day, netting 119 yards and a touchdown. The win seemed to set the Eagles back on course after the opening night hiccup in Atlanta.

A visibly wounded Eagles team found a way to come out on top in Week 3 against the visiting Oakland Raiders. The game began inauspiciously as David Akers crumpled to the field in pain from a torn hamstring attempting to boot the opening kickoff. The Raiders took advantage of the good field position and marched to a touchdown with Lamont Jordan taking a short pass and scampering into the end zone. Donovan McNabb, who was clearly bothered by a recently-diagnosed sports hernia, was limited compared to his normal mobility. Brian Westbrook scored on an 18-yard run in the second quarter, but Mark Simoneau, who had humorously made a PAT in the laugher against San Francisco, missed the extra point leaving the Eagles behind 7-6. Oakland got a field goal to make it 10-6 at the half. McNabb led the Eagles down the field to start the third quarter, with Terrell Owens collecting a short touchdown pass. Akers, with a heavily taped leg, was able to painfully boot through the extra point. A few minutes later, Westbrook broke a short pass for a 62-yard gain, and he made the touchdown reception four plays later. Akers again kicked the extra point and the Philadelphia lead increased to 20-10. The Raiders rallied in the fourth quarter, getting a Sebastian Janikowski field goal and a Doug Gabriel 27-yard touchdown reception to tie the game with four minutes left. Using a series of short passes to Westbrook and Owens, McNabb guided the Eagles to the Oakland 5-yard line. The injured Akers came on and booted the 23-yard field goal with :12 left before collapsing in pain. The game had been won in courageous fashion, but the Eagles looked worn down and the season had scarcely begun. McNabb threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns and Westbrook had a big game, racking up 208 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

The Eagles made a thrilling comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs in raucous Arrowhead Stadium in Week 4. Kansas City scored on its opening possession when Priest Holmes plunged into the endzone from three yards out. On their next drive, the Chiefs added a field goal. The Eagles turned the ball over on the ensuing kick return and Trent Green hit Eddie Kennison with an eight-yard touchdown reception and it was suddenly 17-0 Chiefs. After new Eagles kicker Todd France had his 40-yard field goal blocked, defensive back Sheldon Brown jumped a pass and returned the ball 40 yards for the touchdown to get the Eagles on the board. However, France's extra point was no good and Dante Hall returned the kickoff for a touchdown leaving the Eagles behind a daunting 24-6. However, the team rallied behind the ailing McNabb and began a comeback. McNabb found Terrell Owens for a touchdown late in the half, France made the point after, and it was 24-13. Early in the third quarter, coach Andy Reid put faith in France and the kicker booted home a 44-yard field goal. After two long passes to Owens, McNabb went to tight end Mike Bartrum in the end zone and Brian Westbrook for the two-point conversion to tie the game. The defense continued to hold Kansas City's running game in check and France made a 37-yarder to give Philadelphia the lead 27-24. Dante Hall fumbled the kickoff and the Eagles recovered, turning the mistake into a short L.J. Smith touchdown reception. Sheldon Brown picked off Green again and the resulting drive ended in a field goal making it 37-24 Eagles. The Chiefs added a late-score, but the run of 31 unanswered points by Philadelphia had made dust of Kansas City's early lead. McNabb, despite his sports hernia, turned in another big performance - 369 yards and three touchdown passes. Owens was the recipient of 171 of those yards and one of those touchdowns. The team was 3-1, but their wins over Oakland and Kansas City had been far from perfect.

Carrying a ten-game winning streak against division opponents, the Eagles took on Bill Parcells' Dallas Cowboys. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe needed only four plays to lead the Cowboys to a touchdown to open the game. The Eagles defense made a nice goal-line stand on the Cowboys' next possession, but when Dallas got the ball back, Bledsoe connected with Terry Glenn for a 38-yard score, Glenn's second touchdown. A José Cortéz field goal left the Eagles in another 17-0 hole. Donovan McNabb and the Eagles managed a field goal on their first drive of the second quarter, but there would be no comeback this week. Bledsoe tossed another touchdown pass, this one to Lousaka Polite, making it 24-3 Dallas. Bledsoe led the Cowboys to field-goal drives to end the half and to start the third quarter, leaving the Eagles behind 30-3. The only bright moment of the game for Philadelphia was Lito Sheppard stripping receiver Keyshawn Johnson of the ball in the third quarter and Sheldon Brown recovering and racing 80 yards for the touchdown, Brown's second defensive touchdown in as many weeks. The Eagles were held to a paltry 129 offensive yards in the embarrassing loss and their pass defense was mauled by Bledsoe.

Needing a win to offset an ugly loss in Dallas, the Eagles faced the San Diego Chargers and LaDainian Tomlinson, who had scored a touchdown in an NFL record-tying 18 straight games. The Eagles defense was surpisingly effective in muzzling Tomlinson, who finished with seven yards on 17 carries and was stopped for a loss on his first four carries. This helped keep the Chargers off the board in the first half. The Philadelphia offense finally took advantage when Donovan McNabb led them on a 12-play drive finished by a four-yard touchdown reception by Terrell Owens, the 100th of his career. The Eagles finished the half with an 11-play drive that took them inside the San Diego ten-yard line, but a completion in-bounds to L.J. Smith allowed the clock to run out before a field goal was kicked. In the third quarter, three-straight McNabb completions gave them 1st and goal from the San Diego five-yard line, but the drive stalled and they settled for a field goal. The Chargers got right back in the game with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Keenan McCardell. When Brees found tight end Antonio Gates for a score early in the fourth quarter, the Chargers went ahead 14-10. McNabb was intercepted on the Eagles' next play and San Diego ended up with a field goal. Jeremiah Trotter's interception of Brees set up a 40-yard kick from Todd France that made it 17-13 San Diego. With less than four minutes left, the Eagles went for it on 4th and 1 from their own 30-yard line and failed to convert. Nate Kaeding set up to kick a 40-yard field goal to finish the Eagles. In the most exciting play of the Eagles' season, Quintin Mikell burst in from the left side and blocked the kick. The ball bounced right into the arms of Matt Ware who raced 65 yards to the end zone giving the Eagles an unbelievable lead. A last-ditch drive by the Chargers, who now trailed 20-17, actually reached deep into Philadelphia territory, but Sheldon Brown stripped receiver Reche Caldwell of the ball and the Eagles recovered. McNabb had 35 completions, but he threw two picks and only one touchdown. The Philadelphia defense forced three turnovers. The Eagles had snatched an incredible victory and their record improved to 4-2, and it was hoped that the thrilling win would serve as the springboard for a season-saving run.

The 4-2 Eagles travelled out to Denver to take on the 5-2 Denver Broncos. The Eagles again started slow while Denver led 14-0 after one quarter, courtesy of touchdowns by running backs Mike Anderson and Kyle Johnson. Quarterback Jake Plummer had short passing touchdowns to Rod Smith and Stephen Alexander to go up 28-0. Philadelphia finally woke up at the end of half when Donovan McNabb found L.J. Smith for a one-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, McNabb threw short and to the right sideline for Terrell Owens, who got past star cornerback Champ Bailey and ran 91 yards for the touchdown. Later in the quarter, on a drive that featured a 46-yard completion to Owens, McNabb hit Brian Westbrook with a 14-yard touchdown throw and the Eagles had made it 28-21. With things beginning to resemble the Kansas City game, the Eagles began driving towards the Denver end zone early in the fourth quarter, but McNabb was intercepted by Domonique Foxworth at the Bronco 20-yard line. Plummer launched a 44-yard touchdown to Todd Devoe on the ensuing drive. A 67-yard run by Tatum Bell made it 42-21 and the Eagles' comeback hopes died. Bell added another touchdown as the Eagles fell by a lopsided 49-21 score. Bell and Mike Anderson both went over 100 yards rushing for Denver, while Owens had 151 receiving yards and a touchdown in what would be his last game as an Eagle. Later in the week, the team would suspend him indefinitely due to comments disparaging to the organization and McNabb on an ESPN interview.

Without Terrell Owens, the Eagles set about trying to save their playoff hopes with a game against the division-rival Washington Redskins, whom they had not lost to in four years. Donovan McNabb, still playing with a painful sports hernia, did his best to prove that he did not need Owens when he completed a 56-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Reggie Brown in the first quarter. However, the Redskins controlled the second quarter, getting a field goal and a Mike Sellers touchdown to take a 10-7 halftime lead. An 11-play third quarter drive netted Philadelphia a game-tying field goal, but Clinton Portis found the end zone on Washington's next possession to make it 17-10 Redskins. At the two minute warning, the Eagles had 1st and 10 from the Washington 13-yard line, but they could not score and McNabb threw a game-ending interception to Ryan Clark on fourth down. McNabb passed for 304 yards and Brown had a strong debut, hauling in 94 receiving yards. The loss dropped the Eagles to 4-4.

Needing a Monday Night win against the Dallas Cowboys to keep any kind of division title aspirations alive, the Eagles came out and outplayed Dallas for most of the game before collapsing in the final four minutes. Philadelphia scored on its opening drive, with Brian Westbrook taking a carry on the rightside into the endzone. A 58-yard pass from Drew Bledsoe to Peerless Price gave Dallas 1st and goal, and Marion Barber III took it in from a yard out to tie the game. A Lito Sheppard interception gave the Eagles the ball at the Dallas 19-yard line, and Donovan McNabb capitalized by bootlegging to the right for a two-yard touchdown run, the first rushing score of the year for the injured quarterback. In the third quarter, David Akers booted a 48-yarder, and in the fourth quarter, Akers added another field goal increasing Philadelphia's lead to 20-7. With less than four minutes left, Bledsoe quickly took Dallas down the field and hurled a 20-yard touchdown to Terry Glenn to make it 20-14. On the Eagles' second play of their ensuing drive, McNabb made a risky throw to the right side and Cowboys' safety Roy Williams jumped in front of it and returned the ball for a touchdown. McNabb was hobbled on the play which essentially ended the Eagles' season. Backup Mike McMahon came in and got the Eagles into Dallas territory, but a 60-yard kick from Akers failed. Trent Cole had two sacks and Westbrook rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown in the defeat, which marked the first time the Eagles had lost three in a row since 1999. McNabb, who had needed surgery all season, was now officially done for the year.

With their season now all but completely lost, the Eagles, now led by backup quarterback Mike McMahon, dropped their four straight game. The New York Giants broke a scoreless tie with a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter. A blocked punt later in the quarter led to a touchdown for the Giants and 10-0 deficit for Philadelphia. McMahon got his first touchdown of the season with a 22-yard pass to Reggie Brown. A 55-yard burst by New York running back Tiki Barber, who had 112 yards, led to a field goal to make it 13-7. The Eagles got 1st and goal from the one-yard line, but settled for a field goal that left them behind 13-10. Eli Manning came back with a short touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey to make it 20-10. McMahon took the Eagles on a scoring drive to keep pace, with him sneaking it in himself from a yard out. However, Manning launched a 61-yard touchdown bomb to Plaxico Burress on the Giants' ensuing possession. Philadelphia could not score again and fell 27-17. McMahon passed for 298 yards and Jevon Kearse had three sacks and two forced fumbles, his best game as an Eagle. The team's record now slipped to 4-6 and they were 0-4 against their division.

Scheduled to meet a struggling Green Bay Packers team, the Eagles had a good opportunity to snap their four-game losing streak. David Akers converted a 44-yard attempt in the first quarter. Matt Ware recovered a fumble on the resulting kickoff and Brian Westbrook went around the right end for a 27-yard touchdown. Green Bay running back Samkon Gado cut into the Eagles' lead with a 33-yard touchdown run. The Packers took a 14-10 lead behind a touchdown pass by Brett Favre in the second quarter. In the second half, the defense controlled the Green Bay offense while David Akers chipped away at the Packers' lead. He kicked a 38-yarder in the third quarter, then a 37-yarder in the fourth to give the Eagles the lead. The Packers muffed the kickoff again, allowing Akers to boot another field goal to make it 19-14. Westbrook, who rushed for 117 yards, had one of his best games of the season, as did Akers who converted all four of his field goal attempts. The Eagles had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

A Monday Night matchup with the 9-2 Seattle Seahawks presented a potentially ugly night for the Eagles. The loss they would suffer would be quasi-historic. The Seahawks began the game with a relentless 16-play drive finished by a 11-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Bobby Engram. Andre Dyson then intercepted Mike McMahon and returned it for a 72-yard touchdown. McMahon gave away an even uglier interception in the second quarter to Lofa Tatupu, who also returned it for a touchdown. Andy Reid benched McMahon and brought in Koy Detmer, who proceeded to throw an interception to Michael Boulware that was returned to the Eagles' two-yard line. Shaun Alexander took it in for a short touchdown, then collected another score later in the second quarter and it was now a shocking 35-0 game. Rookie Ryan Moats replacing the injured Brian Westbrook after halftime, fumbled his first carry and Dyson returned it for a touchdown to make it 42-0. The Philadelphia offense could do nothing the rest of the game in the most lopsided loss of the Andy Reid era. It was the tied for the worst loss in Monday Night history, and was the worst shutout loss. It was also the third worst defeat in Eagles' history. Due to three defensive touchdowns, the Seahawks amazingly scored 42 points with less than 200 yards of offense. Worse still for the Eagles, Westbrook was ruled out for the year after spraining his foot in the second quarter.

Six days after a thrashing at the hands of the Seahawks that showed them how far they had fallen, the Eagles took the playoff-bound New York Giants to overtime. The Giants scored on their opening drive, Tiki Barber the recipient of a short touchdown pass. Then, young Ryan Moats took a carry off the left side and outran the New York defense for a 40-yard touchdown. A quarterback sneak touchdown by Eli Manning and a Jay Feely field goal established a 17-7 Giants lead. However, Moats flashed his speed again on a 18-yard touchdown run and David Akers kicked a 42-yarder before halftime to tie it. Feely made a pair of short field goal to make it 23-17 by the early fourth quarter. However, Mike McMahon, who limited his mistakes, led the Eagles to drives that resulted in two Akers' field goals, the latter from 50-yards to tie the game. In the overtime, Osi Umenyiora sacked McMahon and forced a fumble that was recovered by New York. Feely made it from 36-yards out to win the game. Moats rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles fell to 5-8.

The Eagles and St. Louis Rams, both playoff teams in 2004 relegated to 5-8 records in 2005, played a close contest in Week 15, narrowly won by Philadelphia. A 13-play opening drive gave St. Louis a 3-0 lead, but on the Eagles' third play, Ryan Moats burst through for a 59-yard touchdown. In the second quarter, an interception from the hands of Mike McMahon gave Rams quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a chance to throw a fade touchdown pass to Torry Holt. A 53-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins made it 13-7 St. Louis. The teams traded field goals in the third quarter. On the first play of the final quarter, McMahon found Mike Bartrum for a 3-yard touchdown pass and the Eagles went ahead 17-16. The defense held for the rest of the quarter and the Eagles had secured their first road win since Week 4. Despite three interceptions, McMahon had delivered the game-winning blow, Moats had 79 yards and another impressive touchdown, and Brian Dawkins had his third pick of the season.

On Christmas Eve, the depleted Eagles fell to the Arizona Cardinals in the final Cardinals game at Sun Devil Stadium. Neil Rackers, the league's best kicker in 2005, kicked two first quarter field goals. In the second quarter, Mike McMahon was yet again intercepted for a touchdown, this time by outside linebacker Karlos Dansby. McMahon got the points back with a one-yard quarterback sneak touchdown, but the Eagles still trailed 13-7. In the second half, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin each had receiving touchdowns and Arizona stretched their lead to 27-7. McMahon tossed a 21-yard score to Billy McMullen, whose days in Philadelphia were clearly numbered. With less than a minute left, McMahon scored on another rushing touchdown as the Eagles lost 27-21. After two good performances, Ryan Moats was limited to 13 yards. Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins combined for 16 tackles.

In the season finale, the Eagles hoped to play spoiler to a Washington Redskins team needing a win to make the playoffs. Early on it looked like the Eagles may succeed. David Akers converted on a 49-yard field goal less than five minutes into the game. Mike Sellers scored on a short pass for Washington, but the Eagles followed that with two Reggie Brown touchdown receptions to take a 17-7 lead. Washington drew it to 17-10 with a field goal a minute before halftime. Clinton Portis' two-yard touchdown run evened things up, but Akers kicked another field goal to make it 20-17 Eagles. Mistakes returned to sink the Eagles in the fourth quarter. Mike McMahon was picked off by Lemar Marshall and Portis took it 22-yards up the middle and into the end zone on the next play. After McMahon fumbled away the ball on the next drive, Koy Detmer came into the game. He was sacked and lost the ball, which was returned for a touchdown by Redskin safety Sean Taylor, sealing the win for Washington. Reggie Brown had 77 yards and two touchdowns, but six turnovers were too much to overcome for the Eagles. The loss dropped them to 6-10 and they had been swept by their division rivals, a year after sweeping them.

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2004 New England Patriots season

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The 2004 New England Patriots season was the 35th season for the team in the National Football League and 45th season overall. The Patriots finished the regular season 14-2, matching their record of 2003, when the team finished in first place in the AFC East and won Super Bowl XXXVIII. Winning their first six games of the season, the Patriots set the NFL record for consecutive regular season victories (18), which was later broken by the 2006-2008 Patriots (21), and consecutive regular season and playoff victories (21) before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 31. With the second seed in the AFC playoffs, the Patriots advanced to and won Super Bowl XXXIX, becoming only the second NFL team in history to win three Super Bowls in four years.

Opening the NFL season on a Thursday night for the first time ever, the Patriots fell behind their arch-enemy 17-13 at the half. Tom Brady answered with touchdowns to David Patten and Daniel Graham in the third. A botched punt return by Deion Branch helped set up a Brandon Stokley touchdown from Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter. In the game's final minute, the score still 27-24 Patriots, Manning drove the Colts to the Patriots redzone, but was sacked well outside the 30 by Willie McGinest. Mike Vanderjagt came on for a 48-yard field goal try; he taunted the Patriots bench by rubbing his fingers in a "money" motion, having connected on 42 straight field goals, but he missed wide left on this try, securing the Patriots win.

Corey Dillon had his first big game for the Patriots as he rushed for 158 yards in a 23-12 New England win. The win proved costly as Deion Branch was lost for seven games when he was injured in a late-second-quarter trick play that turned into a turnover.

A year after being crushed 31-0 in Ralph Wilson Stadium the Patriots carried a winning streak that had reached 17 games (regular season and playoff). The Patriots took a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter but Terrence McGee ran back the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for the tying touchdown. A Patriots endzone fumble then set up a 41-yard Drew Bledsoe touchdown to Eric Moulds. The Patriots tied the game on a David Patten touchdown catch at the end of the half, then after a fourth quarter Daniel Graham score the Patriots iced the game when Bledsoe was strip-sacked and Richard Seymour ran the ball 68 yards for the score, a 31-17 Patriots final.

Known in Patriot circles as "The Halloween Massacre," the Patriots' 21-game winning streak crashed to a halt at the hands of Pittsburgh's rookie phenom Ben Roethlisberger, who threw touchdowns to Plaxico Burress before a Deshea Townsend intercepetion return put the score at 21-3 Steelers after one quarter. Ty Law of the Patriots was lost for the season in this game (and in fact would not play for the Patriots again as he would go to the New York Jets after the season). The Steelers rushed for 221 yards (led by Duce Staley's 125 and Jerome Bettis' 65 and a score) and won 34-20, continuing a winning streak of their own that began in Week Three but which would end at the hands of the Patriots in the postseason.

This was the first meeting between the two clubs since Super Bowl XXXVI. Receiver Troy Brown was pressed into service as a defensive back and wound up playing all three sides of the ball; he caught three passes from Tom Brady and defended three Rams passes, then in the third quarter the Patriots set up for a short field goal, but the ball was snapped to Adam Vinatieri who threw it to Brown at the left corner of the endzone. The touchdown put the Patriots up 26-14 and they rolled to a 40-22 win; ironically Vinatieri had a better quarterback rating (122.9) than Brady (103.4) or the Rams' Marc Bulger (103.7).

In a snowstorm, the Patriots dismantled the league's highest scoring team by forcing three turnovers and holding them to just 276 yards and 3 points, their lowest point total since their opening game of the 2003 season. Peyton Manning suffered his seventh loss in Foxborough, even though he had more yards passing than Brady did in the game. The Patriots limited Manning to 238 passing yards with 1 interception and no touchdowns, and Edgerrin James to just 39 rushing yards. The Patriots also held possession of the ball for 37:43, including 21:26 in the second half and recording three long scoring drives that each took over 7 minutes off the clock. New England running back Corey Dillon, playing in his first career playoff game after suffering through 7 losing seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, rushed for 144 yards and caught 5 passes for 17 yards.

Both teams defenses dominated early, as the first five possessions of the game ended in punts. But after that, the Patriots put together a 16-play, 78 yards scoring drive that took 9:07 off the clock. They lost a touchdown when Dillons' 1-yard score was overturned by a penalty, but Adam Vinatieri kicked a 24-yard field goal to give them a 3-0 lead. The next time New England got the ball, a 42-yard run by Dillon set up another Vinatieri field goal, increasing the Patriots lead to 6-0. The Colts responded with a drive to New England's 39-yard line, but linebacker Tedy Bruschi ended it by forcing and recovering a fumble from running back Dominic Rhodes. After a Patriots punt, Manning led the Colts 67 yards to a Mike Vanderjagt field goal, cutting the score to 6-3 going into halftime.

But the Patriots dominated the second half, holding the ball for nearly all the time in regulation with two long drives. After an echange of punts, they drove 87 yards in 15 plays on a drive that consumed 8:16 and ended with Brady's 5-yard touchdown pass to David Givens. At the end of the Colts next drive, Hunter Smith's 54-yard punt pinned New England back at their own 6-yard line. But it didn't stop them. The Patriots stormed down the field on a 14-play, 94-yard drive that ate up another 7:24. Dillon rushed for 35 yards and caught a pass for 9 on the drive, including a 27-yard run on third down and 8, while Brady finished it with a 1-yard touchdown run, gving the Patriots a 20-3 lead with just over 7 minutes left in the game. Then two plays after the ensuing kickoff, safety Rodney Harrison stripped the ball from Reggie Wayne and Bruschi recovered it, allowing his team to take more time off the clock. Indianapolis responded with a drive to the Patriots 20-yard line, but Harrison intercepted Manning's pass in the end zone with 10 seconds left.

The game-time temperature of 11 °F (−12 °C) made it the second-coldest game ever in Pittsburgh and the coldest ever in Steel City playoff annals. However, it was the Patriots that handed Ben Roethlisberger his first loss as a starter after a 14-game winning streak, the longest by a rookie quarterback in NFL history, as the Steelers became the second NFL team ever to record a 15-1 record and fail to reach the Super Bowl. The Patriots converted four Pittsburgh turnovers into 24 points, while committing no turnovers themselves. The Patriots' win also prevented an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl from being played.

The Steelers never recovered from their poor performance in the first quarter. Patriots defensive back Eugene Wilson intercepted Roethlisberger's first pass of the game on his own 48-yard line, setting up Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. Pittsburgh responded with a drive to the Patriots 39-yard line. But then running back Jerome Bettis lost a fumble while being tackled by Rosevelt Colvin and linebacker Mike Vrabel recovered it. On the next play, Tom Brady threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to receiver Deion Branch.

With 1:28 left in the first quarter, the Steelers cut their deficit to 10-3 with Jeff Reed's 23-yard field goal. But after an exchange of punts, Branch caught a 45-yard reception on Pittsburgh's 14-yard line. Two plays later, Brady threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to David Givens. Then on the Steelers ensuing drive, safety Rodney Harrison intercepted a pass from Roethlisberger and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown, giving the Patriots a 24-3 halftime lead.

In the second half, the teams scored three consecutive touchdowns. New England was forced to punt on the opening drive of the third quarter, and Antwaan Randle El returned the ball 9 yards to the Steelers 44-yard line. Then on the Steelers ensuing possession, he caught two passes for 46 yards as they drove 56 yards in five plays. Bettis finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, cutting their deficit to 24-10. New England responded by moving the ball 69 yards in seven plays and scoring with Corey Dillon's 25-yard touchdown run. But Pittsburgh stormed right back, driving 60 yards in ten plays and scoring with Roethlisberger's 30-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward. Then after forcing a punt, Randle El returned the ball 22 yards to the Steelers 49-yard line. On their ensuing drive, Ward's 26-yard reception on the last play of the third quarter set up Reed's second field goal, making the score 31-20 with 13:32 left in the game.

However, the Patriots took over the rest of the quarter. They responded with a 49-yard drive that took 5:26 off the clock and ended with Vinatieri's 31-yard field goal. Then two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Wilson intercepted another pass from Roethlisberger at New England's 45-yard line. The Patriots subsequently marched down the field on another long scoring drive, taking 5:06 off the clock. Branch capped it off with a 23-yard touchdown run on a reverse play, giving the Patriots a 41-20 lead. The Steelers responded with Roethlisberger's 7-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress on their next drive, but by then there was only 1:31 left in the game.

Brady completed 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dillon rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown. Branch caught 4 passes for 116 yards, rushed for 37 yards, and scored two touchdowns. Roethlisberger threw for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns, and rushed for 45 yards, but was intercepted 3 times. Ward caught 5 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

On the first drive of the game, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb fumbled while being sacked by New England linebacker Willie McGinest, and the Patriots recovered the ball at Philadelphia's 34 yard line. Fortunately for the Eagles, coach Andy Reid's instant replay challenge overruled the fumble; officials ruled that McNabb had been down by contact before the ball came out of his hands. Later in the quarter after each team had punted twice, McNabb completed a 30-yard pass to Terrell Owens, with a roughing the passer penalty adding 9 yards, moving the ball inside the Patriots 20 yard line. However, linebacker Mike Vrabel sacked McNabb for a 16-yard loss on the next play. On the following play, the Eagles once again appeared to turn the ball over: McNabb's pass was intercepted in the end zone by Patriots defensive back Asante Samuel, but it was nullified by an illegal contact penalty on linebacker Roman Phifer, moving the ball back inside the 20 and giving the Eagles a first down. However, McNabb's second chance was wasted as he threw an interception to safety Rodney Harrison on the next play.

The Eagles defense then forced New England to a three-and-out on their ensuing possession, and Philadelphia got great field position by receiving the punt at the Patriots 45 yard line. But once again, they gave up another turnover: tight end L.J. Smith lost a fumble while being tackled by defensive back Randall Gay, and Samuel recovered the ball at the 38.

The Eagles defense once again forced New England to punt, and got the ball back at their own 19 yard line. Aided by a pair of completions from McNabb to receiver Todd Pinkston for gains of 17 and 40 yards, the Eagles drove 81 yards in 9 plays and scored on McNabb's 6-yard touchdown pass to Smith, taking a 7–0 lead with 9:55 left in the second quarter. It was the first time New England trailed during the entire postseason. On their ensuing drive, the Patriots moved the ball to the Eagles 4-yard line, mainly on plays by Corey Dillon, who caught two screen passes for 29 yards and rushed for 25. But quarterback Tom Brady fumbled the ball on a fake handoff and Philadelphia defender Darwin Walker recovered it. However, the Eagles could not take advantage of the turnover and had to punt after 3 plays. Eagles punter Dirk Johnson's punt went just 29 yards, giving the Patriots the ball at Philadelphia's 37 yard line. The Patriots then drove 37 yards to score on Brady's 4-yard pass to receiver David Givens with 1:10 remaining in the period, tying the game 7–7 by halftime. It was only the second halftime tie in Super Bowl history and the first time both of the game's first 2 quarters ended tied.

On the opening drive of the second half, Patriots receiver Deion Branch caught 4 passes for 71 yards on a drive that ended with Brady's 2-yard pass to Vrabel, who lined up at the tight end spot on the play. The Eagles later tied the game with 3:39 left in the third period with a 74-yard, 10-play drive that was capped by McNabb's 10-yard touchdown pass to running back Brian Westbrook. For the first time in Super Bowl history, the game was tied going into the fourth quarter.

Early in the final period, the Patriots put together a 9-play, 66-yard scoring drive that was keyed by 3 plays from running back Kevin Faulk, who caught 2 passes for 27 combined yards and rushed once for 12. Dillon capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Patriots a 21-14 lead. Then after forcing another Eagles punt, Branch's 19-yard reception and a roughing-the-passer penalty on Philadelphia defensive lineman Corey Simon set up kicker Adam Vinatieri's 22-yard field goal with 8:43 left in the game to increase the score 24–14.

The Eagles responded by advancing to the New England 36-yard line on their next drive, but it ended with no points after linebacker Tedy Bruschi intercepted a pass from McNabb at the Patriots 24-yard line. After forcing New England to punt, Philadelphia got the ball back at their own 21-yard line with 5:40 left in the game.

The Eagles failed to recover their ensuing onside kick attempt. The Patriots then played it safe by running the ball 3 times and forcing Philadelphia to use all of its timeouts. New England punter Josh Miller then pinned the Eagles back at their own 4-yard line with just 46 seconds left in the game. Philadelphia then tried one last desperate drive to win or tie the game. But on first down, McNabb was pressured into making a rushed pass to Westbrook at the line of scrimmage. Instead of dropping the pass to stop the clock, Westbrook made the mistake of catching the ball and was immediately tackled for no gain, keeping the clock running and forcing the Eagles to run back to the line of scrimmage for their next play with no huddle. On second down, McNabb threw an incomplete pass intended for Owens. Finally on third down, McNabb threw a pass that went just over the outstretched fingertips of Smith and into the arms of Harrison for an interception with 9 seconds left, sealing the victory for the Patriots.

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Sav Rocca

Saverio Rocca on field pregame at Eagles at 49ers 10-12-08.JPG

Saverio "Sav" Giovanni Rocca (born 20 November 1973) is an all-round sportsperson who is currently an American football punter for the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League.

While he is notable as converting from professional Australian rules football to professional American Football, he is most notable for his Australian rules football career. During his time in the Australian Football League, he became one of the greatest goalkickers in the history of the competition. In a career which spanned 14 years between Collingwood and North Melbourne Football Clubs, he ended up 13th in the AFL all-time goalkicking records. While he averaged just under 3 goals a game, he was noted more for his ability to kick accurately from great distances which ultimately led to his trial for the Eagles.

Saverio is the older brother of Anthony Rocca and for a brief time in their careers, they both played for Collingwood, combining at centre half and full-forward.

When he converted to American Football he made the history books as the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL, taking the mantle from fellow Australian Ben Graham.

A big man who was junior athletics champion in shotput, Rocca was recruited to Collingwood in 1991. He was a strong full-forward with a huge kick, showing true signs as a key player to the Magpies in his debut season of 1992. In 1993 however, he quickly got the attention from the crowds, kicking 73 goals including two hauls of 10 goals in a matter of 3 weeks, and the following season 49 goals.

A huge kick, he could kick the ball dead straight over 60 metres - a spectacular sight for Magpies fans. In 1995 he had his best season, almost getting 100 goals, falling short with 93 in only 21 games. He played a massive game in the traditional ANZAC Day clash, kicking 9 goals, and he bagged another 10 goals weeks later against the Crows. He also chipped in at the top of the table in the Pies best and fairest award. He continued to show he was a strong full-forward and always at the top in what seemed a disappointing side when it came to the ladder, he kicked bags of 66, 76 and 68 in the next 3 seasons, with him coming second in the Coleman Medal for 1997 behind Tony Modra.

His form however slipped, kicking only 60 goals in the next two seasons, despite winning his 7th consecutive leading goalkicker award in 1999 with only 33 goals, he was delisted after more than 150 games and over 500 goals for the club.

Despite being delisted, he was drafted to North Melbourne, where he made a new beginning. He was experienced and looking older, but he was only 27 when picked up and was seen to have plenty of years left in him standing in the goalsquare. He was successful kicking 98 goals in his first two seasons, enough to be the Roos leading goalkicker on each occasion. His form once again slipped over the years, but he was still a key member when needed, he has kicked his 700th goal in 2005, and set to play game 250.

During the 2006 season, Rocca was overlooked for selection by coach Dean Laidley for many Kangaroos games despite admirable form, including a bag of 6 goals in a 77-point loss to Collingwood where he was one of the few players to put in a solid performance.

He was given little game time and was dropped after Round 5, where he returned to the VFL with North Ballarat. In his first game with the Roosters he booted 7 goals straight, but was again left out of the senior Kangaroo side.

Rocca sustained a hamstring injury in round 10 of the VFL. In his 6 VFL games up to that time, he had averaged 4.83 goals.

At 32 and under contract until the end of the season, Rocca seemed close to retirement from the AFL. In preparation for a continued professional sporting career, he began training as an NFL punter, appearing in a video shot at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne showing his immense kicking range to talent scouts. Rocca remained at the Kangaroos to reach the 100 game milestone so that the father-son rule applies for his family.

In an emotional farewell in the Round 22 match against his old club Collingwood, Rocca booted 3 goals. Wasting no time, he left for the United States on a trial as a gridiron punter with the Philadelphia Eagles the following Tuesday.

Rocca had tried out for the Buffalo Bills in 2006 but was not invited to training camp. Philadelphia, looking to provide some competition for Dirk Johnson signed Rocca for the 2007 training camp.

In the Eagles preseason, Rocca had several punts of over 50 yards and another that went over 65 yards. On the 65-yard punt, Antwan Barnes of the Baltimore Ravens leveled Rocca, knocking off his helmet. While officials did not penalize Barnes during the game, the league fined him US$12,500 for the hit.

On the final day of cuts, Rocca learned that he had won the job when Johnson was released.

Rocca averaged 42 yards per punt during his first NFL season in 2007.

Rocca, at 33 years of age, was the oldest rookie in NFL history, a title which previously belonged to another Australian born Punter, Ben Graham who at the time played for the Jets at age 31.

Rocca was named NFL special-teams Player-of-the-Month for September, 2008, leading the league with a 44.1-yard net punting average and downing seven punts inside the 20-yard-line.

Rocca resides in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey during the season and Preston, Australia in the offseason with his wife Rose, and sons Matthew and Lucas. Rose works as a nutritionist.

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Koy Detmer

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Koy Dennis Detmer (born July 5, 1973 in San Antonio, Texas) is an American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. He was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round of the 1997 NFL Draft. He played college football at Colorado.

Koy Detmer played at Mission High School. He led the Eagles to the 5A playoffs in 1990 and 1991. The 1990 team lost in the semifinals against eventual state champion Aldine Mustangs (54-21). With Koy Detmer at quarterback, Mission High established a state record with 4,829 passing yards for a season in 1990. He held other passing records that have been broken with the evolution of the spread offense.

At Colorado, Detmer threw for 5390 yards, second-most in school history.

Up until his release in August 2006, Detmer had played his entire career in Philadelphia. He spent most of his career as a backup to quarterback Donovan McNabb and as the place-kick holder for David Akers. His action as a starter was limited to five games in the 1998 season, one game in the 2002 season (in which he was injured and had to leave the game after throwing 2 TDs and rushing for another), and the 2004 season finale against Cincinnati which the Eagles lost.

Detmer was released after the Eagles signed former Eagle A. J. Feeley as the backup and moved punter Dirk Johnson into the role of kick holder. He was re-signed on January 2, 2007 by the Eagles to provide a third QB for the team's playoff push. He was also re-signed to be the kick holder for the Eagles.

Detmer had his NFL career extended for a few days by signing with the Minnesota Vikings on November 6th, 2007. The Vikings needed a second quarterback behind Brooks Bollinger while Tarvaris Jackson and Kelly Holcomb recovered from injuries. Detmer was reunited with Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress who previously was with the Eagles as the Offensive Coordinator. Detmer's stint with the Vikings was his first professional experience not in an Eagle uniform. But the Vikings released Detmer on November 10, 2007, apparently because Holcomb had recovered sufficiently to play.

In 103 NFL games, Detmer has a career passer rating of 61.2 with 10 career touchdowns and 14 interceptions thrown.

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Source : Wikipedia