A look at the 12 Boston champions since 2001
There have been epic heroes like Tom Brady (pictured) and unlikely ones like Steve Peace. There has been high drama (2016 Super Bowl) and easy romps (2007 World Series). Wins over historic rivals (2008 NBA Finals) and barely-known foes (2011 Stanley Cup finals).
It's been a magical ride.
And the golden age of Boston sports, started 17 years ago on an unforgettable night in New Orleans, rolls on. The Patriots' latest Super Bowl championship, their sixth since 2001, is the 12th won by Boston's major sports team in that span.
A look at them all . . .
NO. 1: PATRIOTS WIN 2001 SUPER BOWL
PATRIOTS 20, RAMS 17
February 3, 2002 at New Orleans Superdome
Two weeks removed from the Snow Bowl (or, as its known to the rest of the country, the Tuck Rule Game), the Patriots dynasty begins in earnest. Tom Brady starts building his legend with the first of his Super Bowl-winning last-second drives, and Adam Vinatieri (pictured) starts building his with the first of his Super Bowl-winning-as-time-expires field goals.
NO. 2: PATRIOTS WIN 2003 SUPER BOWL
PATRIOTS 32, PANTHERS 29
February 1, 2004 at Reliant Stadium in Houston
Vinatieri (pictured) kicks the second of his Super Bowl-winning-as-time-expires field goals, capping the second of Brady's Super Bowl-winning last-second drives. The game is an underrated classic, a nasty back-and-forth battle that members of both teams call the most physical game they ever played. Carolina might have pulled off the upset had coach John Fox not started chasing points way too early -- two missed two-point conversion attempts may well have cost the Panthers the game -- and the final, fatal mistake came when John Kasay pushed his kickoff out of bounds after his team had tied the game 29-29 with 1:08 left. That put Brady in business at the New England 40 and the rest, as they say, is history.
NO. 3: RED SOX WIN 2004 WORLD SERIES
RED SOX BEAT CARDINALS, FOUR GAMES TO NONE
Clinching victory: Sox 3, Cardinals 0 on October 27, 2004 at Busch Memorial Stadium
"Red Sox fans have longed to hear it!" Joe Buck told the nation -- a more lyrical coda than Joe Castiglione's oft-uttered "Can you believe it?" -- and hear it they did: The Boston Red Sox were World Series champions, breaking an 86-year championship drought with a four-game sweep of St. Louis. But the Series seemed more like a victory lap than a real competition, since the epic, historic ALCS comeback over the Yankees had truly erased what came to be known as The Curse. Things have never been the same since.
NO. 4: PATRIOTS WIN 2004 SUPER BOWL
PATRIOTS 24, EAGLES 21
February 6, 2005 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville
Arguably the least memorable of the Pats' six Super Bowl titles, it's known more today for Donovan McNabb (pictured) upchucking on the field -- or so legend has it -- in the fourth quarter. But it was the Patriots' second Super Bowl title in a row and only six other teams (the Packers, Dolphins, Steelers, 49ers, Cowboys and Broncos) have done that, and it was their third in four years and only one other team (the Cowboys) has done that. It was the win that helped establish New England's true place in history. That's more than enough to remember, we suppose.
NO. 5: RED SOX WIN 2007 WORLD SERIES
RED SOX BEAT ROCKIES, FOUR GAMES TO NONE
Clinching victory: Sox 4, Rockies 3 on October 28, 2007 at Coors Field
Another anticlimactic World Series (if there can be such a thing). The Rockies were the Cinderella team of the year and perhaps of all time, winning 21 of their last 22 games -- including sweeps of the Phillies in the NLDS and Diamondbacks in the NLCS -- in advancing to their first World Series. But they had an eight-day layoff after finishing off Arizona, the longest in MLB postseason history, and had turned back into a pumpkin by the time the Series started. The Sox, meanwhile, had pulled off another improbable ALCS comeback, erasing a 3-1 deficit in beating the Indians. And, as was the case in '04, the World Series proved to be a much easier challenge.
NO. 6: CELTICS WIN 2008 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP
CELTICS BEAT LAKERS, FOUR GAMES TO TWO
Clinching victory: Celtics 131, Lakers 92 on June 17, 2008 at TD Garden
If you have 10 hours to kill, click this link. (Yes, it's actually a 10-hour loop of Kevin Garnett screaming, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!") But Celtics fans wouldn't mind. Nor would they mind reliving that 39-point humiliation of the Lakers in Game 6, which turned the night -- and well beyond -- into one of the biggest parties you'll ever see. The Big Three, unfortunately, wouldn't win another, though it can be argued that injuries (to Garnett in 2009 and Kendrick Perkins in 2010) cost the C's a chance for a three-peat. A 39-point beatdown of L.A. in the deciding game isn't a bad consolation prize, though.
For more on the '08 Celtics, check out the Anything Is Podable podcast.
NO. 7: BRUINS WIN 2011 STANLEY CUP
BRUINS BEAT CANUCKS, FOUR GAMES TO THREE
Clinching victory: Bruins 4, Canucks 0 on June 15, 2011 at Rogers Arena
"Get the duckboats ready!" was added to the Boston sporting lexicon on this night, courtesy of the great Dave Goucher on the Bruins radio broadcast. Tim Thomas (pictured) is probably more remembered now for his right-wing political leanings than his hockey playing, but he had a playoff run for the ages in 2011 and he, more than anyone, is the reason this banner hangs from the TD Garden rafters. The Canucks proved to be delicious villains, with the whining Sedin twins and the biting (of fingers) Alex Burrows and the dastardly Robert Luongo complaining that Thomas didn't give him his props. ("I didn't know it was my job to pump his tires," Thomas responded, creating yet another phrase we still use today.) The final victory in Vancouver, with Canucks players literally crying on the ice when it was over, made the B's first championship in 39 years all the more satisfying.
NO. 8: RED SOX WIN 2013 WORLD SERIES
RED SOX BEAT CARDINALS, FOUR GAMES TO TWO
Clinching victory: Sox 6, Cardinals 1 on October 30, 2013 at Fenway Park
Out of the unspeakable tragedy of the Marathon bombings rose a team that gave a grieving region a rallying point. David Ortiz's "This is our f--king city!" proclamation became our defiant response, and from there the Red Sox were the central figures of the "Boston Strong" movement -- a phrase coined by catcher Jarod Saltalamacchia -- that carries through to this day. That those Sox would go on to win a championship seemed only fitting.
NO. 9: PATRIOTS WIN 2014 SUPER BOWL
PATRIOTS 28, SEAHAWKS 24
February 1, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium
Malcolm Butler's time in New England would not end well . . . but oh that beginning! Tom Brady and the Pats had made the greatest Super Bowl comeback in history to that point, erasing a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a four-point lead with just over two minutes to play, but another miracle opposition catch -- this one by Jerome Kearse -- seemed to set up the Pats for the same kind of Super Bowl heartbreak they'd suffered against the Giants in 2007 and 2011. And then Butler made arguably the most dramatic Super Bowl play ever: Reading a formation he'd been beaten on in practice. cutting the route, making the interception, and giving the Pats their first title in 10 years.
NO. 10: PATRIOTS WIN 2016 SUPER BOWL
PATRIOTS 34, FALCONS 28, O.T.
February 5, 2017 at NRG Stadium, Houston
Different name but same stadium as the 2003 Super Bowl . . . and a game that surpassed the '03 gem, and all that came before it. A 28-3 deficit in the third quarter? A 28-12 deficit in the fourth? A 90-yard drive in the closing two minutes? Not one, but two two-point conversions to tie the game? Overtime? What could ever match this?
NO. 11: RED SOX WIN 2018 WORLD SERIES
RED SOX BEAT DODGERS, FOUR GAMES TO ONE
Clinching victory: Sox 5, Dodgers 1 on October 28, 2018 at Dodger Stadium
They won 108 games in the regular season. They beat the Yankees in four games in the ALDS. They beat the defending World Series champion Astros in five games in the ALCS. Yet they still had their doubters, at least locally. And then, even after suffering a gut-wrenching 18-inning loss that seemed to throw the outcome in doubt, they closed out the Dodgers in five. Seems fitting that David Price -- yes, local punching bag/butt of every stupid joke imaginable David Price -- won twice in the series, including the clincher on three days' rest. They didn't leave the haters much to chew on.
NO. 12: PATRIOTS WIN 2018 SUPER BOWL
PATRIOTS 13, RAMS 3
February 3, 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta
The Bill Belichick-as-defensive-genius talk has taken a hit in recent years, but the Patriots won this Super Bowl -- their sixth, tying them with Pittsburgh for most in history -- by completely flummoxing Rams quarterback Jared Goff and holding an offense that averaged 32.9 points per game in the regular season to a single field goal. Stephon Gilmore's late interception clinched it, but it was just the last in a series of great plays on the defensive side of the ball. Tom Brady was hardly Brady-like, but he managed to author his sixth fourth-quarter-or-later game-winning drive in a Super Bowl. GOAT, indeed.