The Most Improbable Championship: the 2001 New England Patriots

By Mike Gleason
for NFLSportChannel.com

Published: January 8, 2010

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... back, it's hard to appreciate just how absurd the 2001 Super Bowl championship Patriots season was.

This was a team that had gone nowhere in 2000 and looked to be going nowhere once again. The Pats had made moves, to be sure, but they were all veterans on the downside of their careers (Bryan Cox, Otis Smith, Roman Phifer), players who hadn't done anything yet (Mike Vrabel, David Patten), and castoffs (Antowain Smith, Jermaine Wiggins).

In fact, they opened the season by losing to the woeful (as in "just coming off a solid decade of losing seasons" woeful) Cincinnati Bengals. (Though the Bengals did go on to post an 8-8 record that year behind Jon Kitna. Go figure.)

Then came the events of Sept. 11, and everything was thrown into chaos. The nation, looking for something to distract itself from an ever-darkening world outlook, turned...

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