Super Bowl XXXIX — Eagles and Patriots

By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Super Bowl XXXIX took place on February 8, 2005 at Alitel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida between the defending champion New England Patriots 17-2 coached by Bill Belichick and the Philadelphia Eagles 15-4 coached by Andy Reid.

It was a battle between two of the NFL’s most dominant coaches both of whom are still coaching today.

Reid’s offensive coordinator was Brad Childress, his defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and notable assistants were John Harbaugh as special teams coach and Sean McDermott the assistant defensive backs coach.

They were led on offense by Donovan McNabb who threw for 3875 yards and 31 touchdowns, all-purpose back Brian Westbrook (812 rushing yards, 3 TD’s, 703 receiving yards, 6 TD’s, 1575 total yards, 9 TD’s), Terrell Owens (1200 receiving yards, 14 TD’s) and place kicker David Akers who made 27 of 32 field goal attempts.

The defense was led by Michael Lewis with 90 combined tackles, Javon Kearse (7.5 sacks) and Lito Sheppard (5 interceptions).

The Patriots who were appearing in their third Super Bowl in four years had as their offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss and defensive coordinator Romeo Crenel. They were led on offense by Tom Brady (3692 passing yards, 28 TD’s), former Bengal Corey Dillon (1635 rushing yards, 12 TD’s), receivers David Patten (800 yards, 7 TD’s) and David Givens (874 yards, 3 TD’s).

Adam Vinatieri was their field goal kicker who converted 31 of 33 attempts.

In what proved to be a defensive battle the first quarter was scoreless. The Eagles scored the first points of the game in the second quarter on a touchdown pass from McNabb to L. J. Smith for six yards which was set up by a 40 yard completion to Todd Pinkston.

The Patriots answered with a four yard touchdown pass from Brady to David Givens and the score as halftime was 7-7.

The Patriots took the lead in the third quarter starting on their own 31 yard line and going down the field for a two yard touchdown pass from Brady to Mike Vrabel.

Donovan McNabb however responded with a touchdown pass of his own to Brian Westbrook for ten yards and the score was even at 14 each going into the fourth quarter.

Starting as his own 29 yard line Tom Brady took his team down the field culminating in a two yard touchdown run from Corey Dillon and the Pats are up 21-14 with just over thirteen minutes left in the game.

Adam Vinatieri kicked a 22 year field goal with eight minutes left in the quarter and the Patriots lead 24-14.

The Eagles answered with a TD with 1:55 left in the game as Donovan McNabb found Greg Lewis for a 30 yard score and the Eagles are within three at 24-21.

The Patriots were unable to run out the clock and the Eagles got the ball back with 46 seconds left but starting at their own four yard line they could not advance the ball and on their third play McNabb was intercepted by Rodney Harrison which basically ended the game with the Patriots winning 24-21 for their third Super Bowl victory in four years all of which were won by three point margins, provided by an Adam Vinatieri field goal in each game.

Deion Branch got the game MVP as the Eagles would be back in the Super Bowl in 2018 and the Patriots were back in 2008.

Five of Andy Reid’s assistants, Brad Childress, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Pat Shurmur and Steve Spagnuolo went on to head coaching positions in the NFL.

Statistics for this article were from football-reference.com.

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.