After 20 consecutive Patriots victories, the New York Giants narrowly topped Bill Belichick's team to win one of the most dramatic Super Bowls in league history. They were, however, the most fascinating and compelling football team of the 21st century.
They lost the following week to the Tennessee Titans before winning their final two preseason games, all 16 regular-season contests and their first two postseason matchups.The Pats were built upon depth and a middle class of talent, with just two of their players -- Brady and Ty Law -- making more than million during the 2004 season.They were portrayed as the contrast to the me-first attitude of players such as Terrell Owens and Freddy Mitchell in advance of that Super Bowl. 24, 2005, was in awe of Brady's living large despite his "third-string personality."Even as the Patriots fell short of the Super Bowl in 20, they didn't appear to have a reputation as much more than a very good football team.The story quickly ballooned and eventually included destroyed videotapes, a threatened Congressional investigation, and an endless stream of present and former players who had opinions to share about what happened.The story polarized any discussion surrounding New England, particularly as it became clear that the 2007 Patriots were a special football team on the field.