There are game-changing moments every so often. Not just moments that impact a single outcome, but moments that change the sport — change the way it’s played and perceived. When Bill Belichick’s Patriots faced the LA Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, it was one of those games (and the beginning of the Patriots’ dynasty). So great was Super Bowl XXXVI’s impact that QB great and current commentator Ron Jaworski chose it as one of seven such seminal moments for his book The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays.
What made it so special, and why is it relevant today? Belichick’s defensive schemes stunted a Rams offense (nicknamed “the greatest show on turf”) that was considered unstoppable, winning 20-17 while holding the Rams to 3 points through 3 quarters. That Rams offense is the closest thing to today’s Falcons offensive machine that Belichick and the Patriots have faced in their seven Super Bowl appearances. The chapter in Jaworski’s book is called: Bill Belichick’s “Bull’s-Eye” Game Plan. But Belichick also says the secret is preparing week by week, specifically for what they face. Never repeating or relying on the same. And of course Marshall Faulk, the Rams great running back, won’t play in 2017. Where will Belichick put his Falcons bull’s-eye? Readers of Jaworski’s book may get some insight.