Volume 95, Issue 69

Tuesday, February 5, 2002
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Women get cold treatment on ice

It's not the rim's fault!

The strength of the human heart

The strength of the human heart

For whom the bell tolls
Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

It couldn't happen.

The New England Patriots couldn't possibly beat the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams' vaunted attack – 'The Greatest Show on Turf' – had Kurt Warner, the National Football League's Most Valuable Player and his speedy crop of wideouts. They had Marshall Faulk, the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year. They had a new, polished defense – something they lacked two years ago. They had an intelligent coaching staff in Mike Martz and Lovie Smith. They had Super Bowl experience.

Yet, on Sunday night, football fans stared wide-eyed at their television screen as Patriot kicker Adam Vinatieri booted a near flawless 48-yard field goal to propel the Patriots to their first Super Bowl championship.

And the moment I watched the kick sail through the uprights I realized, along with probably every other supposed sports expert, that I truly know nothing.

I will definitely be putting my tail between my legs for the next few weeks. For I was one of the arrogant "experts," spreading the gospel of the St. Louis Rams.

The film industry makes countless movies about the strength of the human heart. Russell Crowe was a pillar of heroism when he single-handedly destroyed the Emperor of Rome in Gladiator.

Jimmy Chipwood, 'the greatest player in Indiana high school history,' shot the pint-sized Hickory Cornhuskers to the Indiana high school state championship in Hoosiers.

And Denzel Washington brought a racially divided town together through sport in Remember the Titans.

Sport captures the fascination of human emotion – and it's refreshing to know classic fairy tale stories like the ones we witness at our local cinemas actually do exist.

The story that was written Sunday night was about a young quarterback, calm and collected beyond his years, leading a team that didn't have a prayer of fulfilling their childhood dreams.

"Mission Impossible" for the Patriots would be the perfect game.

They were able to escape the first quarter virtually unscathed. The Rams offense is so explosive that if the Patriots could keep the score in check, the Rams would become frustrated and the Patriots would build some much needed confidence. The score was 3-0 for the Rams at the end of the first quarter.

Mission accomplished.

The Patriots had to minimize their mistakes and come up with some big plays at opportune times. Patriot quarterback Tom Brady threw for a minuscule 145 yards, but made no mistakes, unlike Warner, who threw two interceptions, one of which Ty Law returned for a touchdown.

Mission accomplished.

The Patriots special teams had to flex their muscle. Vinatieri obviously bolstered this aspect of their game with his heroics, as well as another made field goal. The Patriots average kick return yardage was five yards greater than the Rams and Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins missed one field goal – one field goal that would have meant overtime.

Mission accomplished.

The Rams would probably beat the Patriots nine games out of ten, but who is calling themselves Super Bowl champions right now.

Miracles actually do happen.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002