Maybe Next Year

Maybe Next Year It was another heartbreaking loss for Philadelphia sports fans, as a late Eagles rally fell short and the New England Patriots won, 24-21, in Super Bowl XXXIX.

The Patriots take their third Super Bowl title in four years.

The game was the first Super Bowl contest tied after three quarters. But the defending world champions dominated play for most of the final quarter to win the championship.

The Patriots took a 24-14 lead over the Eagles in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard Corey Dillon run and an Adam Vinateri field goal.

Then, Donovan McNabb hit Terrell Owens on a long pass but then threw an interception to Tedy Bruschi to stop the Eagles comeback drive.

Owens made a remarkable comeback from an ankle injury, with 9 catches for 122 yards.

But McNabb was inconsistent for most of the evening, throwing three interceptions and having an interception and a fumble negated by officials.

After getting the ball back after his second interception, McNabb hit Greg Lewis on a 30-yard pass to pull the Eagles within three points.

The Eagles got the ball back but McNabb was intercepted for the final time with seconds left on the clock.

The Patriots used a strong running game and efficient defense to finally shut down the game Eagles, who fought New England all night long but were undone by mistakes and big plays by the Patriots.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Patriots ran the ball down the field on a tired Eagles run defense after the Birds tied the game on a Donovan McNabb to Brian Westbrook 9-yard pass late in the third quarter.

The Patriots had moved out to a 14-7 lead on the Eagles on a Tom Brady pass to Mike Vrabel to start the third quarter.

After an Eagles' punt, the Birds defense held the Patriots on downs and then McNabb lead the Eagles the length of the field to tie the game at 14.

Brady hit David Givens on a 4-yard pass to tie the game near the end of the first half. Givens' touchdown pass was set up by a poor Dirk Johnson punt.

The Eagles scored first on a 7-yard pass McNabb pass to L.J. Smith at the start of the second quarter.

Philadelphia, playing in its first Super Bowl since 1981, looked a bit shaky at the start. The Eagles turned it over twice in New England territory, along with having a fumble overturned by replay and another interception nullified by a penalty.

But McNabb finally got Philly to the end zone, capping a nine-play, 81-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to L.J. Smith. The receiver got caught up in traffic and ended up in a coverage mismatch with New England linebacker Roman Phifer.

Owens fulfilled his vow to start the Super Bowl, going against his doctor's recommendation. Playing with a metal plate and two screws in his right ankle, Owens caught three passes for 46 yards in the first half.

His biggest reception was a 30-yarder over the middle, which ended with him flapping his arms. A personal foul left the Eagles with first-and-goal at the New England 8, but they couldn't score.

Brady also had a big fumble deep in Philadelphia territory, the result of a botched handoff with Kevin Faulk. Darwin Walker came out of the scrum with the ball for the Eagles.

The Patriots responded quickly to Smith's touchdown. Corey Dillon broke off a 25-yard run before Brady threw the scoring pass to Givens, who got free in the right side of the end zone.

After Owens' big catch, McNabb was thrown for a 16-yard loss. Then, Asante Samuel intercepted a pass in the end zone, but the Eagles caught a break. A defensive holding penalty nullified the play, leaving them with an automatic first down at the 19.

McNabb followed with another terrible pass, this one intercepted by Rodney Harrison at the 4.

Late in the first, the Eagles lost the ball at the New England 38. Smith caught a pass over the middle, but Randall Gay knocked the ball loose and Eugene Wilson recovered for the Patriots.

McNabb also fumbled while getting sacked on Philadelphia's first offensive series. But the Eagles challenged, and the replay showed that McNabb had a knee down before he lost the ball.

The Philadelphia fans cheered wildly, even though their team still had to punt it away.

The Eagles, whose last NFL title came in 1960 (seven years before the first Super Bowl), gave themselves a chance to win another by breaking a streak of three straight losses in the NFC championship game.

After the teams headed to their locker rooms, rock star Paul McCartney took the field for the halftime show. The league was determined to avoid a repeat of Janet Jackson's embarrassing "wardrobe malfunction" from a year earlier, and McCartney kept his end of the deal in a four-song set that featured fireworks, flashlights and flashbulbs.

The only wardrobe issue occurred when McCartney took off his black pinstripe jacket, revealing a red shirt with a star in the middle.

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Author: NBC10/AP

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