2002 New England Patriots Season
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2002 New England Patriots Season

2002 New England Patriots season
Head coachBill Belichick
OwnerRobert Kraft
Home fieldGillette Stadium[1]
Division place2nd AFC East
Playoff finishDid not qualify
Pro BowlersSpT Larry Izzo
CB Ty Law
SS Lawyer Milloy
DT Richard Seymour
K Adam Vinatieri
C Damien Woody
AP All-ProsK Adam Vinatieri (1st team)

The 2002 New England Patriots season was the franchise's 33rd season in the National Football League, the 43rd overall and the 3rd under head coach Bill Belichick. They finished with a 9-7 record, good enough for second in the division but not a playoff berth. It was their first season at their new home field, Gillette Stadium, which replaced the adjacent Foxboro Stadium.

Following their victory in Super Bowl XXXVI seven months earlier, the Patriots played their first game in the new Gillette Stadium in the NFL's prime-time Monday Night Football opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a win for the Patriots. After an additional two wins to begin the season, including a 44-7 road win against the division rival New York Jets, the team lost five of its next seven games, allowing an average of 137 rushing yards a game during that span. In the final week of the season, the Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins on an overtime Adam Vinatieri field goal to give both teams a 9-7 record. A few hours later, the Jets, who defeated the Patriots the week prior, also finished with a 9-7 record with a win over the Green Bay Packers. Due to their record against common opponents, after the Jets won the tiebreaker for the division title, both the Patriots and Dolphins were eliminated from the playoff contention.[2] As of 2018 this is the last season the Patriots failed to win at least 10 games. It also marked the only time a Tom Brady-led Patriots team failed to win their division or make the playoffs.


Additions Subtractions
TE Cam Cleeland (Saints) QB Drew Bledsoe (Bills)
TE Christian Fauria (Seahawks) WR Terry Glenn (Packers)
WR Donald Hayes (Panthers) LB Bryan Cox (Saints)
DE Rick Lyle (Jets) WR Charles Johnson (Bills)
DT Brandon Mitchell (Seahawks)
TE Rod Rutledge (Texans)
CB Terrance Shaw (Raiders)

2002 NFL Draft

2002 New England Patriots Draft Selections
Round Overall Player Position College
1[3] 21 Daniel Graham Tight end Colorado
2 65 Deion Branch Wide receiver Louisville
4[4] 117 Rohan Davey Quarterback LSU
4[5] 126 Jarvis Green Defensive end LSU
7[6] 237 Antwoine Womack Running back Virginia
7 253 David Givens Wide receiver Notre Dame


All-blue uniform combination worn for games versus Packers and Broncos.

Opening training camp roster

At the time of the first public training camp practice at Bryant College on July 26, they had 79 players signed to their roster, one short of the NFL maximum of 80 players. The Patriots received five roster exemptions for the NFL Europe allocations of Mike Clare, Patrick Downey, Radell Lockhart, Scott McCready, and Maugaula Tuitele. Additionally, the Patriots allocated safety Mark Washington and cornerback Cecil Deckard to NFL Europe and received roster exemptions for them, but those players were waived before the start of training camp.

Throwback uniform worn for "Thanksgiving Classic" game versus Lions.


Regular season

Week Kickoff Date Opponent Result Record Game site TV Attendance
1 9:00 pm EDT September 9, 2002 Pittsburgh Steelers W 30-14 1-0 Gillette Stadium ABC
2 1:00 pm EDT September 15, 2002 at New York Jets W 44-7 2-0 Giants Stadium CBS
3 1:00 pm EDT September 22, 2002 Kansas City Chiefs W 41-38 (OT) 3-0 Gillette Stadium CBS
4 4:15 pm EDT September 29, 2002 at San Diego Chargers L 14-21 3-1 Qualcomm Stadium CBS
5 1:00 pm EDT October 6, 2002 at Miami Dolphins L 13-26 3-2 Pro Player Stadium CBS
6 1:00 pm EDT October 13, 2002 Green Bay Packers L 10-28 3-3 Gillette Stadium FOX
7 Bye
8 4:15 pm EST October 27, 2002 Denver Broncos L 16-24 3-4 Gillette Stadium CBS
9 1:00 pm EST November 3, 2002 at Buffalo Bills W 38-7 4-4 Ralph Wilson Stadium CBS
10 4:15 pm EST November 10, 2002 at Chicago Bears W 33-30 5-4 Memorial Stadium CBS
11 8:30 pm EST November 17, 2002 at Oakland Raiders L 20-27 5-5 Network Associates Coliseum ESPN
12 1:00 pm EST November 24, 2002 Minnesota Vikings W 24-17 6-5 Gillette Stadium FOX
13 12:30 pm EST November 28, 2002 at Detroit Lions W 20-12 7-5 Ford Field CBS
14 1:00 pm EST December 8, 2002 Buffalo Bills W 27-17 8-5 Gillette Stadium CBS
15 9:00 pm EST December 16, 2002 at Tennessee Titans L 7-24 8-6 The Coliseum ABC
16 8:30 pm EST December 22, 2002 New York Jets L 17-30 8-7 Gillette Stadium ESPN
17 1:00 pm EST December 29, 2002 Miami Dolphins W 27-24 (OT) 9-7 Gillette Stadium CBS

Notable games

The Patriots unveiled their first ever championship banner in pregame ceremonies on the opening of Monday Night Football for 2002. A Tom Brady touchdown to Christian Fauria was answered by a Kordell Stewart touchdown to Hines Ward, and the score was 10-7 New England at the half. In the third quarter the Patriots put the game away with Brady touchdowns to Donald Hayes and rookie Deion Branch; two Adam Vinatieri field goals secured the win despite a last-minute Steelers drive ending in a Stewart touchdown run on the final play; all the score did was reduce the Patriots' margin of victory to 30-14.

Of note this was commentator John Madden's first regular season game that did not feature an NFC team. He had worked at CBS and Fox for the NFC package from 1979-2001, and moved to MNF on ABC this season. Monday Night Football features teams regardless of conference affiliation.

After a scoreless first quarter the Patriots scored ten points in the second, then in the third erupted in points by their defense; Tebucky Jones hammered the ball from Vinny Testaverde and ran in a 24-yard touchdown, and later ex-Jet Victor Green picked off Vinny and ran in a 90-yard touchdown. A Deion Branch touchdown catch and Kevin Faulk rushing score polished off a 44-7 slaughter in which New York punter Matt Turk on a 14-yard scramble outrushed the entire Jets offensive backfield (Curtis Martin, LaMont Jordan, and Richie Anderson managed only nine rushing yards and the former Patriot Martin was stopped for no gain three times).

Tom Brady reached 400 passing yards for the first time in his career, and wound up needing them as the Chiefs clawed to a 17-9 lead in the third quarter on two Trent Green touchdown throws. Following the second Green touchdown the Patriots kicked it up several notches as Brady erupted to three straight touchdown throws and a 31-17 Patriots lead; the Chiefs fought back themselves as Priest Holmes began storming up and down the field, setting up another Green touchdown throw (to Eddie Kennison), then answering a 42-yard Antowain Smith touchdown with two of his own, the final one on the game's final play, leaving the score tied 38-38. The game thus went into overtime and the Patriots settled the issue on the extra quarter's only possession, whipping down field in 4:40 for Adam Vinatieri's 35-yard game winner and a 41-38 final.

A year after erasing a 10-point gap and thus launching a run to Super Bowl XXXVI, New England's team-record 11-game winning streak crashed to a halt at Qualcomm Stadium. The game lead changed or tied five times; Tom Brady touchdowns to Christian Fauria and linebacker/tight end Mike Vrabel were answered by a Drew Brees touchdown to Curtis Conway and two LaDanian Tomlinson rushing scores. Brady clawed the Patriots to the Chargers red zone twice in the fourth but was picked off in the endzone by Donnie Edwards and Ryan McNeil.

The second post-Super Bowl XXXI rematch with the Packers was no better than the first one in 1997, as Brett Favre threw for just 147 yards, but they led to three touchdowns while Tom Brady was bullied into three interceptions, Kevin Faulk botched a lateral, and Bobby Hamilton was almost the only member of New England's defense to show up, recording a four-yard sack. The Packers easily won the game, 28-10.

The 3-4 Patriots faced former franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe for the first time since trading him to the Bills after the 2001 season. Bledsoe had raced the Bills to a 5-3 start but the Patriots now found their championship moxie again. Brady threw three touchdowns while ex-Bill Antowain Smith rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown. Mike Hollis missed three field goal tries as the Patriots raced to a 38-7 win.

Another matchup with a former Super Bowl opponent took place in Champaign, Illinois, as renovation of Soldier Field forced the Bears to play their home games at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign area stadium. Chris Chandler was drilled in the head by Lawyer Milloy on a quarterback sneak and had to leave the game, replaced by Jim Miller. An exchange of field goals left the score tied at 6 after one quarter, then the Bears, trying to end a six-game losing streak, erupted to three touchdowns, one a 44-yard Marty Booker pass to Marcus Robinson. Kevin Faulk, smarting from criticism of the botched lateral the previous month, now surged to the front, catching a pair of Tom Brady touchdown catches only to be stopped by Brian Urlacher on a two-point conversion try. Trailing 30-25 in the final two minutes, Brady was picked off by Marcus Harrison; Harrison started upfield with the ball bobbling in his hands; Brady swatted it out of his hands and the Bears recovered. The play was initially ruled an interception, but it went to replay and the ruling was changed to an incomplete pass. Brady then completed a four-yard quarterback sneak, and on the next play barely escaped a sack to flip the ball to Faulk for a first down to the Bears 20. With 30 seconds to go Brady dodged Bears defenders and lofted a pass caught by David Patten; the catch went to review as it initially appeared to be out of bounds, but replay showed Patten dragged both feet in bounds (the replay was able to clearly show that both of Patten's feet kicked up endzone paint); the Patriots then completed a two-point throw to Troy Brown and the Bears' final drive petered out for a stunning 33-30 Patriots win.

Week 1 roster


AFC East
(4)New York Jets 9 7 0 .563 4-2 6-6 359 336 W2
New England Patriots 9 7 0 .563 4-2 6-6 381 346 W1
Miami Dolphins 9 7 0 .563 2-4 7-5 378 301 L2
Buffalo Bills 8 8 0 .500 2-4 5-7 379 397 W1

Final roster

Notes and references

  1. ^ "New Stadium Has Face Value". Hartford Currant. August 6, 2002. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ "New England 27, Miami 24, OT". Yahoo! Sports. December 29, 2002. Retrieved 2008.
  3. ^ The Patriots traded their first-, third-, and seventh-round draft picks to the Washington Redskins for the Redskins' first-round pick. Patriots.com summary. Archived May 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The Patriots traded fourth- and fifth-round draft picks to the Denver Broncos for the Broncos' fourth-round pick. The Patriots received the fifth-round pick in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Patriots' sixth-round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. Patriots.com summary Archived May 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ The Patriots received a fourth-round pick from the Green Bay Packers in a trade for Terry Glenn and a conditional pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Patriots.com summary Archived May 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ The Patriots traded a fifth-round pick to the Dallas Cowboys for the Cowboys' fifth- and seventh-round draft picks. Patriots.com summary Archived May 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

External links

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