By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been 13 years since the Patriots and Eagles played in Super Bowl XXXIX, and a whole lot has changed in the world since New England won its third title in franchise history back on Feb. 6, 2005.
When the two teams kick off Super Bowl LII in two weeks, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will be the only holdovers from that previous title bout. The duo is going for their sixth title together and looking their third Super Bowl in four years for the second time of this dynastic run. As for other Patriots who played in that 24-21 New England win, only Adam Vinatieri is still kicking around the league. Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison are now talking pigskin on television, while Vince Wilfork is grilling up ribs. Former linebacker Mike Vrabel had a touchdown that Sunday in Jacksonville, but he is now the newly minted head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Most of Brady’s current teammates were entering their teenage years when he threw for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Eagles. Linebacker James Harrison had just finished his second NFL season.
When Brady took the field for Super Bowl XXXIX, he was dating Bridget Moynahan and still eating pizza.
Life was changing for all of us, but it was still a lot more simple back in 2004-05. Super Bowl commercials only cost $2.4 million for a 30-second spot, less than half of what it’s going to cost this year. ESPN still showed highlights (though Max Kellerman was still shouting about Brady falling off a cliff). Not everyone had a cell phone, and those who did were usually flipping them open and wasting time playing snake. There was no such thing as a data plan, with most of the added expenses on your monthly bill coming from the flurry of text messages people shot out when they didn’t feel like actually talking to someone. The iPhone was still two years away, and though iTunes was out in 2001, people were still listening to CDs. That is, as long as they weren’t downloading their music/infecting their computers with Napster or Limewire. Usher’s Yeah! featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon was the top song of 2004, with Usher’s Confessions the top-selling album of the year.
Facebook was only for college kids when the Patriots beat the Eagles, and YouTube was a few weeks from launching. Twitter was still years away, which was a good thing for Eagles wide receiver Freddy Mitchell. There’s no doubt Fred-Ex would have been a social media sensation, because he always had something to say. He probably would have quit yapping after the Super Bowl if Twitter was around, catching only one pass in the Philadelphia loss after he spent the week prior discrediting New England’s dominant secondary. He went as far to say he “had something” for Harrison, who actually ended up catching more passes from Donovan McNabb that day. Mitchell getting roasted on the field was nice, but social media would have been fantastic that Sunday evening.
When the Patriots paraded through Boston a few days after their victory, it cost less than $2 a gallon to fill them up (though it was just six months away from ballooning to the $3 mark). Those aquatic vehicles had taken the Boston Red Sox through the streets just a few months prior after a band of idiots broke an 86-year-old “curse.” But it wasn’t all happiness in Boston sports that year. Doc Rivers led the Celtics to the playoffs in his first year on the bench, but their season ended in the first-round after a disappointing series against the Indians Pacers, getting blown out in Game 7 at the FleetCenter. The Bruins didn’t win a game that year, though no team in the NHL won anything thanks to yet another work stoppage. The Spurs were kings of the NBA that summer, and LeBron James (in his second NBA season) was still a year away from making his playoff debut.
When Boston fans weren’t celebrating another title, they filled their time by waiting for their latest Netflix disc to arrive in the mail. Or they could just go to their local Blockbuster, which was still in business. On television, a band of plane crash survivors on a mysterious island were the talk at the water cooler, along with a bunch of housewives who were desperate and an eccentric doctor named House. Dunder Mifflin and Paddy’s Pub were still a few months away from opening their doors in the state of Pennsylvania.
On the big screen, Shrek 2 had dominated theaters throughout 2004 by grossing nearly a billion dollars worldwide. There were only three Harry Potter movies out when the Super Bowl was played and Tobey MacGuire was still a respectable Spider-Man. Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby cleaned house at the Oscars just a few weeks after the Patriots officially stamped themselves as a dynasty, earning gold statues for Best Picture, Best Actress (Hillary Swank) and Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman). Jamie Foxx’s performance as Ray Charles in Ray earned him just about every Best Actor award that year.
If people weren’t watching TV, they were likely reading The Da Vinci Code for the second or third time. Or playing their Xbox, Playstation 2 or Nintendo GameCube with friends.
Times were certainly different 13 years ago. All that really remains the same is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick taking the Patriots to the Super Bowl. And that never gets old (at least in New England).