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The More Things Change, the More Brady and Belichick Stay the Same

Shoulder pads have become lighter by as much as 50 percent over the past 10 to 15 years. Advances in technology and design, increased emphasis on speed and an eagerness to give opponents less to grab onto were all factors in the rise of the more streamlined pads.

The result is a sleeker, more athletic look for the game.

Goodbye, Metrodome

U.S. Bank Stadium, site of Sunday’s game, did not exist in 2005; it wasn’t until 2013 that ground was broken on the stadium that replaced the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

The home of the Super Bowl in 2005, Alltel Stadium (named after a mobile network), is still there in Jacksonville, Florida, but is now called EverBank Field (after a financial services company).

In all, eight N.F.L. teams are playing in stadiums built since 2005.

What Is a Catch? Who Knows?

It’s not true that football, or anything else, really, was a lot simpler in the old days. But it sure seems like catching a football has become more complicated since 2005.

Catch. No Catch. You Make the Call

Here are seven times this season that fans were baffled by a ruling. See if you can make the right call.

A catch that looks a lot like a catch is ruled not a catch because the catcher doesn’t hold the catch after he hits the ground — even if that ground is the end zone.

Goodell has said he wants to revisit the rule in the off-season, so perhaps, in this way, the clock will be turned back to 2005.

The Up-and-Down Eagles

The Eagles quarterback then, Donovan McNabb, was on a run of five straight Pro Bowl seasons and was also a popular Chunky Soup pitchman alongside his mother, Wilma. He never made it back to the Super Bowl and moved on to a broadcasting career.


Former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb never made it to another Super Bowl after the game in 2005.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

His coach, Andy Reid, made it eight more years in Philadelphia but was finally dismissed after a 4-12 season. He landed with the Chiefs and has four playoff appearances in five years but no Super Bowls.

Last month, McNabb was suspended by ESPN in the face of sexual harassment allegations.

The Eagles’ current head coach, Doug Pederson, was in his final season in the league in 2005, as a backup for Brett Favre with the Packers.

New Faces on Both Sidelines

No Eagles remain from the 2005 squad, though current punter Donnie Jones (Seattle) and the injured Jason Peters (Buffalo) were in the league at the time.

Which brings us to …

As Always, Belichick and Brady

The duo was already well-established by the Super Bowl in 2005: Brady was in his fourth year as starter and Belichick in his fifth as coach.


Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have won two more Super Bowls together since defeating Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

Jeff Haynes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As The Times wrote after the Patriots’ 24-21 victory:

“This is the lasting image of a team lording it over the National Football League, Brady in control of an efficient machine seemingly without defect.” The Patriots’ run was said to have been “forged by a coach without peer.”

No one would blink to see the same words written again this weekend.

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