The New England Patriots are plenty familiar with University of Phoenix Stadium. The team famously won Super Bowl XLIX there on a last-second interception of Russell Wilson two years ago. They also suffered one of the most improbable defeats in Super Bowl history when Eli Manning, David Tyree and the New York Giants ended their perfect season in the desert back in 2008.
It was business as usual in the AFC East last season, as New England won its seventh straight division title on its way to playing in a fifth straight conference championship game. Should we expect anything different this year? Perhaps since it’s a given that Tom Brady will miss the first four games of the season and the Patriots also traded away their best pass rusher in the offseason (Chandler Jones).
The calendar has turned to July, which means it’s almost time for the NFL to get back to business. The regular season doesn’t start until Sept. 8, but teams will open training camp later this month, officially starting the path for what eventually will lead to Super Bowl LI in NRG Stadium in Houston on Feb. 5, 2017.
Four-time Super Bowl champion Adam Vinatieri, 43, certainly knows a thing or two about big games.
The 20-year veteran kicker holds the NFL record for career postseason points scored (234) and has delivered time and again in high-pressure, high-profile situations. Vinatieri split the uprights on a 48-yard field goal to win Super Bowl XXXVI. Two years later, he won another Super Bowl by kicking a 41-yarder. The infamous “Tuck Rule” game? Won on a field goal by you-know-who.