In researching my column for Sunday's Charlotte Observer on New England's frantic 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl played Feb.1, 2004, I ran across some interesting numbers regarding John Kasay's infamous out-of-bounds kickoff that came after Carolina tied the score 29-all deep in the fourth quarter.
Here's an excerpt from my column about the game -- the column is about far more than the kickoff, but I thought you'd find this interesting:
I've always maintained that Kasay's gaffe wasn't the single play the game should be remembered for, though, as some Panther fans seem so anxious to do.
You know where New England had started its four previous drives, on average, when Kasay kicked off? From its own 27. Kasay's errant kick meant the Patriots got the ball at their own 40. We're talking about 13 lousy yards.
In "The Ultimate Super Bowl Book" - a book notable for its excellent research - author Bob McGinn notes that only 45 of 2,435 kickoffs went out of bounds in the 2003 season (1.8 percent). Kasay had kept 77 of his 78 regular-season kickoffs in play.
Yes, Kasay messed up. It probably gave New England the equivalent of about one first down.
OK, enough with the excerpt. You can read the entire column if you want, or you can totally forget about the painful memories from that Super Bowl and just enjoy(?) today's Patriots-Panthers matchup. One upset already: it's not supposed to snow.