In 2002, the Patriots were a Cinderella team. Then they won Super Bowl XXXVI, and a dynasty began

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after their win over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans on February 3, 2002.

    (CNN)The Patriots weren't supposed to be in this Super Bowl -- much less win it.

    No, in 2002, at Super Bowl XXXVI, it's probably safe to say no one expected a Patriots dynasty to begin. Not with 24-year-old Tom Brady, a sixth-round draft pick in 2000, starting the 2001 season as a backup quarterback, and Bill Belichick, who had a losing record in his first six seasons as an NFL head coach with the Cleveland Browns and New England.
    In 2019, it's still perilous to count out the Patriots -- even with Brady now 41 years old and Belichick at 66. Super Bowl LIII will be the ninth -- ninth! -- Super Bowl appearance for the duo.
      But 17 years ago, New England was not a team that NFL fans around the country envied -- or loved to hate.
      At age 24, Brady won Super Bowl MVP -- the first of four in his illustrious career.