(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.