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Super Bowl XXXIX: Where Are They Now?

By: Tucker Bagley, Sports Talk Philly staff 

Contrary to what many of the headlines are saying, this Sunday's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots isn't exactly a rematch.

Only one Patriot from Super Bowl XXXIX is still in the NFL and only one Eagle was even in the NFL at the time, (Jason Peters). In fact, the only thing that really remains the same from Super Bowl XXXIX is the uniforms each team will sport on Sunday night.

As for the actual participants of that 13-year-old contest, here's a look at what some of them have been up to since their paths crossed on a February evening in Jacksonville.


Quarterbacks

Donovan McNabb

Then: McNabb was finishing his best season as an Eagle, setting career-highs in completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns and passer rating. The sixth-year signal-caller had an up-and-down Super Bowl, throwing for 357 yards and three touchdowns, but also tossing three interceptions, including one to Rodney Harrison in the closing seconds of the game.

Now: After spending another five seasons in Philadelphia, McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins. He spent one year in the Nation's Capital Landover, Md. before finishing his career as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 2011. After retiring from football, McNabb enjoyed a fairly successful career in broadcasting, but he was fired from his job at ESPN earlier this year amidst sexual harassment allegations. 

Tom Brady

Then: By 2004, Brady had graduated from glorified game manager to bonafide franchise quarterback. The New England quarterback threw for 236 yards and two scores against the Eagles, while also posting his personal best mark in passer rating for a Super Bowl.

Now: In the 13 years since Super Bowl XXXIX, Brady's legend has grown immensely. He has five championships, two NFL MVP Awards and has been named to the Pro Bowl a whopping 13 times, including every season since 2010. At age 40, Brady also ranks fourth in NFL history in passing yards and third in passing touchdowns.


Coaches

Andy Reid

Then: Reid led to the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game every year from 2001-2003, but he finally broke through in 2004 by beating the Atlanta Falcons for the first time in his career. From 2000 to 2004, Reid's Eagles compiled a 59-22 record and finished in the top five in point differential in each of those seasons.

Now: Big Red was let go by the Eagles following a dismal 4-12 performance in 2012, but the coach landed on his feet in Kansas City. Reid's Chiefs have made the postseason in four of his five seasons. However, the 19-year head coach has yet to make it back to the Super Bowl since losing in 2004.

Bill Belichick

Then: 2004 represented Belichick's third championship in four seasons and his second straight regular season with a 14-2 record. 

Now: Belichick's 18-year run in New England has brought the franchise unprecedented success. Not only does New England have five championships under Belichick, but they have seven conference championships, 15 division titles and haven't finished a season with a losing record since 2000. Much like Brady, Belichick has carved out a place for himself in the Hall of Fame once he decides to retire.


Key Contributors

Terrell Owens

Then: In 2004, T.O. was a cult hero in Philadelphia. After racking up 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns, Owens broke his leg in Week 15 against the Cowboys and missed the rest of the season. However, the wide receiver played in the Super Bowl with a screw in his surgically repaired leg and caught nine passes for 122 yards.

Now: Despite his popularity, Owens quickly wore out his welcome in Philadelphia and played just seven more games for the Eagles before being released by the team following the 2005 season. Owens spent time with the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals before retiring from football in 2010. Despite ranking second in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns in NFL history, Owens remains omitted from the Hall of Fame.

Deion Branch

Then: Despite posting just 454 receiving yards in the 2004 regular season, Branch torched the Eagles, catching 11 of his 12 targets for 133 yards on his way to winning Super Bowl MVP. Branch is the only Patriot not named Tom Brady to win the award.

Now: Since retiring from football in 2012, Branch has started the Deion Branch Foundation, which benefits children who suffer from meningitis. 

Greg Lewis

Then: Lewis was a second-year receiver who caught just 17 passes in the regular season, but he caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from McNabb in the final minutes of the Super Bowl to cut the Patriots' lead down to three. He remains the only Eagles' wide receiver with a touchdown catch in the Super Bowl.

Now: Lewis retired from football in 2010 and has since turned to coaching. He was the wide receivers coach a numerous colleges before being hired by the New Orleans Saints in 2015. The Eagles hired Lewis in 2016, but he was released after one season and has since latched on with the Chiefs.

Mike Vrabel

Then: Vrabel was an outside linebacker for the Patriots, but was sometimes used as a receiver during goal-line situations. He caught a two-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to give the Patriots a 14-7 lead. Vrabel also recorded a sack in the game and he remains the only player in NFL history with a sack and receiving touchdown in a Super Bowl, a feat he also accomplished a year earlier against the Carolina Panthers.

Now: After being named the Houston Texans' defensive coordinator in 2017, Vrabel was hired as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans a few weeks ago. 

LJ Smith

Then: Smith was a second-year tight end who caught just 34 passes in the regular season, but scored five touchdowns. Smith's touchdown catch early in the second quarter of the Super Bowl gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead. However, it wasn't all great for Smith as he dropped a pair of passes and he tipped the ball to Harrison on the final interception.

Now: Smith last played in the NFL in 2009 and since retiring he has opened a Plato's Closet in New Jersey and also completed his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University.

Corey Dillon

Then: After spending the first seven years of his career in Cincinnati, Dillon rushed for 1635 yards in 2004 for New England and his fourth quarter touchdown run gave the Patriots a 21-14 lead they would never relinquish. 

Now: Dillon has pretty much disappeared from the public eye since retiring from football. However, he has been making some headlines lately for mending his relationship with the Bengals organization and criticizing the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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