The New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl. At this point, no one should really be shocked by that anymore.
Super Bowl LI will mark the ninth time the Patriots play in the big game, which is a new NFL record. Seven out of those nine appearances have come under the tutelage of head coach Bill Belichick and were started by his golden quarterback, Tom Brady.
The team suiting up in white this Sunday bears some understandable similarities to the Patriots' last championship roster, since their most recent Super Bowl victory came just two years ago at Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. However, these Patriots also bear an uncanny resemblance to a much earlier squad -- the Patriots of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.
The championship game for the 2003 season was held on February 1, 2004 in -- you guessed it -- Houston, Texas. The Patriots showed up two years removed from a Super Bowl win, just as they're doing this season.
In Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Patriots were up against a team from the NFC South that posted an 11-5 record during the regular season. New England's regular season record was 14-2.
In Super Bowl LI, the Patriots will be up against a team from the NFC South that posted an 11-5 record during the regular season. New England's regular season record was 14-2.
Weirded out yet? There's more. Take a look at these stats via ESPN:
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 25, 2017
We know history tends to repeat itself, but that's just uncanny.
Tom Brady is the only player left from the dynastic Patriots of the early 2000s, but a win this weekend would put his current crew in the history books right alongside the memorable 2003 team.