Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure was a continual source of inspiration
for the New England Patriots during the 2001-02 season, as they rose
from being an average team in their league to Super Bowl champions.
Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick motivated the team with the true
story told in Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure: the story of polar
explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1916 Trans-Antarctic Expedition,
in which 28 men worked together to overcome obstacle after obstacle to
survive the nearly two years they were stranded in the Antarctic, with
no means of contacting the outside world.
After seeing Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure with his family at the
Museum of Science in Boston, Belichick scheduled a special screening of
the film for the Patriots, during the grueling summer training program.
He explained, "It certainly wasn't football, but many of the same
principles of endurance, courage, and teamwork apply to what we're
trying to accomplish during the most physically demanding time of the
football season: training camp." He later commented, "Sometimes you
have to put things in a context other than football."
On the eve of the AFC playoff game against the Oakland Raiders,
Belichick spoke about how he has used Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure
to inspire his team not just during training camp, but all season. At
the playoff game, during a blizzard reminiscent of the Antarctic, the
Patriots came from behind to defeat the Raiders in overtime.
Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady said that Shackleton's Antarctic
Adventure "told you that there are always going to be obstacles in the
way. You have to keep your faith, keep believing in each other, keep
working together, even if you think you're never going to make it."
Belichick said, "I had talked to the team about how it was going to be a
long season, that a lot would happen, and there will be obstacles along
the way. The bottom line was how those guys [Shackleton's crew members]
held together and supported each other. Guys had to give up things they
wanted for the good of the group."
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure tells the extraordinary true story of
polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated 1914-1916 British
Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. While never accomplishing its goal
of the first crossing of the Antarctic continent, this expedition has
become a testament to heroism and human endurance, with all 28 men
surviving nearly two years in the barren, frigid Antarctic when their
ship, the Endurance, was caught in pack ice and eventually crushed.
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure is a production of White Mountain Films
and NOVA/WGBH Boston, presented by Morgan Stanley.