It’s 11:48 p.m.
I finally have the energy, and the capacity to sit myself down and begin to try and organize my thoughts about what just happened. If you asked me what I was going to write about at 9 p.m., it would have looked much different than what’s going to come out on paper now, but here goes nothing.
That was the greatest football game I have ever seen in my life. Absolutely nothing tops it. For a long time I was convinced that Malcolm Butler intercepting Russell Wilson to win Super Bowl XLIX was going to be the highest football high for me. But when James White crossed the goal line to win the first ever overtime game in Super Bowl history, I felt something even better; it was extreme joy, but more importantly, vindication.
But that’s a story for another time. This is about the game and the New England Patriots pulling off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. No other team has come back from such a deficit in a Super Bowl. In a moment when everyone, including myself was ready to call it quits, that’s when greatness is born, that’s when GOATs are born. Tom Brady did just that.
From Atlanta’s first snap, the first half was absolutely dismal for the Patriots. The offense was flat, Brady was overthrowing receivers and receivers were dropping open passes. The Falcons’ offense, which I knew was the real deal before kickoff, blew everyone away. Once Julio Jones broke free, he was unstoppable. Devonta Freeman was eating us alive. The Patriots had no answers, and 21 straight points was proof of that. When Brady threw that pick-six to Robert Alford to put Atlanta up 21-0, my body went numb. I couldn’t move and for the first time all season I doubted this New England Patriots team. Shame on me.
Even at the beginning of the second half, the Pats’ chances looked bleak, a no-score on the first drive and Atlanta went on to put up seven more points to make the score 28-3. Hold on because now it gets good. Finally, finally the Patriots find the endzone and my immediate thought was ‘ok, we won’t get embarrassed but I can’t see us coming back.’ Then, Gostkowski missed the extra point and all my fear an anxiety came crawling back. Clock ticks down in the third quarter and now the Patriots, with possession, begin the fourth quarter looking at a 28-9 deficit, nobody in the history of the NFL has ever come back from such a deficit. Well, nothing’s impossible when you have Tom Brady.
This is where my emotions lost control. Every once in a great while in this wonderful world of sports, moments are created that will last a lifetime. Every Patriots fans remembers it, it makes my skin crawl every time I see them. David Tyree 2007, Mario Manningham 2012, Jermaine Kearse 2014 (didn’t matter anyways) and then, Julio Jones. Not again. With the Patriots now only one score away from tying it, a defensive stop gives the Pats a chance to tie it up. When Jones made that grab over Eric Rowe to put the Falcons in field goal range, I sank in my chair, how many times are we going to fall for this same trap? It’s like a nightmare that just keeps haunting you. But all of a sudden, the Falcons started to fall apart. A sack and a holding call pushed the Falcons out of field goal range and were forced to punt the ball back to New England. Is this happening? Is the luck finally on our side? I stood up, I was back in it.
Remember when I mentioned the four catches? Well mention the name David Tyree to me again and I’ll raise you a Julian Edelman. You re-create that scene 1000 times and that ball hits the ground 999 times. Catch of the season, of the year, of the century, hell the greatest catch in NFL history. Move over Odell Beckham Jr. The broadcast shortly after played the infamous helmet catch and then Edelman’s grab and all of a sudden, I felt it. They can do this. They’re going to pull this off.
That grab ultimately led to another touchdown, White’s first of the evening. I didn’t move a single muscle. It mean’t nothing unless we got the two-point conversion. Danny Amendola secured the tie and my heart began to pound out of my chest. Could not sit still.
There was no way they were losing now, they we’re going to finish this. Matthew Slater with the call of the year gets the heads call right on the coin toss and the Pats get the ball to start overtime. Here. We. Go.
I honestly don’t remember anything from that drive and don’t care to at this point in time except the final play. Oh the irony. The first play from scrimmage by the Atlanta Falcons was a toss play to Freeman that he broke loose for a 38-yard run to start to drive, and Atlanta looked dominant for a majority of that point forward. The last play of the game, well it was a toss play to James White, and the Patriots shocked the world.
And that was it, Brady wins his fifth ring on the most monumental comeback NFL football has ever seen. Words don’t even do it justice, this is my knee-jerk thoughts on this whole thing but there’s no amount of words to describe the joy, the hearbreak, the doubt and vindication I felt all in that one game. The New England Patriots are world champions for the fifth time. Unreal. Go Pats.