By Danny Emerman (Online Editor-in-Chief).
Super Bowl 51 was a game of “greatests.” The greatest quarterback and the greatest coach of all time teamed up to win arguably the greatest football game ever played to cap off the greatest sports year ever.
“Two years ago we won our fourth Super Bowl down in Arizona and I told our fans that was the sweetest one of all,” Patriots owner Bob Kraft said after the game as commissioner Roger Goodell handed him the Lombardi Trophy.
“But a lot has transpired during the last two years, and I don’t think that needs any explanation… This is unequivocally the sweetest,” Kraft added.
A lot has transpired during the last two years.
An all-out witch-hunt coordinated by the commissioner, endless hours spent in the courtroom, a four-game suspension, unconfirmed Gisele/Brady divorce rumors, Galynn Brady’s cancer diagnosis; Tom Brady and the Patriots organization have endured it all.
No, Kraft didn’t smash the trophy over Goodell’s head. Brady didn’t spit on his shoes. Like always, they were all class and let the trophy speak for itself.
In the first ever Super Bowl that required more than four quarters to decide, numerous records—team and individual—were broken.
Brady’s fifth Super Bowl ring and fourth MVP award cement him as the best quarterback to ever throw a football. He threw a record 62 pass attempts for a record 466 yards.
According to Sports Illustrated, When it was 28-3, Tom Brady Sr. sent this to a family group text: “This is gonna be the greatest comeback ever.” He was right.
James White’s 14 receptions broke a Super Bowl record and his three touchdowns made him the surprise hero of the game.
The game had everything imaginable: a failed wide-receiver pass trick play, a direct snap two-point conversion, a ridiculous Julio Jones tiptoe catch, a missed PAT, and even a fake kneel to end regulation.
Most memorably, star receiver Julian Edelman completed an impossible grab (deemed “The Immaculate Gritception” by internet personality PFT Commenter) on the Patriots’ drive to send the game into overtime.
“One of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen,” Brady said after the game. “I don’t know how the hell he ever caught it.”
As the Patriots, who scored 31 unanswered points to complete the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, showered in blue and red for the fifth time in 16 years, New England was in a state of collective shock.
After Tevin Coleman’s six-yard touchdown reception with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter, the Patriots were mathematically doomed, down 28-3. No team had ever come back from more than 10 points in the Super Bowl.
“I felt like I got punched in the gut,” senior Sam Bunis said. “I was a little bit hopeless, but there was a tiny, tiny glimmer that Tom Brady would do something special,” he added.
That “tiny, tiny glimmer” of hope equated to a .5% win probability, according to ESPN.
Did the Patriots comeback, or did the Falcons choke? Why did the Falcons only run the ball four times with a 21 point lead?
Yet again, in the greatest sports city in the world, we get to say, “Cue the Duckboats.”