“It was a good game.“
My mother is a damn smart woman, and can turn a hell of a phrase. Her deadpan, in-depth analysis of Super Bowl LI is undeniably the best way to describe Super Bowl LI.
I don’t want to go too far into the details of how the Falcons blew a 25-point lead while in the third quarter of a game which they, to that point, had never lost control.
I will take some time to mention how this was the first Super Bowl to require an extra period of play to determine a champion. That’s correct. This one went to overtime. After 60 minutes, the 28-28 score was even, but all momentum was squarely with the Patriots.
I’ll avoid heralding Tom Brady as one of the better quarterbacks of the Super Bowl era. Jimmy Garrapolo is unquestionably more proficient. And I won’t mention the awkwardness of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as he handed Patriots owner Robert Kraft the Lombardi trophy after the conclusion.
I will say the Boston/New England area continues to have an absolutely ri-god-damn-diculous amount of success in athletics, winning their tenth championship of the four major sports in this millennium. Five rings for Brady and head coach Belichick is nothing to scoff at.
It’d be too extensive to give a play-by-play of the comeback. Suffice it to say, the Atlanta mistakes were numerous. Some may say play-calling was the issue, as the Falcons only ran the ball 5 times after getting their 25-point lead. I say they simply failed to capitalize on the opportunities presented to them.
As is the case in most Super Bowls since 1995, there was a particularly spectacular reception that helped decide the fate of the game. In fact, there were two. Julio Jones had a step-tap sideline reception with about 4 minutes to go, which put the Falcons in field goal range and offered the chance to go up 11 points with too little time for New England to work with. The Patriots defense stiffened, sacking MVP Matt Ryan and making the best of a holding call, to push them back out.
On the other side of the ball, Julian Edelman, you know what, just WOW. Go. Find it on YouTube. If you’re a fan of the game of football, concentration, hacky-sack, incredulous acts, or any combination of those things, it should amaze you. The additional context makes it more impressive.
Aside from the first overtime game, some other Super Bowl records were broken, including the most receptions—by James White of the Patriots. ESPN will say that Brady also broke some record, but his first half is already being forgotten by Patriot fans. This included the first pick-six in his postseason career. His second half was the masterpiece.
The previous best comeback in Super Bowl history was 10 points. Atlanta entered halftime up 21-3, and initially added more in the second half. The final score was 34-28, in favor of New England. Largest deficit: 25.
All told, it was indeed a good game at the highest of stages.