The New England Patriots, behind on the scoreboard most of the game, playing lethargically and not in their usual rhythmic style, overcame a big third quarter deficit to come back and tie the game in the last minute at 28-28 forcing the first overtime in Super Bowl history.
Tom Brady, seemingly out-of-sync for most of the first three quarters, showed why he is referred to as the greatest quarterback in National Football League history–emphasized after the game by none other than Terry Bradshaw. He is the only quarterback to win five Super Bowls, breaking the tie of four each with Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s. He has also won four Super Bowl MVP awards, most for any player.
Never had a team come back from more than ten points down in the greatest game of them all. New England entered the fourth quarter down 28-3, a deficit deemed impossible to overcome, unless you are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots–calm, confident, methodical.
Tom Brady was drafted in 2000 in the sixth round, 199 overall, from Michigan. Robert K. Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, now says it is the best thing the team has ever done. Guess so with five NFL Championships–Super Bowl wins–in the Coach Bill Belichick / Tom Brady era.
The Patriot’s capitalized on several Atlanta penalties and misplays scoring twenty-five unanswered points in the fourth quarter tying the game.
New England won the coin toss–heads–and chose to receive. One had to wonder, with the momentum the Patriots had built in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, if Atlanta would even touch the football in Overtime. They did not! New England marched down the field 75 yards on eight plays, scoring on James White’s 2-yard touchdown run. Game over.
New England’s experience in such games as this proved too much for a feisty Atlanta, who, for three quarters, gave New England all they could handle, but in the final analysis did not have the experience to win it. The Patriots held the ball for 40 of 60 minutes, ran more than 90 offensive plays, and exhausted the Falcons defense to the point that the 4th quarter was all New England–typical Coach Belichick.
The stunned Atlanta Falcons stood in shock when the final score flashed on the boards–34-28!
After the game, Brady was asked how he did it, how he was able to bring the Patriots back after the big deficit. “We all brought each other back,” said Brady, Super Bowl M.V.P. for a record fourth time. “We never felt out of it.”
Postscript: N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell, booed heartily by the fans, shook hands with Brady on the sidelines after the game. Ironic considering the “Deflategate” fiasco resulting in his suspending Brady for the first four games of the 2016 season.