A tale of two halves: Patriots win Super Bowl LI, 34-28


Super Bowl LI was record breaking in many ways. The New England Patriots pulled off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28, coming back from 25 points down to win the game. This was the largest deficit in Super Bowl history. Previously, no team had ever come back from a deficit greater than 10.

Super Bowl LI marked the first overtime Super Bowl ever, and marked the fifth time that the New England Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick were named Super Bowl champions.

If any game cemented the legacy of the New England Patriots dynasty, this was the one. When the Patriots were 19 points down, the win probability for the Falcons according to ESPN was over 96 percent. And yet, just as they have done numerous times under Brady and Belichick, they found a way to come back, scoring 31 unanswered points, with Brady setting the record for most passing yards in a Super Bowl with 466 yards, and executing back-to-back two-point conversions to force overtime.

After this Super Bowl, Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback of all-time may be undisputed. He has five Super Bowl championships, the most by any quarterback. He has four Super Bowl MVPs, the most all-time by any player. He has made seven Super Bowl appearances, more than any other quarterback in NFL history.

This season, despite playing just 12 games due to a four-game suspension because of DeflateGate, Brady managed to throw for over 3,500 yards, 28 touchdowns and two interceptions, all at the age of 39. He has made it to the postseason in all but one year as the starting quarterback of the Patriots (back in 2002), has made it to the conference championship roughly 70 percent of the time, and has made it to the Super Bowl in roughly half his seasons.

No other quarterback in NFL history has put up numbers compared to Brady.

Belichick now has the most Super Bowl wins by any coach ever, with five wins. He owns the record for the two largest fourth quarter comebacks in Super Bowl history, as at Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks, the Patriots came back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Since becoming the coach of the Patriots in 2000, Belichick has only missed the postseason three times, and still managed to go 11-5 in 2008 even when Tom Brady missed 15 games with a torn ACL.

Including his time as an assistant coach with the New York Giants, he has won seven Super Bowl rings, and with this Super Bowl win against the Falcons, possibly made his case as the greatest coach in NFL history.

As a head coach, Belichick now has the same number of championships as Vince Lombardi (five), and has more appearances in the championship game (seven) than Lombardi (six). On top of all of that, Belichick is doing this in an era with a salary cap, free agency, an expanded postseason and 18 more teams in the league.

If Super Bowl LI proved anything, it proved that Brady and Belichick cemented their legacies as the all-time greatest at their respective positions.

Brady’s ability to score on the final five drives and lead his team to 31 unanswered points for a successful and record-breaking comeback, makes Super Bowl LI hard to top. Additionally, not many coaches would, time and time again, be able to get his team to a position to accomplish this task.

While Super Bowl LI may have been the greatest Super Bowl of all time due to the comeback, the catches by Julio Jones and Julian Edelman in the fourth quarter, and even the halftime show by Lady Gaga where she entered the stadium from the roof of NRG Stadium, there were highlights for all.

Campus Chronicle
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