The Atlanta Falcons had the Patriots on the ropes. But they lacked the killer instinct needed to win.
Every top player in the NFL is in peak physical shape. The difference in size and speed between different teams is almost negligible. So winning comes down to coaching and mental toughness. And in Superbowl 51 the New England Patriots had the edge in both – an edge just big enough for them to win.
The Falcons dominated the first half, throwing and running the ball at will. Matt Ryan seemed to be capping off his MVP season with a perfect Superbowl performance.
It was all looking so good for Atlanta. But the Falcons ran out of steam at the worst possible moment.
After taking such a massive lead, Atlanta seemed to let up just a tiny bit – more than enough for Belichick and Brady to mount an epic comeback.
The Falcons lacked a killer instinct, and couldn’t put the Patriots away.
The Patriots trailed by as much as 25 points (28-3), and needed two back-to-back touchdowns and two-point conversions to tie it up and force the first overtime in NFL history.
No team had ever come back from more than a 10-point deficit in the Superbowl, let alone a 25 point hole.
But the Patriots did.
With ruthless efficiency they clawed their way back.
Patriots win first ever #Superbowl overtime
Winning the coin toss in overtime, Brady marched the Patriots down the field. A pass interference penalty on Atlanta’s two yard line gave the Pats a golden opportunity. After a dangerous throw by Brady, Pats running back James White punched it through and completed the Patriots stunning comeback.
Patriots players, coaches, and staff stormed the field, the confetti dropped, and the Falcons tried to make sense of what had just happened to them.
With the win, Brady and Belichick become the first QB and coach to win 5 Superbowls. Each also gets a sense of satisfaction, as the Patriots felt under siege by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after he suspended Brady 4 games for the “Deflategate” controversy.
Goodell had to praise the Patriots and hand Pats Owner Bob Kraft the Superbowl. All while getting booed by 80,000 people.
The Patriots revenge is now complete.
Of the Superbowls I’ve watched, this one was the most entertaining ever.
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