Records tumbled at the NRG Stadium as Tom Brady inspired the Patriots to the most unlikely of victories.
Atlanta Falcons were 25 points to the good halfway through the third quarter of the 2017 Superbowl.
Never before had they ever won the Vin Lombardi Trophy, with their only previous appearance at the NFL mega-event coming way back in 1994.
Their opponents couldn’t have been more of a polar opposite. The New England Patriots had won the Superbowl four times previously, with this being their record ninth appearance at the spectacle.
Patriots quarterback Brady and head coach Bill Belichick both brought a lot of invaluable experience of this enormous event to the playing field. They had both been involved in each of New England’s Superbowl victories, but this time they looked helpless, as the Falcons overpowered them for almost an hour in Houston.
However, a costly fumble from Atlanta’s Matt Ryan proved to be the catalyst that sparked a quite remarkable comeback. Within a blink of an eye the game had gone from 28-3 to 28-28 (thanks to a 19-0 fourth quarter for New England) and as a result, the Superbowl went into overtime for the first time in its 50-year history.
Brady was now finding his range, and he consistently got the Patriots’ offence deeper into Atlanta territory. It was to be New England’s running back James White who eventually rushed in for the match-winning touchdown – making it 34-28 on the scoreboard. Victory sent the team, coaches and fans into raptures after most had been staring into the barrel of defeat not so long before.
The records had tumbled; no team had ever come back from such a deficit to win the Superbowl before. Brady became the first quarterback to win five Superbowls and the first ever NFL player to be awarded the Superbowl MVP award on four occasions. His passing yards of 416 were the highest ever recorded in the spectacle’s history and Belichick also became the most successful coach at the event, with five victories to his name.
I doubt any of those previous wins had felt sweeter than this one.
Brady had missed the first four games of the regular season whilst he served out the Deflategate suspension the NFL had imposed on him for his role in the infamous scandal, so this victory was the fairy-tale ending to a season that started like a nightmare for the 40-year-old.
Above all, victory in Houston further cemented the claim that the New England Patriots have had the best quarterback, the best coach and the best roster out of any of the NFL Franchises since the turn of the century.