By Rob Ficiur
A week after the event, the Super-est of all Super Bowls is still a remarkable comeback that fans will never forget (unless they cheer for the Atlanta Falcons)
I rarely watch more than a minute of the Super Bowl. For years I argued that the Grey Cup tended to have more exciting championships than the Super Blow Out (Bowl). When I saw that the New England Patriots were down 21-3 at half time there was no reason to flip to this channel again. This game was all but over.
Half an hour later, as I was chatting to my mom on the phone, I flipped channels with the volume muted. Finally, New England scored a touchdown – but then missed the extra point. Keep flipping the channels the score is 28-9. No team has ever come back from more than a 10-point deficit – so this game was still over.
Suddenly my TV seemed like it was on a different game. The Atlanta Falcons looked like a little league team playing against a Patriots team with a hall of fame roster. In the first half Tom Brady looked like he was 73 years old not 37. In the second half he played like he was an immortal superstar. Every time Tom Brady got the ball in the fourth quarter, he took the Patriots down the field and scored. When Atlanta came within field goal range, the New England defense followed a quarterback sack with an offensive holding penalty. Watching the comeback live is different than all the highlights and all the write ups. The impossible was happening right before your eyes, play after play.
When the New England Patriots tied the game 28-28, Super Bowl fans got a chance to witness the first ever overtime game. Interestingly the 2016 Grey Cup was the first time the CFL’s championship went into overtime. The team that wins the coin toss gets the ball first. When the red hot New England Patriots won the coin toss, it looked like the game was already over.
Sports fans are always wanting to declare a team, player or manager the best of all time. It is nearly impossible to compare one era to another. The following are five reasons this was the best Super Bowl ever.
1. Tom Brady won his fifth super bowl. The most won by any other quarterback in NFL history is three. Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw both won four.
2. Coach Bill Bellechuck won his fifth Super Bowl – the most for any coach in NFL history. Chuck Noll coached Pittsburgh to four Super Bowl titles.
3. Super Bowl 51 had its own history. Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the year by NFL commissioner Roger Godell. The August 2016 suspension was based on the inflate gate controversy from January 2015. Brady would not co-operate with Godells’ investigation. Several court cases and appeals later, Godell, won – and immediately suspended Tom Brady.
When the Patriots went 3-1 without Tom Brady, you knew they had a good team. If Hollywood script writers created a story where the NFL Commissioner (Roger Godell) had to hand the championship trophy to his arch enemy Tom Brady, viewers would cry foul. You can’t write something that impossible… then in real life it happened.
4. Commissioner Roger not popular – For years NHL fans have booed Gary Bettman whenever he awards the Stanley Cup. After 24 years on the job, Gary has had a chance to offend people across the hockey world. In his 11 years as NFL commissioner Roger Godell clearly out volumes Bettman in the boo’s. When he handed the Vince Lombardi trophy to the Patriots, the booing was louder than the cheers had been before.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was the first to speak after the trophy was handed over. No one ever told Kraft to “let by gones be by gones.” Kraft said that this team had gone through more challenges than any team before. He said we don’t have to mention what the challenge was (suspending Brady for ? of the season) but we overcame the roadblock. Sometimes when a team wins, they forget the frustration and anger they feel the boss – but in this moment of complete honesty – we know what the Patriots owner thought. Even I, the most casual of NFL fans, agreed with him.
5. The Super Bowl has effects in unexpected ways through social media. When the score was 28-3, Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard tweeted “I knew Atlanta would win btw.”
John Goehrke a 20 year old University of Missouri student replied “@geniebouchard if patriots win we go on a date?” Agreeing to this possible blind date was a safe bet. In NFL playoff history, teams that were winning by 19 points or more after the third quarter had never lost that playoff game. It had happened 93 times and in all 93 games there was no come back.
The Patriots became the first team in NFL playoff history to come back from a 19 points third quarter deficit to win. Joh Goehrke won a blind date with a tennis star. No one could have predicted either event at half time.