New England wins Super Bowl LI over Atlanta


A game that quickly began as a dream scenario for Georgia citizens and Falcons fans everywhere eventually turned into a nightmare as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl in nine attempts by a final score of 34-28 (OT).

The game began with a heartwarming moment when former President and First Lady George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, recently released from the hospital with illness, were brought out to perform the ceremonial coin toss. The toss was won by the Falcons who chose to defer until the second half. The Patriots set the tone for the beginning of the game with a drive that was quickly stalled and the Falcons kept the theme going by failing to create any offense whatsoever, leaving a tie game at the end of the first quarter.

However, early in the second quarter, a fumble in the red zone by Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount was just the spark-plug the Falcons needed to jump start their high powered offense. After this, league MVP Matt Ryan led his team down the field twice finishing off drives with touchdowns from running back Devonta Freeman and tight end Austin Hooper. The Patriots looked poised to add a score of their own but had their hopes dashed by an interception return for a touchdown by defensive back Robert Alford. The Patriots did eventually add a field goal to make the game 21-3 by the end of the first half.

Atlanta had possession  to start the second half but was unable to score on their first drive. Their second drive was much more successful as it ended with a 6 yard touchdown strike from Matt Ryan to running back Tevin Coleman.

This score put the Falcons up by a score of 28-3 leaving many to believe that the game was over due in large part to the fact that the largest deficit overcome by a Super Bowl champion was 10 points.

Tom Brady and the Patriots did not give in to this way of thinking.

Slowly but surely, New England moved down the field scoring 9 points in the next 7 minutes to cut the game to a score of 28-12 with 9:44 left to play. Needing some two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions was a tall task indeed but the Patriots were helped in this endeavor when linebacker Donta Hightower forced a fumble during his sack of Matt Ryan with time waning in the 4th quarter. This gave the Patriots excellent field position as they marched down and completed a touchdown pass to wide receiver Danny Amendola. Needing a two-point conversion to keep their championship hopes alive, New England ran a direct snap to running back James White who was successful in bringing the score up to 28-20.

Atlanta was able to move the ball down the field on their next drive, even getting to the Patriots’ 21-yard line after an acrobatic catch by star wide-out Julio Jones. However, this progress was quickly negated by a sack by Patriots pass rusher Trey Flowers and a holding penalty on the Falcons which pushed them out of field goal range and forced them to punt the ball back to New England.

The Patriots were able to move their way down the field in dramatic fashion converting a third down while inside their own 20-yard line and competing a pass to wide receiver Julian Edelman which was tipped into the air by a Falcons defender but hauled in just inches before the ball was able to hit the ground. Inside the 5-yard line, the Patriots were able to score another touchdown after a one-yard run by James White. With the game on the line, Tom Brady found receiver Danny Amendola for the two-point conversion.

The largest comeback in Super Bowl history was now complete, but the game was far from over.

New England won the toss to begin the overtime period, the first in Super Bowl history. Needing touchdown in order to secure the win for good, the Patriots did just that, marching down the field with clinical precision from Tom Brady. After a pass interference call on the Falcons, New England found themselves just a single yard away from completing one of the most remarkable victories in the history of the National Football League.

Just like they had all night, the Patriots went back to running back James White who found his way into the end-zone for the touchdown and the championship.

The Super Bowl win is number 5 for the Patriots who now find themselves just one behind the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in history. It is also the fifth championship for Tom Brady who now finds himself alone on the top of the list of winning-est  quarterbacks in NFL history, passing his childhood hero Joe Montana, who won 4 with the San Francisco 49ers.

This championship in particular may be one of the sweetest ones for Brady since it came during the season where many believe he was wrongly convicted by league commissioner Roger Goodell for his “more probable than not” involvement in the deflate-gate scandal of two seasons ago. Brady was in the process of appealing this suspension but later dropped it before the season began for reasons unbeknownst to the public.

Last week, the reason for Brady dropping the appeal was revealed to be because of the health of his mother. Brady, not wanting his mom to be more stressed during this time, dropped his legal battle. The result of this was also that Brady got four more weeks to go visit his mom in California while she was receiving treatment. Brady’s mother was unable to go to any games over the course of this season due to her condition, but she was able to make it out to Houston for the Super Bowl.

And for the record fifth time in his career, her son did not disappoint.