On Sunday evening, Tom Brady cemented his legend as the greatest of all-time.
The Patriots quarterback brought New England all the way back from a second-half 25-point deficit, leading New England to an improbable 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
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Leader of the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, Brady was named the game’s Most Valuable Player once again, his fourth such honor. With the win, Brady is the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history with five championships, breaking his boyhood hero Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw’s record.
Brady bounced back from a poor first half, during which he threw his first postseason pick-six, to lead New England on four second-half scoring drives, including two TD marches in the fourth quarter.
Explaining the methodical comeback after the game, Brady was at a loss for words.
“I wasn’t thinking much,” the Super Bowl MVP said. “I was thinking, We just got to score with wholesale jerseys. And then, we scored the touchdown, it was nine. And then, we get the turnover.
“There was a lot of s— that happened tonight. I got hit pretty hard.”
After the Patriots won the overtime coin toss, Brady led a game-winning, eight-play drive, capped by a two-yard James White score. The assured march to glory was Brady’s fifth game-winning drive in five Super Bowl wins.
To boot, the Patriots legend set Super Bowl records with 466 passing yards, 43 completions and 62 attempts.
Of Brady’s five Super Bowl victories and four MVP performances, you would be hard-pressed to argue any was more important or significant than this one.
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Brady was suspended four games by the NFL last year after a league-commissioned investigation found it was “more probable than not” that he was “generally aware” of team staff deflating footballs prior to the 2014 AFC Championship Game. Brady put up a career-best TD-INT ratio and lost just one game on the year, a midseason home defeat to the Seahawks.
The stakes of Brady’s amazing 2016 season were amplified even more during Super Bowl week when he divulged that his mother had been battling an illness and that his father hadn’t been to a game all season.
“It’s very sad to me that someone would do something like this, and it’s like taking a great Chagall or Picasso or something. You can never display it,” Kraft said Tuesday on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria, per the Boston Herald.
“And somehow, I feel there’ll be some news that’ll clear this up in the not too distant future I hope it’ll be cleared up soon. I think that a lot of people spend a lot of time looking into the matter and what happened, and I’d rather not say anything that would cause any problems in the work that’s been done. One way or another that jersey will be back.”
That comment near the end is a likely allusion to the work of the Texas Rangers — no, not them — who very publicly got involved in the search for the jersey, which disappeared shortly after New England’s miracle comeback in Super Bowl LI.
Of course, you will get the clowns in the media and the biased fans who erroneously claim that all of New England’s success stems from “Spygate” and “Deflategate.” You can deflate that notion right now. It’s garbage.
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Did you see what Brady did to the Steelers in Sunday’s 36-17 laugher? 32 of 42 for 384 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a career high in terms of postseason passing yards for Brady — no small feat, considering that was his 33rd playoff game. The guy is 39 years old and he’s playing some of the best football of his career. In 14 games this season (including two postseason contests), Brady has thrown 33 touchdown passes against four interceptions. Oh, and he’s done so without Rob Gronkowski for most of the campaign.
When Tom Brady’s under center, the offense is gonna be potent — regardless of who else is involved. We all know that. But New England’s defense hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves.
Despite minimal fanfare, the Pats led the NFL in scoring defense this season, giving up just 15.6 points per game. I chuckled at the media elite trying to tell me that the unit hasn’t played anyone and thus would have serious trouble against Pittsburgh. You play who is on your schedule — including future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday. And for the 13th time in the last 16 games, New England held its opponent below 20 points. Devin McCourty — a brilliant, ballhawking safety — said on my SiriusXM Radio show last week that the length, versatility and intelligence of New England’s defensive backs would be key. That secondary answered the bell on Sunday. Malcolm Butler jersey is a bona fide star. (Antonio Brown managed seven catches for 77 yards, but his true impact was certainly limited.) And the Patriots’ defensive front — which includes highly underrated guys like Alan Branch — held Pittsburgh to 54 yards on 20 rushes. Granted, Le’Veon Bell hurt his groin, but DeAngelo Williams couldn’t get anything going either.
This defense has a simple mentality: Get the ball and cheap jerseys back to Brady … so the man can continue his ultimate revenge tour.
I love the Patriots and what future Hall of Famer Bob Kraft has built: an absurdly dominant sports dynasty. But many folks despise them (for that very reason). Like the great philosopher Taylor Swift once said, “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate …” And that just makes it fun — especially when we have a fun newcomer in Atlanta entering the arena, aiming to knock off Goliath.
What the fans get in Super Bowl LI is a lightning-rod franchise vs. a lightning-strike offense, the league’s preeminent power vs. a charming challenger to the throne. I can’t wait.