Greatest Comeback in NFL History: A Review of Super Bowl 51
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Over the span of 5 months, 250 games, with wild plays, players, and games, the entire NFL season game came down to one game, a game that would crown either the best quarterback-coaching duo in NFL history or one of the highest flying offensive teams in recent NFL history. A duel of the two best quarterbacks in the 2016-2017 season, the league MVP versus the greatest quarterback of all time. This was Super Bowl 51.
The pinnacle of American sports games opened with Tom Brady, 4-time Super Bowl champion and two-time league MVP taking the field for a record breaking 7th Super Bowl appearance in an illustrious 15 season career. All the questions were circling around his opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, and how they could possibly stop this future hall-of-famer in quite possibly one of his greatest seasons. Yet, through all these questions, they did. The young Atlanta Falcons defense forced a three and out on not just the first drive, but the second drive as well, frustrating the great Tom Brady and the juggernaut patriots team.
Although Atlanta’s historically great offense was struggling to string a drive together, the Falcons’ defense was dominating the Patriots’ offense, and on the third drive of the game forced the first turnover of the game. With great field position, Atlanta’s offense caught fire and ran down the field to score the first touchdown of the game.
Atlanta carried this momentum throughout the second quarter, capitalizing on a struggling Patriots’ offense, and before a blink of an eye, the Falcons doubled their lead, dominating the Patriots 14-0 midway through the second quarter. Then, towards the end of the half, the Patriots began to wear down the dominant Atlanta defense. After driving for around 5 minutes, Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense found themselves in the red zone, threatening to finally put points on the board.
But suddenly, the ever-reliant Tom Brady made a rare and extremely costly mistake. As he stepped back to throw, the pocket collapsed on him, and he forced the ball into double coverage. Brady hoped that the ball would just be batted away, but that plan did not come to fruition. Instead, an Atlanta defender intercepted the ball and ran back the pass over 80 yards to put league MVP Matt Ryan and the Falcons up 21-3 going into halftime.
After an electric halftime performance courtesy of Lady Gaga, the Falcons felt the electricity in the air and again scored another touchdown to put the Falcons 25 points ahead midway through the third quarter. Up to this point, no one had ever come back from 10 points in Super Bowl history, let alone 25! Yet, despite the Falcons having a 99.4% chance of winning according to the BMI index, Tom Brady shrugged it off and started the greatest comeback in the history of the National Football League.
After grabbing a late third quarter touchdown, the Patriots were poised and deadly on every fourth-quarter drive. After Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense stalled, the Patriots fired up, scoring on both of their fourth quarter possessions and converting two 2-point conversions to knot the score up at 28 and send the game into overtime.
After the Patriots won the overtime coin toss, the greatest quarterback of all time drove down the field in historic fashion, converting on a couple third downs, before handing the ball off on the one yard line to score the game winning, season-ending, 5th Super Bowl title clinching touchdown, sinking the hearts of the Falcon fans, while bringing indescribable joy to the entire Patriots nation. A 25 point comeback, conducted by a 6th round draft pick out of Michigan to win a 5th Super Bowl title could not have even been written by the best Hollywood directors, yet, through all the unlikelihood, overwhelming odds and obstacles, the New England Patriots, lead by the greatest coach, Bill Belichick, and quarterback, Tom Brady, were crowned champions of the 2016-2017 NFL season.