New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady sat out the first four games this season for allegedly deflating footballs.
Sunday night in Houston, Texas, Brady took the air out of the Atlanta Falcons.
Rallying from 25 points down in the second half, New England completed the largest comeback in Super Bowl history to win their fifth title 34-28.
It was a thrilling and amazing finish as Brady led a fourth quarter rally that saw two straight Patriot touchdowns in the final minutes, both followed by successful 2-point conversions. The final came with 57 seconds left when James White ran in a short score and Danny Amendola followed by catching a screen pass for the two-point conversion that tied the game at 28.
Atlanta, seemingly on the fast track for their first Super Bowl title after dominating the first half, suddenly found itself in shock as the game went into overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history.
New England won the overtime coin toss with a “Heads” call, and the Falcons couldn’t muster a stop against a rejuvenated Patriot offense.
New England marched down the field with the opening possession of overtime, and won all the marbles when White scored on second-and-goal, stretching across the goal line to send the Patriots and their fans into a total bedlam of celebration.
Brady, named Super Bowl LI MVP, threw for 466 yards and two touchdowns in the win. White finished with three TDs.
The win led to a number of awkward handshakes after the Patriot victory.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the stage to a chorus of boos from fans. Also on stage were Patriot owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft as Brady and New England head coach Bill Belichick stood to the rear. Michael Strahan brought up the trophy which Goodell, who had suspended Brady after last season, had to present not only the Super Bowl trophy, but also the MVP trophy, to the winners.
In the early going it looked like this might be one of the most boring Super Bowls in history.
Atlanta rolled out to a 28-3 lead with their swarming defense forcing key turnovers and their offense keeping the Patriots on their heels throughout the opening half.
Riding quarterback Matt Ryan and offensive standouts Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, as well as a Robert Alford 82-yard pick-six interception of Brady, the Falcons were still in control with just over 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when the lights went out in Georgia.
In other Super Bowl LI notes of interest, Luke Bryan sang the National Anthem in 2 minutes, 4 seconds, well under the betting line that ranged from 2:07 to 2:15. Lady Gaga had blond hair in one of the most popular halftime shows in Super Bowl history. And, with the game going to overtime, there was no post-game Gatorade Shower for Belichick as players and coaches stormed the field with the finial score, leaving betters with a push (tie).