The greatest duo in the sport was separated this offseason but the history doesn’t lie
The Tom Brady era may be over in New England and just beginning in Tampa Bay, but the G.O.A.T. played in the Patriots helmet for some of the greatest Super Bowls in NFL history. I think it’s safe to say that there is one in particular that stands out.
Super Bowl LI (2017): New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28
You just can’t argue when history is made. The Patriots victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI was the first Super Bowl to ever go to overtime in its 51-year history. It’s the largest come from behind win in the Super Bowl by more than two touchdowns.
Super Bowl LI officially cemented Brady as the greatest quarterback of all-time for two reasons. It was his fifth ring, the most of any quarterback ever (Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw both have four). Brady also won the Super Bowl MVP for an NFL record fourth time. The 25-point comeback will be a Super Bowl record for ages, maybe forever.
Down 28-3 just over halfway into the third quarter, it looked like all hope was lost for the Patriots in this game. It took the game’s largest comeback or one of the worst choke jobs, depending on how you look at it, just to force overtime.
The Falcons did a lot of things wrong in those 20 plus minutes and it cost them their franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl ring. It’s even sadder now looking back on it because the team still hasn’t recovered. After their offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers following the Super Bowl, the Falcons haven’t been back to the postseason and franchise quarterback Matt Ryan hasn’t been the same.
The narrative of this game will always be about the greatness of the Patriots dynasty, and that’s more than reasonable. However, people will forget that this game was complete and utter domination for two-and-a-half quarters by a Falcons defense that was fast and physical and put tons of pressure on Brady. This is only a consolation prize for Arthur Blank and the city of Atlanta.
In essence, this heightened Brady’s status to the greatest ever because he brought his team back from the dead. Trailing by 25 with just six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Pro Football Focus had given the Patriots a 0.5 percent chance to win the game. Yet, it was Brady celebrating at the podium after leading his team to five straight scoring drives down the stretch. Another part people will forget too is the crucial two-point conversions that the Pats converted to tie the game.
When talking about Brady’s legacy before this game, he was mentioned as one of the greatest ever, but there was still some debate. Some of that talk stemmed from Brady’s Super Bowl win two years prior when Malcolm Butler saved the day with his game-sealing interception of Russell Wilson at the goal line.
The Brady haters came out in droves after that Super Bowl depicting Brady as lucky to be a four-time champ. But, when you look at this game from every angle, it’s simply the best story that has ever been written in the NFL.
Nobody can debate who the greatest ever is after this performance, and nobody can doubt that the New England Patriots dynasty is the best the sport has seen. Maybe the best dynasty in all of sports considering how hard it is to dominate year-in and year-out in the NFL. Just ask the Falcons, Broncos, Rams, and Panthers, all teams who have yet to make it back to the playoffs since their last Super Bowl appearance.