This wasn't supposed to happen. No way. But it did. The New England Patriots came roaring back to win Super Bowl LI. It will likely go down as one of the, if not THE best Super Bowl ever, the Atlanta Falcons and their fans notwithstanding.
For what seemed to be the longest time, the game had every appearance of a blow-out -- for Atlanta.
Rushing merely 4 guys with hardly a blitz in sight, the Falcons sacked Pats QB 5 times and knocked him down a dozen more.
New England couldn't run the ball against the Falcons.
Brady threw a "pick 6" and missed several wide open receivers along the way.
Good grief, New England's normally super-reliable place kicker, one Stephen Dostkowski, even missed an extra point.
And Atlanta seemed to have little trouble scoring after a sluggish start by both teams. They led 21-3 at one point and 28-9 at another. Up and down the field they marched -- for three quarters. Then WHAM, the door closed. They would not score again, and had to sit back and watch almost a sure victory slip away. Brutal.
Because somehow, some way, Brady, Bellichick and Co. found a way to come back and tie the game in regulation and win it on their first possession in overtime.
Once they got rolling, it was like the Pats were on a mission and wouldn't be denied. Either that, or the Falcons totally collapsed.
So then -- horrors!!! -- embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had to do what he no doubt dreaded all year. Present the Vince Lombardi trophy to the "deflategate kid" and his fellow Patriots. Ouch.
Tom Brady now becomes the winningest Super Bowl quarterback ever with a total of five. And oh, BTW, another MVP award.
Life is good in New England.
Not so good in Atlanta.
Not so good here either. Yours truly was midway through a column ranting about how Atlanta had finally won something once again. The first time since way back in 1995 when one of their super-duper Atlanta Braves teams had finally managed to capture a World Series crown. Their NBA Atlanta Hawks have never won squat, and they lost their NHL team years ago. Finally, FINALLY, something to rejoice in Atlanta. The best thing since they brought back the original Coca-Cola after that disastrous experiment with "New Coke" that blew up in their faces. But all of that didn't work out so well either. Delete and start over time.
So with apologies to the Michigan Wolverines, hail, hail to the victors indeed. Love them or hate them, the New England Patriots have done it again.
And you have to admit, it was an astounding game.
An afterthought: Besides the Falcons and their supporters feeling crushed, there's another sizeable group of folks that might have it even worse. Consider those that placed wagers and bet on the Falcons to win. With the three point spread, they were ahead by 28 points at one time. No doubt, they were dancing, diddy-bopping, talking smack, and otherwise defecating in tall cotton. All was very cool and they likely couldn't wait to go collect from their bookies.
Then that pesky Tom Brady found his groove again and snatched it all away at the last second. Instead of having a C-note coming on a $100 bet and smiling at their book, they now owe him/her $110 and have to eat crow again. How bad do THEY feel?
Ah well, as they say, ya pays yer nickel and ya takes yer chances. Or something like that. Close enough.