Super Bowl LI was a rollercoaster for players, coaches and spectators alike. And while the New England Patriots would ultimately win 34-28 in overtime to secure their fifth Lombardi Trophy, the team started the game as bad as one could imagine. Mental errors, technique breakdowns, bad decisions, you name it.
Late in the second quarter, after quarterback Tom Brady had just thrown an interception which was returned for a touchdown, New England was down 21-0. Midway through the third period, the team fell in a 28-3 hole. And yet, despite the adversity the Patriots faced, they were able to fight back and ultimately score 31 unanswered points to first tie and then win the game.
Afterwards, wide receiver Julian Edelman joined the set of NFL Network to talk about the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Edelman, who finished with five catches – among them one of the greatest of all time – for 87 yards, started with the following remarks:
I tell you right now, that this game right here was a microcosm of our season. Start off with a little adversity, put ourself in a hole but stick together, stay mentally tough, play one play at a time, make plays when we had to and now we’re world champions.
Edelman, of course, hits the nail on the head: The Patriots started the first quarter of the season without Tom Brady, whose backup missed 2.5 games due to a shoulder injury. But the team stayed on its course no matter the adversity it was put against. Whether it is Brady’s absence, the shocking in-season trade of Jamie Collins or losing Rob Gronkowski to injured reserve, New England – as Edelman put it – stayed mentally tough.
Yesterday, this ability was put to its greatest test. However, with the stakes highest, the lights brightest and down 25 points with a little more than one quarter left, the team rose to the occasion and delivered a comeback for the ages. A storybook ending for a storybook season.