Doug Mientkiewicz pocketed – and rightfully refused to give up – the baseball from the final out of the 2004 World Series.
James White couldn’t do the same with the football from his overtime touchdown Sunday night.
The New England Patriots running back, in fact, doesn’t exactly know where it went.
“I actually don’t know what I did with it,” White said Tuesday on The Dan Patrick Show. “I left it on the ground and started running, so hopefully Dave [Schoenfeld] has that for me in the equipment room.”
White’s final touch of Super Bowl LI arrived on a second-down outside toss at the 11:08 mark in OT. Cutting up behind sweeping right tackle Marcus Cannon and under a pair of Atlanta Falcons, he extended the ball across the goal line from two yards out. And with that, the 25-point comeback was complete. The Patriots had scored 31 unanswered to win, 34-28.
In jubilation, White got up and ran. Not in any particular direction. Just somewhere. Fast.
“I wasn’t thinking in that moment,” he told Patrick. “I was too busy sprinting down the field.”
White’s sprint would be halted as fellow Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount tackled him in the end zone moments later. But the 5-foot-10, 205-pound White, who was inactive for Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks two Februaries ago, proved hard to tackle for the better part of Sunday night’s triumph at NRG Stadium.
He proved integral to the turnaround.
White led New England’s backfield with 71 snaps versus the Falcons. More than a change of pace, he finished having handled six carries for 29 yards and two touchdowns rushing, as well as a Super Bowl-record 14 catches for 110 yards and another touchdown receiving.
White also took a direct snap in for a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to eight points late in regulation. And altogether, the 25-year-old accounted for the most points ever scored by a non-quarterback – 20 – in a Super Bowl.
He is hoping there’s still more mementos to account for as the confetti settles.
“I kept my first touchdown ball, but I really hadn’t kept anything else,” White said. “I mean, everything came back to the equipment room and I’ll try to keep as much as I can if they let me.”
White has amassed 15 touchdowns since Nov. 23, 2015. Prior to then, the 2014 fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin had none on his NFL resume.
None will ever hold more weight than the three he accrued Sunday night in Houston, even if White only has the first TD ball from it.