Super Bowl 51 was historic in so many ways from the opening coin toss until the final whistle of overtime. A beautifully unscripted drama, taking us from the deepest abyss, to the brightest star, one removing any shadow of doubt who the Greatest of All-Time is.
It was a true test of resilience causing each and every man on the roster, from the long snapper to owner, Bob Kraft, to look into the depths of their souls and search for that Patriot spirit. The Patriots were battered, bruised and losing big, but never beaten.
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The Atlanta Falcons were not awed by the Patriots. They would not be defeated easily nor in regulation. Storming out from the opening kickoff, the Falcons would “Rise Up,” handling the Patriots easily and establishing a big lead early, that would become the largest deficit ever overcome in Super Bowl history. The Falcons would continue to soar through the game steadily building a larger and larger lead; until Tom Brady happened.
In heroic-like fashion, previously known only to Greek Mythology, Brady at the ripe young age of 39, became the toughest guy on the field. Withstanding every thunderous hit, he would continue to stand tall, lobbing lightning bolts to open receivers all over the field. His courage was infectious and the Patriots began believing. They clawed their way back in, fighting tooth and nail and turning the tide until the Falcons were eventually plucked right out of the sky.
Overtime was a phrase never before used in conjunction with the Super Bowl. What used to be a contest of sudden death, was a contest of sudden death for the Falcons. Fresh off scoring 25 unanswered points, the Patriots won the coin flip to start overtime and the game had the feel of the matador moving in for the estocada. Driving down the field and scoring a touchdown to win would be the final stamp on a wildly turbulent year for Brady and the Patriots.
Dedicating the game to his mother prior to winning his fourth Super Bowl MVP award, along with his fifth Championship ring, Brady elevated himself above every other quarterback to ever play the game. Completing the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, among many of the other records he set on the evening of Super Bowl LI, will forever be the game that Brady became the man.
Brady is an icon, placing football fans in one of two categories: love him or hate him. Regardless of how one feels, the magnificence he left on the field he must above all be respected. All sports greatest comparisons and conversations nowadays come down to who has the most rings. Brady and the Patriots are giving each other high-fives because no other quarterback in NFL history can say they have a fistful of rings.
— Philip Robinson writes for cover32 and covers the NFL and the Oakland Raiders. He can be followed on Twitter @chocP3thunder.