Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and Falcons was historical in just about every sense of the word, to put it lightly. The numbers and facts back that up. The seemingly endless amount of history that was made in one lone game is seriously hard to wrap one’s mind around. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, this game happens, and everything you knew before was a big, fat lie. Read on to learn about the absurdity that was Super Bowl 51:
As you can tell, all of them include the Patriots. Every last one. Just another handful of evidence that proves that what that team did on the biggest stage in sports can never be replicated. Like, they had thirty-seven total first downs. To think, their offense absolutely reeked for nearly the first three quarters. Another one that stands out to me is that James White racked up the most receptions in a Super Bowl. Yes, he is a passing back, but still. A running back with fourteen receptions in any given game is unheard of.
But wait...there’s more.
The Patriots led for exactly zero (0) seconds in the Super Bowl. In 63 minutes and 58 seconds of play, the champions of Super Bowl 51 never led even once. The Falcons led for 41 minutes and 18 seconds total, and the game was tied for the remaining 22 minutes of 40 seconds. The game of course went to overtime, so a touchdown scored in OT immediately ends the game. James White scored that winning touchdown.
Before this game, no team in history had ever thrown a pick-six in the Super Bowl and won. Ever. Brady was picked off by corner Robert Alford in the second quarter, returning it for an 82-yard touchdown. It extended Atlanta’s lead to 21-0. The rest is history. Only Tom Brady and the Patriots would throw a devastating pick-6 and end up winning in the greatest possible fashion.
The game ended up being the most askew out of any of the seven Patriots-played Super Bowls under Brady and Belichick. Every Super Bowl that New England plays in happens to shave a good 5 years off of any Patriots fans’ lives, and this particular one was no different. Four of their previous Super Bowls were decided by three points, while the other two were decided by two points. Super Bowl 51 was decided by six points, the largest margin of either victory or defeat, thankfully in the Patriots’ favor.
Not only was this game the largest comeback in Super Bowl history altogether, it was also the biggest comeback in the history of the Patriots franchise. Previously, the largest comeback made by a Patriots team was in November of 2013 against the Broncos in Foxboro, a 24-point resurgence. Another memorable New England comeback was in the 2014 divisional round against the Ravens, when Tom Brady and co. overcame two separate 14-point deficits to advance to the AFC title game. It also happened to be the game in which John Harbaugh whined about the Patriots’ trick plays and formation. Irrelevant, but always fun to bring up when possible.
Thirty-nine year old Tom Brady, going on forty, had the longest rush of his postseason career in this game. With five minutes left in the third, facing a third-and-eight at the Falcons’ 35 yard line, the Clydesdale turned the wheels on for a 15-yard run that eventually led to a critical touchdown in their legendary comeback. Rarely does Brady run, and only does so when absolutely necessary. It’s a sight to see when he does take off. The way he runs will almost certainly make you laugh, but at the end of the day, you have to give the guy props. He’s got guts, second to none.
Here’s one of the craziest stats on the face of the earth, ever: teams in the playoffs were previously 0-133 all time when down by 17 points or more after three quarters of play. Now, you can change that record to 1-133. If you really needed any more proof that this comeback dub by New England was the greatest ever, there you have it. Out of all of the whack stats that came out of this thriller, that’s probably my favorite.
Last but certainly not least, another mind-boggling stat regarding the Patriots’ dubious victory. At one point in the game, the Patriots’ odds at winning dipped below 1%, hitting .4% at times in the third quarter. That just about sums up their incomprehensible championship win. The Patriots were not supposed to come back and win that football game, even in any parallel universe. Meanwhile, the Falcons were not supposed to choke as bad as they did. That’s not how sports work. Even the Patriots of all teams aren’t supposed to do something like that. And a team as forgettable as the Falcons aren’t supposed to choke that hard. But, they both literally defied the odds. Just two years ago, Patriots fans all thought that it couldn’t possibly get any better than Super Bowl 49…