As a Giants fan, I never thought there would ever be a Super Bowl better than Super Bowl 42. I can now say that I was wrong. What happened on February 5 was the greatest football game I have ever seen period. It was everything you love about sports wrapped into 60 minutes of breath-taking football. I’m not the biggest Patriots fan, I’m also not the biggest Tom Brady fan. But after seeing what I saw in Houston, all I can do is accept the fact that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback football has ever seen and New England is arguably the greatest dynasty in sports history. Just don’t forget that the Giants will always be their kryptonite.
Only the Patriots would have been able to pull off an epic second-half like they did, being down by 25-points. Just when you think they’re done and there’s no possible way they can win the game, they prove everyone wrong. They made it look shockingly easy while the Falcons just completely fell apart right before our eyes. It was a pretty wild thing to witness.
Aside from Belichick’s play-calling genius and Brady, who was on fire with 466 yards and 2 touchdowns, New England had a lot of contributors that they couldn’t have won the game without. They got very crucial production from guys like their number one receiver Julian Edelman, who had 87 receiving yards including an unbelievable catch that nobody will ever really understand, receiver Danny Amendola, who had a touchdown and a very important 2-point conversion to tie the game at 28, and most notably running back James White, who had a 2-point conversion and 3 total touchdowns including the one that won the Patriots the game. On the defensive side of the ball guys like defensive end Trey Flowers (2.5 sacks) and star linebacker D’Onta Hightower (1 sack and a forced fumble) came up huge in crucial moments of the game. It was beautiful to see a team come together the way New England did, show no signs of panic or defeat, and fuel a comeback for the ages.
For Atlanta, the blame for the loss can be passed around to a number of different people. People have blamed Dan Quinn for not coaching well enough in the second half, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for making some costly play calls late in the game that didn’t work out, quarterback Matt Ryan for losing control of the offense, Devonta Freeman for blowing his block that resulted in Ryan fumbling the ball, etc. There’s a litany of candidates, and I think the blame should be placed on all of them. Each one of the candidates had something to do with the loss. It wasn’t any one person’s fault more than it was another person’s fault. They all share the blame. Quinn should’ve done a better job coaching his team in the second half, especially the defense since he is a defensive-minded coach. Shanahan should’ve called more running plays late in the game when they were in field goal range so they could have sealed the game and taken time off the clock. Ryan should’ve done a better job of keeping his guys together as the Patriots were fueling their comeback. Freeman should’ve actually blocked Hightower instead of letting him run right past him.
No matter who there is to blame, this is going to be a loss that will sting for the Falcons for the rest of their lives. Not many people can say they were beating the New England Patriots 28-3 in the Super Bowl. That’s pretty remarkable. However, not many people can say that they blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. The Falcons can say both. While they certainly don’t mind the first one, the second one is their worst nightmare.
Despite the Atlanta’s historic crash-and-burn, a number of guys played fantastic football for them. Matt Ryan, even with his late game woes, had a pretty solid game with almost 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both running backs were effective, as Freeman had 75 yards rushing and a touchdown plus 46 yards receiving, and Tevin Coleman had 30 yards rushing plus a 6-yard receiving touchdown. Superstar wide out Julio Jones was phenomenal. He had 87 yards receiving and despite only having 4 receptions, Jones made a number of insane catches that most people will forget about now due to Edelman’s catch and them losing the game. Rookie tight end Austin Hooper had a nice touchdown early in the game to extend Atlanta’s lead to 14-0. On defense, there was one man who was wreaking havoc all night long, and he isn’t named Vic Beasley. Grady Jarrett, the second year man from Clemson, racked up 3 sacks as the Patriots o-line couldn’t really contain him. Cornerback Robert Alford also had a highlight play when he intercepted Brady and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown, putting Atlanta up 21-0. But, despite all the valuable contributions, the Falcons ultimately couldn’t finish what they started.
This was quite the year in the world of sports, with choking going on in the country’s top three sports. The Golden State Warriors kicked it all off by blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, then the Cleveland Indians continued the trend by blowing a 3-1 lead in the World Series, and now the Falcons topped it all off by blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. Despite all this choking, the Warriors and Indians will be fine. As for the Falcons, the jury is still out on them. They’re offense was one of the most dynamic units we’ve seen in years, but they really should strengthen all three levels of their defense if they want another chance at the Lombardi trophy next season and beyond. They also have to get themselves together emotionally and do their best to forget about the loss.
This Super Bowl was pretty fantastic to watch, and I was rooting for Atlanta. The Patriots put on the kind of show that silenced all the doubters forever and cemented themselves as the greatest dynasty in NFL history. Tom Brady can play as long as he wants, and with the way he looked on February 5th, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if he’s still playing 20 years from now. With New England going through a tough season like this, where Brady served a 4-game suspension from Deflategate to start the year, this ends up being more than just another championship. If a report ends up coming out in the future that Belichick was only so great because he installed cameras in other teams practices then so be it. Until that happens, it’s time to appreciate the Patriots’ greatness in the world of sports no matter how you feel about them. In the end, all I can say is I hope Roger Goodell has some tight security around him for the next couple of years.