Super Bowl LI was everything we could have hoped for and more. Matt Ryan showed us why he was the NFL MVP as he torched the New England secondary with a perfect quarterback rating in the first half. Despite holding a comfortable 28-3 lead shortly after the half, Matt Ryan, Dan Quinn and football fans everywhere were reminded once again that you can never count out Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
It was clear that during the first half, the New England Patriots offense was not on the same page. Despite a slow start, Brady and the Patriots offense came out ready to play. Despite being down 28-3, Brady and the Patriots showed not a single ounce of quit. A rare Stephen Gostkowski missed extra point proved to be crucial after the following Patriots possession in the 4th quarter, which ended in a field goal, making the score 28-12. This meant that the Patriots would need two touchdowns as well as two successful two point conversions to tie the game.
The Falcons drove the ball down to the New England 20-yard line on the following possession, poised to put a dagger through the hearts of the New England Patriots and fans alike by extending their dominance to a three-possession lead well into the fourth quarter. One sack and a holding penalty later, the Falcons are no longer in range to kick a field goal and are forced to punt, giving Brady and the Patriots offense a second chance at life.
Brady was unstoppable on his last two drives of the fourth quarter, leading the Patriots offense down the field twice for two touchdowns, and also converting on both two-point attempts to tie the game and eventually send it into overtime. After winning the first overtime coin toss in Super Bowl history, Brady led his team down the field again, resulting in a one-yard touchdown run by James White.
The biggest question surrounding the sports world has been in regards to Brady’s legacy, asking whether or not he should be considered the greatest quarterback of all time. According to ESPN, Brady told a reporter prior to the Super Bowl, “I don’t think anything about a personal legacy. I mean, those words would never come out of my mouth unless I just repeated them. Those things have never been important to me.”
While it may not be of great importance to Brady, his fifth Super Bowl win and fourth Super Bowl MVP award give him more than any other quarterback. Along with that, Brady is also a two-time MVP, 12 time pro bowler and also holds 14 division titles. Over the past 16 seasons, Brady and the Patriots have won five Super Bowls, which totals to nearly a third of them. Not only does Brady hold all of the accolades, but he has also maintained his dominant level of play on a consistent basis for all of his 15 seasons as a starter, even at age 39.
What is it that sets Brady apart from the rest? Brady has never once gotten comfortable. Brady entered the league as a sixth round pick with a chip on his shoulder, and from that moment on played every single game like he had something to prove. Brady plays angry – angry at anybody who has ever doubted him, or even anybody who still does. In the 2000 NFL Draft, six quarterbacks were taken before Brady. This means six teams passed on Brady, and he has been fighting to make each of them regret that ever since, and boy did he do it. He did so by making himself the face of the NFL for the next decade-and-a-half to come, consistently shredding defenses and making it look easy. Never mind all of the rings and all of the awards, or even any of his records. Brady is nothing more than a guy who was counted out, but knew he was destined for greatness the entire time and never gave up until, or even after, he achieved it.