The Real Reason Super Bowl LI Was The Greatest In History

The Patriot's Super Bowl LI comeback victory over the Falcons was an impossible beautiful disaster of epic proportions. Just look at the numbers.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Whether you look at it as the greatest comeback or choke-job in NFL history, the Patriots’ monumentally surreal 34-28 overtime victory over Atlanta in Sunday’s Super Bowl will no question live-on as the greatest Super Bowl of our lifetime.

Not only did Super Bowl LI provide us with the first overtime in the Super Bowl’s illustrious history, it provided us with the most punch-to-the-gut, riot-inducing, spirit-cleansing, action-packed football sequence … well, ever.

Depending on which city you live in, Super Bowl LI will be the most famous or infamous Super Bowl for decades to come. But there’s no question it will be the most memorable for our entire generation. Even for you, millennials.

Atlanta, the No. 1 offense in the NFL, had a 25 point lead, up 28-3 in the third quarter. The largest previous comeback in Super Bowl history was 10 points. Everyone thought it was game, set, match — ready to hand the Lombardi trophy to Matt Ryan and Falcons.

A higher power had other plans … Or maybe Tom Brady really is just from another planet.

Nearly everything that could have gone right for New England, did.

This ridiculous, once-in-a-lifetime catch by Julio Jones late in the 4th quarter should have set up a game-winning field goal for the Falcons … until Ryan was sacked later in the possession.

Or how about this Julian Edelman ‘catch’ two minutes later? That play will be on highlight reels for the rest of our lives – and it continued the game-tying drive that set the matchup for overtime.

According to win probability models, the Patriots virtually had less than a one percent chance to win. Over the last 20 years, teams are 2-264 when trailing by 18-20 points going into the 4th quarter.

The Big Lead wrote the following:

Let’s start with the scenario at the end of the 3rd quarter, after the Patriots unsuccessfully tried an onside kick. Atlanta gained 9 on first down to set up a 2nd and 1, already inside field goal range at the New England 32. In 2016, there were 63 times that a team had the ball with 2nd and 2 or less, between the opponent 30 and 35. Eight of those eventually ended in a turnover on downs, kneel down, or time expiring (situations inapplicable to Atlanta). In the other 55, the team with the ball scored 80% of the time. The breakdown was 44 scores, 3 missed field goals, 5 turnovers, and 3 punts (Rams, 49ers, Dolphins).

So yes, Sunday was astoundingly amazing and terrible all at the same time. It makes those in New England affirm their belief in a God (or that Tom Brady is one) and does the exact opposite for those in the ATL.

Some compared Sunday’s improbable win to the odds of November’s Presidential Election.

Just look at this crazy number. Yes, at one point the Patriots had just a .4 percent chance of winning. Totally unreal.

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CNBC had this since deleted tweet:

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Even though I was aware nothing could ever count out Tom Brady, I too was guilty of Tweeting too soon:

Genie Bouchard, a very attractive Canadian tennis star, lost a Twitter bet with a Missouri student after feeling so confident Atlanta would win.

Mark Wahlberg — a huge Patriots fan — left the game early because his “kids weren’t feeling well.”

Possibly worst of all, Falcons merch was already being put up in their store:

No question the comeback/choke was the most unbelievable in Super Bowl history, possibly in American pro sports history. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only streak that was snapped.

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Some believe Nintendo may be responsible for the comeback.

My favorite Tweet is here.

But even with Brady suspended the first four games of the season following “Deflate-gate,” the Patriots have their 5th Super Bowl title while Atlanta is still waiting on their first. And something tells me it will be awhile until the Falcons get another crack at it.

Now we just want to know who in the hell stole Brady’s jersey… ?

Related: The Argument Is Settled, Tom Brady Is The Greatest QB Of All-Time


Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.

Photo: Getty