It all started on a Monday morning. Patriots fans begin celebrating Tom Brady’s 6th Super Bowl appearance after a blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. Then news organizations start stirring about cheating allegations and investigations regarding deflated footballs. A fire fuels in the stomach of the New England organization, and the Patriots ultimately prevail in Super Bowl 49 thanks to a miracle interception by Malcolm Butler. The 2nd craziest game I’ve ever seen.
But regardless of the game’s outcome, the media and news began to explode with new additions to the story dubbed “DeflateGate”. No clear charges are made, though, as the Patriots stumble to the end of the following regular season, falling to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game in Denver. Pats fans are left shaken as they nearly complete a miraculous comeback whilst riddled with injuries. Saddened fans then watch Cam Newton and the Panthers get torched in Super Bowl 50. Peyton Manning’s 2nd Super Bowl Ring begins to spur the Brady haters, calling his legacy into question once again.
The following offseason, Brady and the Patriots organization get hit with many fines and penalties for their lack of a proven role in the DeflateGate scandal. Brady is suspended for the first 4 games of the regular season. Draft picks are lost. Patriots fans remain resilient as they are ready to rally behind their new, ready-to-roll quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo.
It’s the first game of the regular season. Patriots are up against one of the previous year’s NFC Championship Game teams, the Arizona Cardinals. It’s a pretty tight battle the whole way through, but the Pats are handed a victory after a Chandler Catanzaro missed-FG on the last Cardinals possession. 1-0. The best possible start. Patriots fans become a little at ease.
The second game of the season comes against the Miami Dolphins. Jimmy Garoppolo throws touchdowns in his first 3 possessions. LeGarrette Blount makes his mark on the team. It becomes close, but a 31-24 victory comes at the end of 60 minutes. Still, 2-0. The best possible start. Patriots fans begin to question whether Brady will even be needed.
The next two games are shutouts, one in New England’s favor, and the other not so much. Jacoby Brissett, the 3rd-string QB on the Pat’s depth chart fills in for an injured Garoppolo. An eventual 27-0 stomping shows an efficient young offense and a pretty stout defensive performance. 3-0. The best possible start. Yet the following week, the Pats finally show some weaknesses. Their division foes, the Buffalo Bills, run all over us to a 16-0 victory. It’s a loss, but Pats fans are totally distracted by the fact that their Superstar QB Tom Brady is going to make his return. It’s most irrelevant loss we’ve ever taken.
Brady returns October 9th against the Cleveland Browns and runs an offensive clinic against the worst team in the league as he passes for over 400 yards. Many are skeptical of his true skill against such a weak opponent. Pats fans are just happy to see their guy on the field.
The Patriots take the NFL by storm, only losing one game in their next 11, which really should’ve been decided in OT if it weren’t for a blown DPI call in the end zone against Rob Gronkowski versus the Seahawks. Come the end of the season, the Pats have finished at the top of the AFC once again. They managed to beat out Denver in the Mile High Stadium. Brady finishes with the best ever TD-Int ratio in QB history. Many believe he should be the MVP, but some believe 12 games wasn’t enough to showcase such MVP-caliber attributes. The running game remains strong, the passing game is the most versatile in football, and the 14-2 Patriots get their Home-field Advantage AND First-Round Bye.
The Divisional Game and the AFC Game are never close. Amazing passing clinics by Brady and even more epic performances by Chris Hogan, Dion Lewis, and many other players help Brady to his 7th Super Bowl appearance. Pats fans are ecstatic. Brady’s revenge is nearly complete. The Atlanta Falcons look scarier than ever, but nobody is more prepared than the greatest football organization of all time.
February 5th, 2017: The Big Day
Tom Brady has more on the line than anyone else in anything, ever. He’s placed alongside Joe Montana in a tie for the greatest QB of all time. The only thing still holding him back is two chances against the New York Giants that were snatched away from him. But he remains hungrier than ever. 60 more minutes of football, and the legacy was going to be one of 2 vastly different opinions.
Atlanta gets out to a quick 21-0 lead. Matt Ryan looks flawless. The Pats running game is nonexistent. Matt Patricia and the Patriot’s defense cannot figure out Kyle Shanahan’s explosive Atlanta offense. Tom Brady is in the hot seat, particularly after throwing a devastating pick-6. The Pats can only muster a Stephen Gostowski FG to define their first half scoring. They trail by 25 points after another Falcons TD in the 3rd quarter. If anyone is going to bring the Pats into this game, it’s going to be Tom Brady, and in the most historic fashion ever. 19 points in with a little over a quarter remaining is his task.
Yet the next offensive possession is a frustrating one. The Pats opt to kick a field goal with 9:44 left to play. Thanksfully Gostowski drills it and it’s a two-possession game. The next nine and a half minutes still give Brady enough time to make his mark…or give him the opening to fall again. But the defense makes a huge play by strip-sacking Matt Ryan to set the offense up with great field position. With 6 minutes left in the game, Brady eventually finds Danny Amendola in the end zone. A James White 2-point conversion makes it an 8-point game with a lot of time left. The Patriots are back in Super Bowl 51! It’s a mad house!
In a series of events, Atlanta is once again forced to punt on 4th and 33 near midfield. This is considered one of the miracles of the Super Bowl. Atlanta penalties and loss of yardage bring them out of field goal range. With 3:30 left on the clock, Brady marches down the field, converting many 1st-downs. One of these comes on a 23-yard completion to Julian Edelman that is bobbled between himself and 3 Falcons defenders. Edelman is able to hold onto the ball in such amazing fashion. The Falcons unsuccessfully challenge the play, as the name “David Tyree” surfs through the world of football. Brady caps the drive off with a James White rushing TD. The 2-point conversion to Danny Amendola is good. We’re tied in Super Bowl 51. 19 points down no more. The Falcons have no timeouts. Barring a Hail Mary or some ridiculous catch, the Patriots had forced overtime, never before seen in Super Bowl history.
Matt Slater makes the 50/50 call of the century, calling heads and winning the coin toss in overtime. The Patriots march down the field, drawing a DPI call at the goal line, and letting James White run in the game-winning TD. Unbelievable. Pats fans are in hysterics. Brady’s got his 5th. He’s cemented as the best. Biggest comeback ever. Tears are falling. It’s a crazy day. The best day of my life, certainly.
466 yards. 43 completions. Another Super Bowl ring. Where does that put Brady? 4th time as Super Bowl MVP in his 5th Championship. He’s got the most rings and the best stats. He’s at the top forever. He’s the Greatest of All Time, cementing that indisputable claim in the craziest fashion ever.
This is the sweetest thing I could every write about. That comeback. Those numbers. That smile. This team. These circumstances. 4 letters: G. O. A. T., it’s pure facts now people. Not to mention two catches away for 7-7 in Super Bowls, but he’s already got the most.
What a crazy day. Congrats to Tom Brady, Greatest of All Time.