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Super Bowl History

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback ever to win Super Bowl LI

February 06, 2017
MARK HUMPHREY—AP

Kyle Van Noy from the New England Patriots celebrates after winning the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. 

The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons met in Houston, Texas, last night for Super Bowl LI (51). And history was made.

The Patriots defeated the Falcons, 34-28, in the first Super Bowl to go to overtime. It was New England’s fifth Super Bowl win, and the fifth title for quarterback Tom Brady. That’s a new NFL record for starting QBs. Brady also won a record fourth Super Bowl MVP award and set all-time marks for passes thrown (43) and passing yards (466). Head coach Bill Belichick also made history. He now has five Super Bowl wins — more than any other head coach.

Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady led his team to a game-winning comeback against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium

KEVIN C. COX—GETTY IMAGES
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady led his team to a game-winning comeback against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium

But even more impressive was how the Patriots won. They were down 28-3 in the third quarter before scoring 31 unanswered points. It was the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. "

[Brady’s] laser-focused, and there wasn't a time where we looked at Tom like he knew this thing was over," said Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. "There wasn't a doubt in my mind. We have one of the best quarterbacks that ever played the game."

One for the History Books

For the first half of the game, the Falcons were the dominant team. Quarterback Matt Ryan was named was named the 2016 NFL MVP. And he played like it. In the first 30 minutes, he guided the Atlanta offense to a 14-3 lead. The Falcons defense intercepted a Brady pass for a touchdown to make the score 21-3. And in the third quarter, Ryan tacked on another touchdown to put Atlanta up 28-3.

Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan leaves the field after losing to the New England Patriots.

TONY GUTIERREZ—AP
Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan leaves the field after losing to the New England Patriots.

The Falcons would not get near the end zone again. And with less then 20 minutes remaining in the game, Patriots quarterback Brady coordinated what was immediately called the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever.

"At halftime, I would say we weren't down at all," said Brady. "We were disappointed in the way we played, and we knew that we could go out and do a lot better in the second half."

Brady led the Patriots offense on four scoring drives. He picked apart the Falcons defense, throwing one completion after another. He tossed two touchdowns, along with two two-point conversations. Running back James White rushed for a touchdown, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski added a field goal.

In all, New England scored 24 unanswered points to tie the game and set up the first-ever Super Bowl overtime. The Patriots won the coin toss, received the ball, and Brady led his team down the field for one more touchdown. The win was sealed. And so was his place in history as possibly the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.

"We've got the greatest quarterback," said Patriots defensive lineman Trey Flowers. "Calm, cool, collective and just make plays. That's what he's been doing all his career."


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