The New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime and claim a fifth Super Bowl title in the most dramatic of circumstances.
The Patriots trailed by 25 points in the third quarter but recovered to level at 28-28 and force the extra period – the first in Super Bowl history.
Quarterback Tom Brady, 39, led the recovery, finishing with a record 466 yards en route to being named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player for a fourth time.
The turnaround was completed when James White scored on a two-yard run – taking his personal haul for the game to 20 points.
The previous biggest deficit overcome by an eventual Super Bowl champion was 10 points, a record emphatically shattered by the Patriots on a quite incredible night at Houston’s NRG Stadium, which also featured a spectacular half-time show by Lady Gaga.
The singer opened her set with Woody Guthrie’s civil rights anthem This Land Is Your Land, “a gentle but pointed rebuke to the Trump administration”.
Tom Brady admitted afterwards that the outcome could have been very different had any part of the Patriots team not done its job.
A key moment came with the Patriots trailing 28-20 with 2:28 remaining in the final quarter when Julian Edelman made a miraculous catch for a first down, somehow grabbing the ball under pressure from three opponents after it was tipped into the air by Falcons cornerback Robert Alford.
Tom Brady breaks his silence on the Deflategate scandal by posting a statement on his Facebook page on September 4.
His statement comes a day after District Judge Richard M. Berman vacated the New England quarterback’s four-game suspension in the scandal.
Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots will open the season at home Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Photo Getty Images
“The regular season starts tomorrow morning and I can’t wait to fully commit my energy and emotion to focus on the challenges of the 2015 NFL season,” he said in the statement.
“I want to thank my family, my friends, all of the fans, past and current players and my teammates for the support they have given me throughout this challenging experience. I also want to thank Judge Berman and his staff for their efforts to resolve this matter over the past five weeks. I am very grateful. My thanks also to the union’s legal team who has fought so hard right along with me.
“While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this. I don’t think it has been good for our sport — to a large degree, we have all lost. I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation. I love the NFL. It is a privilege to be a member of the NFL community and I will always try to do my best in representing my team and the league in a way that would make all members of this community proud.
“I look forward to the competition on the playing field and I hope the attention of NFL fans can return to where it belongs — on the many great players and coaches who work so hard every week, and sacrifice so much, to make this game great. Most importantly, I look forward to representing the New England Patriots on Thursday night in our season opener. I hope to make all of our fans proud this year … and beyond!”