It’s never how you start anything, it’s always how you finish. The Atlanta Falcons learned this the hard way after blowing a 25-point lead in Super Bowl 51. My prediction from a previous article was close, as I said certain records could fall in this game based on the two team’s offenses.
I predicted one of the two quarterbacks would break the record for pass attempts and completions. The Patriots Tom Brady broke both those records with 62 attempts and completing 43 breaking current records of 58 and 37.
Brady also surpassed the yards passing leader Kurt Warner who held the top three records at 414,377,365 respectively. The Patriots legend finished with 466 yards in a spectacular performance in the second half of the game.
Tom’s calm focus resembled his own childhood idol Joe Montana starting a final drive to win the super bowl while relaxing the huddle telling of a John Candy citing. Brady breaks Montana’s record for the number of Super Bowl wins getting his fifth.
As stated, the running backs for both teams would play a big part in the game. The running backs scored all but two of the touchdowns, all within the red-zone. The super bowl receptions record fell as well, currently held at 13 and broken by the Patriots James White accumulating 14 receptions.
White most definitely could have easily been the game’s MVP, but the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback’s heroics were too much to overlook and granted him his record fourth MVP award.
The Falcons offense ran only 46 plays and yet scored enough to gain a 25-point lead midway through the third quarter. There comes a critical time in a football game when the play calling chart must be followed per the time remaining in the game. It’s the difference between winning and losing, and in the Falcons case, this became reality for Falcons offensive play-caller Kyle Shanahan.
The consensus would have been to run the ball to expire the clock as much as possible, while also adding points to make the game a two-possession game with little time remaining. Instead, the Falcons stretch the game giving an assassin like Tom Brady ample time to conduct a 91-yard game-tying drive, and eventually a 75-game winner in overtime.
Those events lead to the next record that fell, the largest deficit come-back in super bowl history. The Patriots obliterated that record by 15 points as the largest deficit record had only been a low 10 points held by these same Patriots led by Tom Brady.
Like I stated in the last article “this would be one for the ages” and indeed it was exactly that, going down now as the best super bowl ever played. In addition to the other records, these two teams set their own record, making this the NFL’s first-ever overtime in a Super Bowl.
One can only wonder if the records of super bowl 51 will ever be broken and if so, it will have to be one to behold with the standard set in Houston.