I enjoy American football. I’ve developed fascination with the sport thanks to movies like Any Given Sunday, The Longest Yard, and The Replacements, and, most especially, the manga and anime of Eyeshield 21 (in fact, three of my most favorite fictional sports teams are American football teams). It’s also through these media that I’ve gained basic understanding on how the sport is played. Pop culture was also my gateway to the sport of basketball and into NBA fandom. However, I just wasn’t able to get into closely following and becoming familiarized with the NFL as I did with the NBA.
Thus, my annual NFL watching is limited to Super Bowls. And since I’m not quite an NFL fan, I really don’t have a team I get behind on. But Super Bowl LI was different. I was kind of rooting for the Patriots. For two reasons.
First reason: Tom Brady. The thing is, I only know a total of seven names out of the NFL’s entire history: Bo Jackson (I was fascinated by him because he got to play in both major leagues of American football and baseball, and even earned All-Star selections for both of them; plus, he was one of the three big-name athletes, along with Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky, to be reimagined as superheroes in the cheesy 90’s animated series ProStars, which I watched as a kid); O.J. Simpson (for his infamous court case and his role in The Naked Gun movies); Joe Montana (he was like the Michael Jordan of American football back in the 90’s as far as popularity is concerned); Terry Crews (because he became a beloved actor after retiring from professional football); Bill Goldberg (for becoming a professional wrestling legend); Tim Tebow (for his high-profile display of faith);and Tom Brady (which has been considered by many, even prior LI, as the best QB of all time, and has been the most famous NFL player for some time now). So since Brady is a recognizable name for me, I had no problem “siding” with his team. Plus, after he was suspended for the first four games of the season after “Deflategate” – a punishment that I think was unfair – it would be fun to see NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hand the championship trophy to the team he had screwed.
Second, the Left had politicized the whole thing – spewing hate on the Patriots just because Brady supports Trump and vice versa. They demonized the team’s fandom with insane, appalling ferocity in social media. Instead of treating it as a mere game, they finally made it another avenue for their Trump-hating ways. I’m no big fan of Trump, and, again, I’ve always been apathetic about which team would win the Super Bowl. But because of my annoyance with liberals’ unending abhorring behavior, for the first time ever, I allowed myself to get invested on a team for Super Bowl.
I wasn’t able to watch the game live (was at work). But I came to check its live boxscore four times while it was ongoing. First, when it was 0-21 during the second quarter. My heart didn’t really sank, but it was definitely a let down. Second, when it was 3-28 sometime during the third. At that time, I thought to myself that the game was practically over. Third time I checked, it was 9-28 going into the 4th. Minimal improvement; I was skeptical of a comeback. But the fourth time, it was 20-28 with about a little over a minute left in the game. The Patriots clawed up and kept the Falcons from scoring! I was surprised, of course. But since it was only a live boxscore, I didn’t know the situation at that point – if the Patriots had the ball or on defense – so I felt the Falcons still have the most likelihood to win. Thus, when I checked later when the game was over, I was stunned: 34-28! The Patriots completed an improbable comeback. I knew that it was a special game; I was excited to watch the replay for myself.
And it indeed turned out to be as epic as I thought it was after seeing the boxscore. It was a record-breaking Super Bowl. First overtime. Largest deficit ever overcame in a Super Bowl by the winning team. Most receptions and points in a Super Bowl, set by James White. Most Super Bowl MVPs for Tom Brady, as well as most Super Bowl championships (his 5th), basically cementing his status as Greatest Of All Time. Also, he completed 43 passes on 62 attempts for 466 yards, all single game Super Bowl records.
The game itself was intense and thrilling. The Falcons were pretty much in control for three quarters. Their defense sacked Brady several times and forced him to throw a lot of incomplete passes. One of his passes was even intercepted, leading to a pick-six that gave the Falcons a 21-0 lead and, virtually, the Lombardi Trophy. And it seemed to be not going well with the Patriots all game, embodied when they missed an extra point attempt after just earning their first touchdown. Even when the Patriots rallied in the fourth by cutting the deficit to 20-28, thanks to their poise and tenacity, the Falcons were still looking favored to win, especially after Julio Jone’s unlikely catch. But the Patriots’ dogged defense and a holding penalty by Jake Matthews pushed the Falcons out of field goal range, forcing them to punt, essentially giving the Patriots the chance to make a gritty drive (which includes an amazing catch by Julian Edelman) to tie the game – which they did. At overtime, Patriots won the coin toss, and Brady made sure they pushed the bowl steadily and surely, resulting to a touchdown and the completion of the most spectacular come-from-behind victory in Super Bowl history.
Oh, and it was made much more sweeter by the fact that liberals had been celebrating and mocking during the first three quarters, which eventually turned into either humiliated silence or their trademark whiny meltdowns (“#NotMySuperBowlChamps?” What the -? Are these guys for real?! LOL) when the Patriots won.
So, yeah, Super Bowl LI was awesome. I can’t really say if it’s the best Super Bowl ever, since, again, I’m not really that well-versed with NFL history as I do with NBA’s. But it’s easily the best Super Bowl match I’ve ever seen – by a wide margin.
In fact, given the context, it’s probably the most incredible game I’ve ever seen in professional sports.