2017 Super Bowl will be remembered for the way Tom Brady orchestrated the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history on Sunday, winning his fifth ring and fourth most valuable player award by leading the New England Patriots to an unbelievable victory.
The Patriots scored 31 unanswered points in the second half to win the first overtime game in Super Bowl history, 34-28.
Running back James White scored the victory on the opening possession of the extra period, just pushing his way across the plane of the end zone with a two-yard run – a play that triggered the confetti cannons and clinched a fifth Super Bowl for both Brady and Coach Bill Belichick — most for any quarterback or head coach.
No team in Super Bowl history had ever overcame more than a 10-point deficit. Until Sunday.
"We never felt out of it," Brady said. "It was a tough battle. They have a great team, but we just made a few more plays than them."
The Patriots, who trailed, 28-3, midway through the third quarter, pulled off the unbelievable. Their comeback included two touchdowns and two successful two-point conversions in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
Atlanta came real close to putting the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, moving into field-goal range with an eight-point lead and less than five minutes to play.
Instead of running the ball and trying to chew time off the clock for a kick that would have put them up by two scores, the Falcons chose to throw. Matt Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss, then Atlanta was flagged for holding on the next play. The Falcons wound up punting.
On the ensuing drive, Brady completed an unbelievable 23-yard pass to Julian Edelman, who somehow made a catch that ping-ponged among three Falcons defenders but never touched the ground.
New England put the final points on the board in the first half, but that field goal was cold comfort for a team that headed for the locker room trailing, 21-3.
Patriots defense was eaten up by Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who Saturday night was named the league's most valuable player.
It was with 2:21 left in the second quarter that the Falcons shocked the football world. Cornerback Robert Alford jumped a Danny Amendola route and picked off Tom Brady, returning an interception 82 yards for a touchdown, beating everyone so badly he was able to slow to a near-walk the final 10 yards.
Atlanta had a 21-0 lead and New England was falling through the ropes. It was the first-ever pick-6 against Brady in a postseason game.
Midway through the second quarter, the Falcons took a 14-0 lead when Matt Ryan threaded a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Hooper, a rookie from Stanford.
Devonta Freeman scored the opening touchdown with 12:15 remaining in the second quarter, cashing in a drive that started when rookie linebacker Deion Jones stripped New England's LeGarrette Blount at the other end of the field.
Freeman took a handoff at the 5, started up the middle, then bounced to the left, beating the Patriots to the goal line and finishing the run with a celebratory plunge into the end zone.
The 71-yard scoring drive included two long passes to Julio Jones, and a couple of spectacular runs by Freeman.