By Zachary Fletcher
Think what you want about Tom Brady as a person. Think what you want about Tom Brady as a citizen. As a player, there’s just no need to think about it, however – Tom Brady is simply on another level. The Super Bowl on Feb. 5 was just another example of his incredible ability and determination to win championships.
In talking with students about this most recent Super Bowl, both Patriots fans and haters alike shared a common expectation: a hard fought for New England victory. All were quite confident that the Patriots would get another Super Bowl ring with Brady and Belichick at the helm.
The first half proved otherwise for Brady and the New England nation.
After a scoreless first quarter and an essentially nonexistent first half, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots went into the locker room down 21-3. Brady had been sacked twice, thrown an 80-yard pick-six, and managed to lead his team to a measly three points. Things were looking down.
Lady Gaga’s superb halftime show didn’t do much to soothe Brady and his Pats, reminding them that they were far from the edge of glory, with what could potentially be one of the worst blowouts in the league’s most prestigious game.
“I was pretty despondent at the second half,” said first-year student Nalin Richardson (Wakefield, Rhode Island), “Atlanta’s defense was just killing Brady in the first half, it was crazy.” Richardson, a New England native with an entire family of Patriots fans, voiced serious doubts about the Patriots’ chances during that first half, “I thought the game was over at 21-3. I thought the game was really over at 28-3.”
Sophomore Brett Golden (Chicago, Illinois), thought that “the Patriots were going to win the Super Bowl not by a blowout, but it definitely wouldn’t be close.” First-year student Sammy Burke (Boston, Massachusetts), said that she was “hoping the Patriots would win but I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy and that Atlanta would put up a fight.”
Despite the high expectations and abysmally low execution in the first half, something changed as the end of the second half started to draw closer. Richardson points to the nearly impossible Edelman catch, saying that the Pats were on the losing end of a catch like that with David Tyree’s famed “helmet catch” in the 2008 Giants upset victory over the Pats in Super Bowl XLII.
“It’s the same thing with Edelman,” Richardson said, drawing a parallel to Tyree’s catch that propelled the Giants to victory over the Patriots late in the fourth quarter. He added later, “I’m sure the Falcons felt the same way.” The Patriots now had a helmet catch of their own, but this one involved a defender’s foot and the hyper-aware hands of Julian Edelman. Momentum can be crucial in sports, and Edelman’s catch was surely an important step on the Patriots path to victory.
The momentum shifted in the Patriots’ favor after Edelman’s catch, and Tom Brady then did what he has been doing for years: led his team to victory.
“There is no other game, at least Super Bowl game, that can be compared to this,” says Burke. “They defied all odds,” says Golden, keeping true the common thought of inconceivability that the reality of this game had. UPS head football coach Jeff Thomas adds that “The Patriots did such a good job of staying calm that it didn’t feel like a miraculous comeback at the time to me.”
The second half, specifically the fourth quarter, was owned by Tom Brady. Everything that went wrong in the first half went right in the second half. The Falcons’ defense wasn’t getting pressure on Brady, and his throws were crisp and his decision-making effective: all the ingredients needed for a historic comeback.
“I think the Patriots just were able to execute a little better than the Falcons consistently in the 2nd half,” adds Coach Thomas.
When asked about the future of Brady, Golden, neither a Patriots nor a Falcons fan, is a little wearier of Brady’s future. “I don’t know how much longer he will be playing with the success that he has had.”
The UPS New Englanders, however, see no signs of Tom Brady stopping. “I don’t see why he’d retire. He’s not hurt yet,” says Richardson. “I don’t think that he will retire until he feels that the next quarterback for the Patriots is ready,” adds Burke.
No matter who you supported, this year’s Super Bowl was a victory for sports. It was a game, as Coach Thomas puts it, “where the commercials weren’t the most memorable part.” Team and player aside, this Super Bowl was truly one of the greats.
Whether he’ll get another championship is unknown for now, but Tom Brady has surely cemented himself among other football legends in this year’s game.
Lady Gaga, the Atlanta Falcons, and the New England Patriots made this year’s Super Bowl unforgettable, entertaining, and surely created a spectacle that lived up to everything a championship game should be.