On February 5, the New England Patriots faced off against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Our family cheered for the Patriots since we lived in Boston for a few years. I started to worry about the Patriots when the Falcons led 14-0 in the second quarter, and then it got worse with an interception. The Falcons had a great running game going with an impressive offense led by Matt Ryan. Tom Brady seemed to be mauled by the defense and couldn’t connect with his passes; it all felt sloppy and off. The Pats managed to muster a field goal before halftime and that was it. When the second quarter ended and the Patriots were down 3-21, I thought, “Well, at least the Falcons will have their first Super Bowl victory.” The sportscasters had discussed that no team in Super Bowl history had come back to win when they were down more than 10 points. So things looked good for the Falcons, but I hoped the game would change in the second half.
Then the Falcons scored again, making it 28-3, and I thought we may have to kiss this one goodbye. We were 25 points down after all. But somehow the Patriots found a way to fight the good fight and came back with a touchdown and another field goal. Then there was this beautiful moment where Julian Endelman made the most impressive catch ever, juggling it in his hands and reigning in the catch to advance the Pats down the field.
Then they tied it up and the game went into overtime. James White made the winning touchdown, and we started whooping and cheering in excitement! What an INCREDIBLE, UNBELIEVABLE COMEBACK!! We witnessed Super Bowl history with the most Super Bowl wins for a quarterback — 5, count them — and the biggest comeback ever! It was a crazy, frenzied win, and no one could have predicted that outcome — except Tom Brady I suppose. HOW DID HE?! I thought he looked frustrated and discouraged at times in the game, but to rally like that after such a staggering deficit takes some serious grit and determination. That is what a champion is made of — someone who will never give up. The wheels in his head must have constantly turned to the next play and problem solving rather than getting stuck on the odds against him.
So along with many other Patriots fans, No. 12 is my hero. (Endelman is right up there too; he’s a total Viking stud.) I want to be like Brady when I’m faced with opposition. I wish I could rebound as quickly as him when I face setbacks and challenges. I wish I could look at nearly insurmountable obstacles and not be daunted by them. I wish I could look forward and confront what is before me without looking back. I wish I could have the strength, courage, and faith to pick myself up when I fall, brush myself off, and quickly move forward. I wish I could huddle with a team that supported each other to make something magical happen. I wish I could believe in myself more and not waste my time with regret and blame for any mistakes. I also want to experience victory and celebrate my accomplishments with all who have helped me get to this point. Who doesn’t want to win at life? So he should probably write a book about how to succeed like a superstar quarterback in the game of life. I’m sure he could share some real gems in there.
I don’t really watch lots of football games. We watch lots of Red Sox games in our house. But I’m glad I saw this game that made me want to have that kind of drive and passion and focus in my own life. I want to show this game in the future to my children and grandchildren as an example of how to react in the face of difficulty and struggle. I want them to know it’s in their power to turn it all around. I want them to know miracles can happen if they believe. I want them to witness that anything is possible.
P.S. Sorry to all of you rooting for the Falcons. They played so hard, and they had many impressive plays. My 13-year-old son said many of his friends in 8th grade were “triggered” the next day over their loss. I’m not surprised since we live in Texas, and man, that must’ve hurt when they thought they clinched their first Super Bowl victory. There’s always next year (sigh).