Super Bowl Victory Is Decided In OT: Patriots Beat Falcons 34-28

Feb 6, 2017
Originally published on February 6, 2017 8:17 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

I don't care if you're a sports fan or not, if you missed last night's Super Bowl, I am really sorry. It was one of the most dramatic championship games ever. The New England Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime. It was the first overtime Super Bowl in history. And not surprisingly, the MVP went to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, but he did have a lot of help.

And let's talk about this with NPR's Tom Goldman, who was at the game in Houston. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, David.

GREEN: So the Patriots looked downright awful for three quarters, and then they turned everything around. How did they do this?

GOLDMAN: OK. So one of the Patriots' mantras is everyone do your job. Now, it causes a lot of eye-rolling. I can see you rolling your eyes there or feel...

GREEN: I am. I am.

GOLDMAN: ...You rolling your eyes there because it's so, you know, mundane. It's not the dazzling kind of explanation we want to hear to describe why the team is great year after year. But it is exactly how they pulled this off last night. While all of us watching, including the Patriots fans I talked to at halftime, were stunned by how bad they looked, New England was hard at work trying to figure things out. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia talked afterwards about how his players kept communicating with the coaches. And here's a bit of what he said.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MATT PATRICIA: You know what? Those guys really do a good job of coming back and giving us feedback. I think those guys understand the game to a level that I don't think anybody really comprehends. You know, they'll come back and say - hey, we see this or we think we can do this or maybe let's make this adjustment. And that's what they did.

GOLDMAN: You know, so everyone - players, coaches - they kept thinking and working and not moping. Grinding is a word you heard a lot after the game. And finally, in the fourth quarter, they got some plays going their way. At the same time, the Falcons had moments where they didn't do their jobs. They made mistakes - a turnover, a penalty at a critical moment. You add all this up, David, and you've got the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Down 28-3, New England scored 31 unanswered points.

GREEN: That is impressive. And it's so impressive The Boston Globe this morning saying, without a doubt, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady - best coach, best quarterback in NFL history. Is that fair?

GOLDMAN: Well, I think it is fair. You know, this was a separation game for them. They were both tied in their respective jobs with other greats, you know, for most wins in the Super Bowl. Now they have more. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick now each have five Super Bowls. That's more than anyone as a quarterback or a head coach. So, yeah - greatest of all time. Go ahead.

GREEN: And amazing to think Tom Brady, I mean, had to sit on the sidelines for the first two games of the season because of the whole Deflategate scandal and now this.

GOLDMAN: Yeah, exactly. And you did have, you know, a bit of awkwardness with Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, afterwards. And for New England, many reasons for joy last night - definitely some vindication mixed in.

GREEN: OK - greatest comeback in the history of the Super Bowl. And that's NPR's Tom Goldman, who was there.

Thanks, Tom.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.