By JOSEPH PARKER Staff Writer
Super Bowl LI was held in Houston, Texas. The big game aired Sunday February 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm Eastern Time.
The New England Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, were set to take the field against the eighth highest scoring offense (33.8 points per game) in regular season history, The Atlanta Falcons. The offense was led by quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones, and starting running back Devonta Freeman. They also averaged 40 points per game in the playoffs.
Tom Brady made his 7th Super Bowl appearance, an NFL record. The Patriots were without their number one receiving option, Rob Gronkowski, and still managed to be one of the top 5 offenses in the league. They had several running backs capable of catching passes starting with Dion Lewis. The Patriots also had plenty of above average wide receivers led by Julian Edelman and a top tight end in Martellus Bennett.
Atlanta was looking to achieve their 1st Super Bowl title. The Falcons were America’s team for this game with a national poll saying 73% of the U.S. wanted the Falcons to win.
Most U.S. citizens rooted against the Patriots due to the great hate that the Patriots organization and Tom Brady continue to receive. This is because of the number of scandals and accusations the organization has been linked to.
One of the major accusations the Patriots faced was recording teams special signals at practice, dubbed Spygate. This would cause the Patriots to lose a few 1st round draft picks. Another major scandal was the deflated footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship game, a scandal named Deflategate. This would lead to Tom Brady being suspended the first four games of this season due him not cooperating with NFL during the investigation.
On the other hand, the Atlanta Falcons seem to have finally broken away from a dark past left by Michael Vick’s dog fighting scandal. This ended with Vick pleading guilty to dog fighting after the evidence presented against him was unarguable. He served 21 months and was cut from the roster in 2009.
The Falcons don’t have any skeletons in their closet as an organization, however. They seem to play by the rules and always show opponents proper respect. This made it a battle of two opposites, a team surrounded in scandals and a team clean of any wrongdoing. Both teams rode high into Sunday’s game, making it fun to watch. The game was an epic battle, which made history as the first Super Bowl ever to go in to overtime.
The Patriots got off to an embarrassingly slow start. The Falcons held an 18-point lead at halftime, and ultimately ended up being up 25 in the third quarter. Then, the unthinkable happened. The Patriots came back with 31 unanswered points, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
The game left many people questioning the Falcons motives as they continued to pass the ball instead of running out the clock. This marked Tom Brady’s 5th Super Bowl ring and 4th Super Bowl MVP. This put him on the top of the list for Super Bowl wins by a quarterback and cemented his spot in history.
image courtesy of google images. stats courtesy of espn.com