by Kendell Carlson
History was made Sunday, February 5th 2017, and while I have no claim at being a sports writer, I find the story of the 51st Super Bowl to be truly inspiring. Yes, the Patriots were expected to win, but the inspiration lay in how
they won, not just the fact that they won. And no, I’m not just saying this because I’m from New England!
It started at the beginning of the season when Tom Brady, arguably the most famous athlete in the U.S., missed the first four games of the season due to a suspension for his part in what is commonly known as the “Deflategate scandal”. Quick recap in case you’re unfamiliar; Deflategate refers to the allegation that the New England Patriots were deliberately underinflating footballs used in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts way back in January of 2015. The NFL found Tom Brady guilty of underinflating the balls and then tried to suspend him for four games of the 2015 regular season. The matter was then bumped up to a federal court, where Judge Richard M. Berman vacated the suspension on the grounds of inadequate notice, allowing Brady to play in 2015. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end; in April of 2016, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Brady’s four-game suspension for the 2016 regular season.
To all my people who understand baseball better than football (shoutout to my twin sister!), this would be the equivalent of a Derek Jeter being suspended for 40 regular season games: over 1/4 of his season!
Brady’s season started off rough, but he when he came back he did so with a bang. He lead the Patriots on a fast track towards their fifth Super Bowl title and not only redeemed his name in the NFL, but possibly became the greatest quarterback of all time. It wasn’t easy; the Patriots had to fight for every play, a fight they were losing for majority of the game. A fight they weren’t willing to give up, not until the final buzzer sounded and someone was called victor.
With 8 minutes and 30 seconds to go in the third quarter, the Falcons had a 98 percent chance of winning. Even after the Patriots managed to score their first touchdown of the game in the 3rd quarter, bringing the score to 28 – 9 Atlanta, the Falcons still had a 99 percent chance of winning. To my friends rooting for the Patriots and myself, it was heartbreaking. It was frustrating to see what was supposed to be one of the most competitive games of the year look more like blow out, with our team not on top, turning it into just more one thing in a series of unfortunate events (thanks, exam week!).
Now, this is the point where I’d usually put in a “spoiler alert!”, but considering how this game made history, I’ll just say this; the Patriots found hope in the unhopeful. I don’t know what was going through their minds during the game (probably something similar to what my friends were yelling at the TV as the clock kept ticking and the score remained the same on our end), but they didn’t let the 99 to 1 odds against them stop them. The Patriots persevered.
Not only did they manage to make the best comeback in Super Bowl history by overcoming a 25 point deficit AND send both sides to the first overtime in the 51 long years of the game, the Patriots gave the people something to believe in. They overcame opposition, struggle, and what seemed like certain failure and made history. The Patriots are not just the winners of the 51st Super Bowl. They are history makers, hope givers, and inspirers. They are teachers and motivators. They are champions.
The Patriots are living proof that it isn’t over until it’s over, and that a lot can happen in just 12 minutes.