I don’t know why my mother hates all Boston teams, seeing that she herself is not the biggest sport fan in the world, but she does. No matter who is playing in whatever sport, if a Boston team is there, she’s going for whoever they are playing. So this past Sunday, we decided to make a friendly wager: If the Patriots win, then I don’t have to do any dishes for a month and if the Falcons win, then I have to treat my family out for dinner. Oh, I was real confident, with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in my corner and a young, inexperienced Atlanta Falcons team on her side. That confidence was shaken like a 6.8 earthquake the moment Brady threw a late half interception to one of those “young, inexperienced” Falcons who promptly ran it back for a touchdown and a commanding 21-0 lead.
And then the phone calls. Three times for the next half an hour my mother attempted to call me to gloat on the dinner, even trying to squeeze a dinner and movie out of me. I could feel the number in my checkings deflate away. The next hour saw me listening to Motown classics on Pandora as I had the game on mute. Couldn’t even enjoy the halftime performance. At a score of 28-3 in the third quarter, only the voices of Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding could soothe my soul. Then, something amazing happened. Something otherworldly. Something straight out a cheesy, 90s Disney original movie where the good looking protagonist, having been beat down for the game comes to back to life like a bat outta hell. Yes my friends, Brady was back… and with a vengeance.
I can’t even say Brady was back however, it was the Patriots. That red, white, and blue team that had gone from Cinderella Man a fifteen years ago to the Evil Empire today, led by a hood wearing old man and chosen one that had become entangled by the dark side. The defense that look like mice for the Falcons’ dinner, turned back into the precise, calculating unit that has become common with any Bill Belichick team.
And like any Bill Belichick team and Patriots Super Bowl story, we got the usual: No name running back who stands out on the biggest stage. Kicker who redeems himself from early game screw up. A guy named Malcolm has a big game, and a fourth quarter furious comeback from the sixth round QB who grew up idolizing Joe Montana.
Once the coin said heads and New England won the coin toss, I immediately got my phone, went to my contact list, and found my mother’s number. The Falcons’ D was tired, fatigued, sore, and had absolutely no hope of stopping the Patriots offense. The league MVP Matt Ryan could only watch on the sideline as Tom Brady, the player whose poster he had on his wall at Boston College, led the Pats down the field for the game winning drive in the first ever overtime session in Super Bowl history.
And like that, the games was over. A 25 point deficit overcome, more than doubling the largest comeback in Super Bowl history (which was two years ago when the Patriots came back from a ten point deficit to win Super Bowl 49). An oh, the phone call to my mother. As a Steelers fan, this might be the greatest, non-Steeler related football memory. The call only lasted 47 seconds (mostly because she hung up), but it was a damn good forty-seven seconds. I told her that crow she’s eating, put some in the freezer for me, so I could eat it off the good silverware, which she would have to clean up afterwards. But back to football.
So the discussion is over with now, right? Seriously, this whole two, three, four, hell century debate on the greatest quarterback and greatest coach of all time is done with for at least the next few years? Because at this point, you just don’t like the Patriots if you’ll still deny it is not Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. There is quite literally, nothing else they could do to sway your opinion. Except, maybe, win another one. And let’s face facts, in another year or two, we’ll see those two embracing in a rain of confetti for a sixth time. Cream always rises to the top.