Tom Brady’s Super Bowl playground

By Andrew Campbell - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38124073

Now who is the Bad Man? Matt Ryan just proved that he will never be that guy. Tom Brady reminded all of his that he is that guy. For Brady, the New England Patriots’ 34-28 comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, proved to be the defining moment of his illustrious NFL career.

For Ryan and the Falcons, the defeat to the Patriots was just about the worst case scenario that could be played out on the biggest one-day sporting event stage in the world. It’s no shame to lose. It’s how you lose.

Ryan and the Falcons don’t have to hang their heads about losing to Brady and the Patriots. After all, Brady and the Patriots have won five Super Bowls together. But the manner in which the Falcons lost the Super Bowl is where the shame and the disappointment comes in.

By Jeffrey Beall – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45381397

You don’t lose ballgames with a 25-point lead with one quarter of play remaining in a contest. And you most assuredly do not lose a lead that big in the Super Bowl. Ryan and the Falcons managed to do both. This was a major tank job by Ryan and the Falcons.

I mean, as in the most epic collapse in Super Bowl history. Ryan and the Falcons make going down in flames look like puff smoke coming from a cigar.

If the severely disappointing showing by 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton wasn’t bad enough to absorb, the wicked meltdown by Ryan and the Falcons in this year’s super game was stupendous.

Ryan, the league’s MVP after his stellar 2016 season, decided to go inept in the fourth quarter as the Falcons saw their 28-3 lead erased into a 28-28 tie by the time regulation had concluded. One drive later in overtime, the Patriots claimed their fifth title.

With that big of a lead in the most important watched event of the year, it seems like someone forgot to mention to the Falcons that they were  playing against the master of calm and great comebacks. They forgot to tell Ryan and the Atlanta faithful not to sleep on No. 12.

They’re also to blame for not warning the Falcons to keep stepping on the Patriots’ throats until they had kicked the football life out of the AFC champions. That didn’t happen. Atlanta will pay dearly for this oversight. With this debacle, Ryan and the Falcons probably will never again get that close to winning the title.

There’s something to be said about being close and not winning it all. It can be draining and suck the life out of you. No one knows how much Ryan and the Falcons will be affected by the defeat. But it’s a good bet that it won’t be good.

By Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA – Tom Brady, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8022614

We’ve already seen the “What If?”affect playing out in Seattle, and how the Seahawks’ second straight Super Bowl run in 2014 ended prematurely with disastrous results.

The Seahawks haven’t looked right since quarterback Russell Wilson threw that interception at the goal-line instead of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch for the game-winning score with seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLIX.

Put the Falcons in the blow it category as well. Who knows? It may be another 20 years before the Falcons recover from this heart-wrenching defeat. Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, Brady just turned his already storied career into icon status with his latest Houdini trick.

New England’s trick just got played out against the Falcons. Brady and the Patriots spotted the Falcons their big lead and went to work. There would be no dabbing, no strutting. Champions don’t need to boast. They just do.

Brady did what he always does: he led. It wasn’t easy. First, the Patriots found themselves down 21-0. The lead then ballooned to 28-3 by the time the third quarter ended. Brady and the Patriots were looking tired and old against the youthful and more athletic Falcons.

It didn’t matter. This is Tom Brady we’re talking about. Even at 39, no lead is ever safe with this guy. The Falcons had to learned this lesson the hard way. Brady wound up throwing for 466 yards in total for the game as New England scored 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to knock the Falcons from their would-be perch.

While Ryan went ghost in the second half, Brady took over. That’s what all the great ones do, right? If there were any questions remaining about where Brady stacked up in the best quarterback debate, he just handed out an emphatic reply.

Without doubt, Tom Brady just cemented his status as the GOAT (greatest of all-time) at the quarterback position.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1106 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.