For those who love sports history, Super Bowl 51 is a euphoric event. If Atlanta had won, there would not have been the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. There would not have been the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. And there would not have been the unofficial, yet now irrefutable coronation of William Stephen Belichick as the best coach in NFL history and Tom Brady as the best QB ever to play the game.
When the New England Patriots trailed 28-9 entering the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI on Sunday night, it was easy to write them off. No team had ever overcome a double-digit second-half deficit to win a Super Bowl before; those trailing by 20 or more points at the start of the fourth quarter had gone 0-11.
But the Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, fought back and somehow topped the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28, making New England’s the greatest comeback in football history.
Eight crazy stats from the Patriots win
99.6 percent: The Falcons’ win probability, according to ESPN, after Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit a 33-yard field goal with 9 minutes 44 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to cut New England’s deficit to 16 points. According to Neil Paine of ESPN, no team has ever overcome a lower win probability in the second half of a Super Bowl than New England did Sunday night.
8 minutes, 49 seconds: The time it took the Patriots to go from that win probability of less than 1 percent to a win probability of 50 percent, after a two-point conversion tied the game with less than a minute to go in regulation.
75 yards: The longest game-winning drive ever by Brady in the playoffs, one yard more than his previous best, a 74-yard drive against the Baltimore Ravens in a 2015 divisional game. The Patriots’ previous longest game-winning drive in the Super Bowl was of 64 yards, against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
466 yards: Brady’s new Super Bowl record for yardage, set on 43 completed passes, which breaks St. Louis Rams QB Kurt Warner’s mark (414 yards) against the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. It is only the fourth time since the merger of 1970 that a team has allowed 450 or more passing yards in a playoff game.
93: Total number of plays run by New England, breaking the NFL record (regular season and playoffs) set by the Pittsburgh Steelers (84) in Super Bowl XXX. Atlanta ran 46 plays.
37: The number of times New England Patriots moved the chains against he Atlanta Falcons, a Super Bowl record, to join the 1984 San Francisco 49ers as the only Super Bowl teams to have at least 30 first downs.
5: Football is a team sport, but Brady is now the only quarterback in NFL history to have five Super Bowl rings. He has been named MVP in four of those wins.