Boy oh boy, last night was a roller coaster ride of emotion regardless of which team you were rooting for. At first it looked like this would go down as one of the biggest Super Bowl blowouts in history, luckily it turned out to be one of the greatest games in Super Bowl history. Not very often do you see a turn of events like that in sports. With 23 minutes left in the game, the Patriots were down by 25 points, and New England's quest for a 5th Super Bowl Championship seemed all but impossible. Brady and Belichick are to never be doubted again, when they really should've never been doubted to begin with, because once again they showed just why they're the best this game has ever seen. Through acts of God and just pure resiliency the Patriots were able to march back from 25 down to tie up the game by the end of regulation. All would be for nothing if they didn't seal the deal in overtime, but Brady got the ball first, and he did what everyone knew he was going to do. Lead his team down the field to win the game as we've seen him do countless times before. Brady, Belichick, and the New England Patriots organization won their 5th Super Bowl in dramatic fashion, leaving every football fan on the planet speechless. Coming back from 25 down with under 25 minutes to play has to be the greatest comeback in sports history, right? Well, let's take a look back at some other great comebacks throughout the history of sports, and see how they stack up to the miracle that was Super Bowl LI.
2004 ALCS: Boston Red Sox comeback from down 3-0 to beat the Yankees
The worst day of my life, the worst day of any true Yankees fan life was October 20, 2004. This was the day the Red Sox completed the greatest comeback in MLB history. Down 3-0 against a stacked Yankees roster, the Red Sox clawed their way back to tie the series up at 3 games a piece thanks to David Ortiz becoming the most clutch hitter on the planet. Game 7 rolled around and the Yankees never stood a chance, the game was over before it started, and the Red Sox were able to complete the first and only 3-0 comeback in MLB history. As legendary of a comeback as this was, it wasn't as impressive as what we saw last night with the Patriots. There was no clock running down against them, they had all the time in the world, it was just a matter of winning 4 straight baseball games. Impressive without a doubt, easily the greatest comeback in MLB history, but it wasn't quite as improbable as overcoming a 25 point deficit in 25 minutes on the biggest stage in sports. Very close, I'll have to say the Patriots was a just a little bit more impressive though.
2016 NBA Finals: Cleveland Cavaliers comeback from 3-1 to win NBA Finals
As much as I enjoyed every second of it, the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals doesn't stack up to the Patriots comeback either. Draymond Green got suspended game 5 opening up the floodgates for the Cavaliers comeback. Game 6 the Cavs got to play at home in game they were expected to win since they had the home court advantage, and than game 7 all momentum was on their side. What Lebron and Kyrie did to take down the Warriors will forever be remembered as the greatest comeback in basketball history, but it's not like the Cavs were down 25 points in game 7 mid-way through the 3rd, and came back to win the game. If that was the case I'd say without a doubt it's more impressive, but that is not the case. Patriots comeback triumphs any NBA comparison, I'm sure there's some irrelevant regular season or early rounds of the postseason without outrageous comebacks, but magnitude of the game has to matchup as well for it to be known as the greatest.
2010 NHL Eastern Conference Semi Finals: Philadelphia Flyers came back from 3-0 to beat the Boston Bruins
This is in the same boat as the Red Sox comeback, except the Red Sox comeback was in what would be Hockey's conference championship, not the Semi's. Very impressive comeback to say the least, but to call it the greatest in sports history would just be a lie, and I don't even think a Flyers fan would say that it was.
1993 NFL WildCard Playoff Round: Buffalo Bills comeback from 32 point deficit to beat the Houston Oilers in OT
This is definitely the more impressive feat, down 32 points in the 3rd quarter the Buffalo Bills led by backup QB Frank Reich, completed the largest comeback in NFL history. Is it harder to comeback from down 32 than 25, obviously, but did the Bills go onto win the Super Bowl? No. As a matter of fact they went onto to lose their fourth straight just a couple weeks later. So no, I will not give Bills credit for the greatest comeback ever. They might've won that battle, but they didn't win the war. The Patriots have the ring to go along with the comeback, the Bills have an ESPN 30 for 30 to go along with their comeback. You be the judge of which one you'd rather have.
Today's the day, the most glorious day in sports, Super Bowl Sunday. Two weeks of hype, two weeks of over-analyzing every detail, and it all leads up to a game in which no one can predict. The Super Bowl is unlike every other football game, it's so long, and the microscope is on the players for two weeks leading up to the game, so some players can be put out of their comfort zone by this. Once the players take the field who knows what's running through their head, sometimes you get a battle for the ages, a game that you'll remember where you were when you watched it, and sometimes you'll get a game like Super Bowl 48 where it's supposed to be a legendary matchup, only for it to turn out to be a blowout. Still, it's our civic duty as more than just a casual sports fan to make predictions for how we believe the game will turn out, and that's what I'm here to do.
First off let me start by saying, this is the 6th time the #1 ranked scoring defense will go up against the #1 ranked scoring offense, and the defense is 4-1 in the previous matchups. Advantage Patriots. This will also be the 9th time since 2000 that the MVP will be playing in the big game, the MVP's are 0-8 in the Super Bowl. Advantage Patriots. Brady, Belichick, and 21 other players for the Patriots have played in the Super Bowl compared to the Falcons having just 5 players who have every experienced a game of this magnitude. Advantage Patriots. It seems like every way I look at it the Patriots have the advantage over the Falcons in this Super Bowl matchup, and that's exactly why I think we're headed for a stinker of a Super Bowl. By no means do I want the game to go that way, but I think we're all going to be very disappointed with the way this game plays out.
Patriots win 38-24, and in reality it'll feel like the Patriots won by a lot more since it'll be so easy for them. Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, and the rest of the Falcons offensive weapons have been the subject of discussion in many debates for why the Falcons have a chance, well here's why they don't have a chance. Belichick does an incredible job of taking away the opposing team's best player, in this case that's Julio Jones. He'll have either Rowe or Ryan on him with safety help over the top all game to limit Jones to just short stuff. If the Pats can wrap up and tackle Julio shouldn't kill them like expected. Malcolm Butler will be following Mohammed Sanu around taking him out of the game completely. Belichick used to do this with Revis all the time, he'd put him on the second best receiver, and just take him out of the game completely. As for the two headed dragon at running back, the Patriots run defense is one of the best in the league, so even though the Falcons will have fresh legs in the backfield at all times, I believe the Patriots will limit the run game since their front 7 has been doing it all year. Taylor Gabriel is the only one I could see having a huge day for the Falcons on the offensive side. As for the Falcons defense, Brady is going to tear apart this pathetic excuse for a defense. If the Pats get an early lead and the Falcons have to play catch up they have no shot, so the Falcons defense has to get stops early if they want to have a chance. Vic Beasley needs to have the game of his life and the interior lineman need to get some push, so Brady can't step up into the pocket. If the Falcons can strike first, and have the offense firing on all cylinders they might have a chance. If not it's going to be a miserable day for the Falcons and their fans, but more importantly it's going to be another Super Bowl bust, which I totally cannot handle.
Praying my prediction is wrong and we get a Super Bowl like Seahawks-Patriots in 2015, but I just can't see that happening today.
Ladainian Tomlinson RB: One of the best to ever do it at the halfback position gets inducted into football immortality. LT was an obvious first ballot hall of famer, he was the engine of a great Chargers offensive in the early and mid 2000's. His ability to jump over the top at the goaline, stiff arm people through the turf, and his iconic touchdown will forever be remembered in NFL history. LT currently holds the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season with 28, a record that might never get broken due to the way the league has changed. Tomlinson is second all-time in touchdowns for running backs with 145, he rushed for 13,684 yards in just 11 seasons putting him 5th all time. Now enjoy watching him make defensive backs his bitch and flying like Super Man across the goaline.
Terrell Davis RB: Davis is somewhat of an enigma, many people are saying how could a guy that only played 4 full seasons make it into the hall, well TD was just that special. He came into the league as a 6th round pick, the probability of him making the team let alone becoming the starter was slim to none, but he overcame the odds. He rushed for over 1,000 yards his rookie season, the lowest draft selection to ever run for 1,000 yards at the time. He then proceeded to run for over 1,500 yards the following year, followed by 1,750 yards in his third season, and finally he broke into the 2,000 yard club in his fourth and final healthy season. He was a league MVP and he was probably the best performing playoff running back of all-time. In just 8 playoff games he ran 1,140 yards and 12 TD's, he shined the brightest when it mattered most, and he has a Super Bowl MVP trophy to prove it. Terrell Davis might've had a short career, although it was brilliant one to say the least, without him the Broncos probably don't win those two Super Bowl titles. Like Elton John said "it's better to burn out than fade away."
Kurt Warner QB: From undrafted QB to Hall of Fame QB, Kurt Warner is truly an inspiration to any athlete to never give up. After going undrafted he decided to continue playing football in the Arena Football League, where he would light it up for a couple of seasons. After gaining some recognition, Warner got a chance to play overseas in Europe for the Rams Euro team where he proved that he was a solid QB. He became the Rams 3rd string QB for the 1998 season, then in 1999 he was promoted to 2nd string. Trent Green, the Rams starter at the time, tore his ACL in preseason, Warner got his opportunity, and the rest is history. Warner was the general for the greatest show on turf, they went onto win a Super Bowl making another, but ultimately losing to the beginning of the Patriots young dynasty. He won an MVP, a Super Bowl, and led his team to the big game three times. Warner hit some bumps along the way, he was released by the Rams for playing poorly, the Giants gave up on him quicker than expected, and injuries did effect his tenure in Arizona. At the end of the day he was able to reinvent himself in Arizona once again just like he did with the Rams his first time around. Warner might not have the flashiest numbers, but when healthy and in a groove their were few better than Kurt Warner.
Jason Taylor DE/OLB: Jason Taylor was a physical specimen that played defensive end or 3-4 OLB whose job was to get after the quarterback. That's what he did best, in his 15 years in the NFL Taylor managed to record 139.5 sacks putting him next to some elite pass rusher names on the all-time sack list. In 2006 he put together such a phenomenal year he earned the Defensive Player of the Year award honors, recording 13.5 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 11 pass deflections, and 2 touchdowns. An underrated part of Taylor's game was his ability to effect the play without getting to the QB. He was such a big dude that it was hard for QB's to throw over him, thus why he was able to deflect 77 passes in his career, along with intercepting 8. Taylor was the heart and soul of the Miami Dolphins, now they might've been a mediocre team, but Taylor was far from mediocre to say the least. I'll let the film do the talking for Taylor.
Kenny Easley SS: Easley was a ball hawking safety back in the 80's, he didn't play very long, but during his tenure in the league he racked up a ton of interceptions and respect from his peers around the league. Easley was the complete package at safety, he could hit with force of Kam Chancellor and he could cover like Earl Thomas, now that's a rarity at the safety position. Easley was the 1984 defensive player of the year, that season he recorded a whooping 10 interceptions, 2 of which he took for touchdowns. I never saw Easley play, so there isn't much I can say about him, but 32 interceptions in just 7 seasons is very impressive. I'll let him and his peers tell you about the kind of player he was.
Morten Andersen K: Not that anyone cares because he's a kicker, but he was probably the best to ever do it. Mort Andersen played in the league for 24 years, the second longest tenure ever in the league. He made 500 plus field goals and I'm boring myself talking about a kicker so I'm just going to stop now. He's a kicker, I get he's the best at what he did, but c'mon now.
Jerry Jones Owner/GM: Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy you a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame apparently. Why is Jerry Jones be enshrined into football immortality, I seriously have no idea, but I don't think owners should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He's the owner of the self proclaimed 'America's Team', so obviously he's a big figure around the league, and I'm sure he's done a lot for the league, but leave the Hall of Fame for the players and the coaches, no one gives a shit about the billionaire owners. Just feeding into Jerry's ego boner by allowing him into the hall and I hate it.