Super Bowl LI – The Best Ever?

Now that we’ve all had an opportunity to digest the events of Super Bowl Sunday, it’s poignantly clear we are truly a nation divided. Those who love the Patriots (about 10% of the football watching population) and were bleeding to see them win, those who hate the Patriots (about 50%) whom where basking in the glow of a 25-point deficit with 17 minutes to play, those who love the Falcons (5%) who probably had better Super Bowl parties in regards to time spent actually enjoying the game, and the bystanders (35%) who just love their own club, and just wanted to see a competitive game and enjoy a good party. Add it up and about half of the 111 million people watching were happy, the other depressed, but we can all come together and agree that this was the best Super Bowl we’ve seen in 51 years.

The post-bowl banter as always takes ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ to a new level and this year is no exception posing the questions, “did the Patriots win it or did the Falcons lose it?”, “if Brady wasn’t the GOAT before does this win make him it now?”, and lastly, “did the Patriots finally enact revenge on Rodger?”

In regards to the first question it certainly can be argued both ways until the end of time and that’s why they like it. You can’t argue that even though the Pats made a comeback, like you knew they would, three knees and the Falcons are at least in the position to hoist the Lombardi trophy with a made field goal from a distance (39 yards) where their kicker had made 32/33 for the year.

However, with the help of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, we’ve looked at some of the numbers behind the comeback and you might also draw the conclusion that but for not the 14 points the Pats gave the Falcons via turnovers including a pick 6, this game may have been lopsided in the other direction. It certainly makes a case for the Patriots taking the win rather than the Falcons giving it to them.

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 the Super Bowl than New England did Sunday night.

8 minutes, 49 seconds

The time it took the Patriots to go from a win probability of less than 1 percent to a win probability of 50 percent, after a 2-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, 1 yard more than his previous best, a 74-yard drive against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2015 divisional game. The Patriots’ previous longest game-winning drive in the Super Bowl was against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX (64 yards).

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 allowed 450 or more passing yards in an playoff game.

93 plays

Total number 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.


Receptions by James White, breaking the previous Super Bowl record held by Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (13 catches) during Super Bowl XLVIII. If not for Brady’s out-of-this-world heroics, White would be the game’s most valuable player. He had 110 yards and a touchdown in the passing game and added two more scores on the ground.


The number of times New England moved the chains against Atlanta, a Super Bowl record, to join the 1984 San Francisco 49ers as the only Super Bowl teams to have at least 30 first downs.


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.

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