Depending on who you ask, this had all of the makings of one of the greatest Super Bowls in history. A match-up between the best offense in the league and the best defense in the league; between a team that won the Super Bowl the previous year and a team with three gleaming L0mbardi’s. The New England Patriots faced off against the Seattle Seahawks on February 1, 2015 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The last time the Patriots played a game of this magnitude in this place, it did not turn out well.
The 2014/15 season had been an interesting one. Uncharacteristically, the Patriots started out 2 and 2. That second game was a humiliating loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, 41-14. Media began questioning the skills and abilities of this team and particularly, Tom Brady. But, Bill Belichick was “on to Cincinnati.” Belichick was not about to let this noise in his locker room. By the next week, the Bengals had the embarrassing loss as the Patriots pummeled them 43 to 17.
Blazing Momentum into Playoffs After Shaky Start
The Patriots went on a seven-game winning streak and ended the season 12-4 with the number-one seed in the playoffs. After resting during their first-round bye, the Patriots faced a hungry Ravens team in the divisional round of the playoffs. After an exciting 35-31 win, it was on to the AFC Championship. The Patriots faced the Colts in the championship round and proved they deserved to be in the Super Bowl with a 45-7 victory over the Colts.
Then, it began. The most played out, ridiculous, unbelievable, over-discussed, biased, unfair (insert your own adjective here) “scandal” in recent NFL history – Deflategate. We all know the story, which is not worth another discussion. However, it is still interesting how it was brought up, investigated and debated the week the Patriots were preparing for the Super Bowl. Those Colts, trying to bring distraction to this team – good luck!
Moving on, the Patriots were making their eighth Super Bowl appearance . It was an exciting game. The score was tied 14-14 at halftime. Seattle pushed on to a 10-point lead and, in the fourth quarter, the Patriots faced a big challenge against the best defense in the NFL.
You can never count this team out. As Patriots fans, if we have not learned that by now, this game proved it. With less than eight minutes left to play, Tom Brady dug deep and did his job. He led the team on a scoring drive capped by a Danny Amendola touchdown pass. In turn, the Patriots defense held the Seahawks to no score. With the Patriots still down by threee, Brady finds Julian Edelman in the end zone to give the Patriots a four-point lead.
Seattle got the ball back with just over two minutes to play. Russell Wilson completed a 31-yard pass to Marshawn Lynch. Then, on third and ten, Seattle gets the first down after a completed catch by Ricardo Lockette. On the next pass, Wilson completed another insane, bobbled catch for 33 yards to Jermaine Kearse at the New England 5-yard line. With a minute to go, Lynch goes up the middle for four yards, stopped by Dont’a Hightower. Now, there are 26 seconds to go and Seattle is on the 1-yard line. On the next play, Marshawn Lynch aka Beast Mode was ready for the touchdown. As the Patriots offense got ready to get back on the field, Russell Wilson threw the ball! Malcolm Butler jumped the route and pulled off an incredible interception!
Pandemonium would be an understatement! Brady caught major air, jumping up and down on the sidelines. The coaches and the players hugged, smiled and cried. The Patriots fans, filled with elation, also hugged, smiled and cried. The New England Patriots had all but won the game. Tom Brady took the award for Super Bowl MVP with a Super Bowl record, completing 37 for 50 passes, 328 yards and four touchdowns.
Following the win, Brady said, “You know, whatever it takes. Every team has a journey and a lot of people lost faith in us … but we held strong, we held together, and it’s a great feeling.” He added, “It wasn’t the way we drew it up. It was a lot of mental toughness. Our team has had it all year. We never doubted each other, so that’s what it took.”
On his game-winning interception, Malcolm Butler said, “I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play and it came true. I’m just blessed. I can’t explain it right now. It’s crazy.”
Maybe it is because it is so recent. Maybe it is because it was such an incredible game. Or maybe it is because it meant so much to win another Super Bowl to prove just how amazing this team was, but I remember so much of that game clear as day. And that interception, that incredible interception.
Super Bowl XLIX goes into the books with a 28-24 Patriots win, and Tom Brady collects his fourth Super Bowl ring.