NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after winning Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. The Patriots won the game 28-24, and Brady was named the game’s MVP.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after winning Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. The Patriots won the game 28-24, and Brady was named the game’s MVP.

The Super Bowl, an event that should really be considered a national holiday, is a day-long experience. It is the one sporting event that stops the world from spinning, keeps fans, whether die-hard or novice, glued to their television sets for hours upon hours.

 

 

Super Bowl Sunday 2015 was one of those days.

I believe every Super Bowl played, all 49 of them, has produced a moment where the winning team made the one play they needed or received the break required to come away with the championship. On the other side, the losing squad looks back, realizing there was one moment in time where the title slipped away.

New England Patriot fans will always remember the David Tyree catch that led to the New York Giants’ 17-14 victory in the 2008 Super Bowl, ending an undefeated season for the Patriots.

So here we were on Sunday, after all the chicken wings, potato chips, dip and nachos were put away, watching another catch that would undoubtedly lead to another disappointing Patriots loss, a defining moment in Super Bowl history.

Jermaine Kearse somehow came up with a catch while falling to the ground as two Patriot defenders, seemingly in perfect coverage, watched helplessly close by as the bound bounced off Kearse’s hands, then knee and somehow settled into his waiting arms while on his back at the 5-yard line.

On the Patriots sideline, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady began to loosen up, figuring he was going to have to rally the Patriots to at least a tying field goal to force overtime.

Instead, rookie Malcolm Butler made the play Patriot fans will remember forever. A 28-24 victory gave Brady, Bill Belichick and Patriot Nation that elusive fourth Super Bowl title.

There are several key moments throughout the history of the Super Bowl that led to a win or a devastating loss. Max McGee’s behind the back catch in the very first Super Bowl in January 1967, a catch that led to the big bad National Football League’s Green Bay Packers’ 35-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs of the fledgling American Football League.

Joe Namath guaranteed, then delivered, a 16-7 win for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III over the Johnny Unitas-led Baltimore Colts, the first win for the AFL in the big game and the start of what the NFL is today, as two years later the AFL and NFL would merge.

There have been big moments, like Jim O’Brien’s last second field goal in Super Bowl V that lifted the Colts to a win over the Dallas

Cowboys … Lynn Swann bobbling and eventually making a circus-like catch in Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl X win over the Cowboys … Tight end Jackie Smith’s drop of a Roger Staubach pass in Super Bowl XIII, a gaffe that allowed the Steelers to come away with a 35- 31 win … The great Joe Montana driving the San Francisco 49ers 92 yards in three minutes, throwing to John Taylor for the 20-16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII … Wide right! That is what Buffalo Bills fans remember most when Scott Norwood’s kick in Super Bowl XXV went wide of the goal post in the final seconds of a 20-19 loss to the New York Giants.

And, there are others, like when the shoe was on the other foot and Adam Vinatieri’s last-second 48- yard field goal gave the Patriots a 20-17 upset win over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, the first of four titles in this century for New England… Who can forget Super Bowl XXXIV when Tennessee’s Steve McNair threw to Kevin Dyson as the time ticked away, with Dyson coming up a football short of the end zone as the Rams came away with a 23-16 win.

These are just a few defining moments of teams that came up with the big play for the win, and others that came up just a bit short.

Butler’s interception, two plays after Kearse’s catch, is a defining moment, a play that allowed future Hall of Famers Brady and Belichick to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the fourth time, the first in 10 years after disappointing setbacks against the Giants in two Super Bowls since the Pats won three of four earlier this century.

“Every team has a journey and a lot of people lost faith in us early,” Brady said after winning his third Super Bowl MVP award, “but we held strong, we held together and it’s a great feeling. I’ve been at it for 15 years and we’ve had a couple of tough losses in this game. This one came down to the end, and this time, we made the plays.”

Brady has, in my opinion, cemented his legacy as the greatest quarterback of this era. He is better than Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. As much as I love my Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of six Lombardi Trophies (had to get that in), Brady is better than Hall of Fame Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who also won four Super Bowl titles with the Steelers under coach Chuck Noll of the 1970s.

On Sunday, Brady completed 37 of 50 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns. He brought his team back from a fourth-quarter 10- point deficit, the first time that has happened in a Super Bowl.

Let’s say Russell Wilson throws a touchdown pass with 30 seconds left to give the Seahawks a 31-28 lead instead of Butler coming up with the title-clinching pick. Is there anyone out there turning their TV off with Brady only needing to drive his team into field goal position to tie the game and send the Super Bowl into overtime for the first time ever? Not me.

Brady has stated that he plans to play for another five years. But, the idea of going out on top has led many pro athletes to step away. Tom is sincere in his plans, so if another few years are in the cards, then maybe a couple more Super Bowl titles are as well.

For now, New England gets to celebrate another title. Does it get old Patriot fans?

BOB CONN is The Times Record sports editor. He can be reached at [email protected]timesrecord.com


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