HOUSTON — Three minutes and 30 seconds.
That was all the time Tom Brady had to mount an epic comeback. And 91 yards stood between the Patriots, the end zone and the improbable.
Buoyed by the presence of his ailing mother, Galynn, who traveled to Houston to witness Super Bowl LI, Brady had set out to do what no other NFL quarterback had done before: win five Super Bowl titles. But for much of Sunday night’s game, the future Hall of Famer seemed out of sorts.
The Falcons had dominated, their defense had been suffocating and it was their quarterback, regular-season MVP Matt Ryan, who was getting the job done en route to taking a 25-point lead.
Meanwhile, New England couldn’t generate anything on offense. That is, until late in the fourth quarter.
Brady had come back from 21-point deficits three times in his career, but he had never pulled off that feat in the postseason.
Until Super Bowl LI.
With the game on the line and time running out, Brady again proved why he’s the greatest of all time. And with a little help from some David Tyree-like Super Bowl luck — courtesy of a catch by Julian Edelman in which the ball was as close to hitting the ground without hitting it as was possible — the Patriots scored 31 unanswered points for a 34-28 overtime victory, stealing what seemed like a sure win by the Falcons.
Brady broke Kurt Warner’s Super Bowl record for passing yards, finishing with 466. He was 43-for-62, Super Bowl records for most completions and attempts in a game. For the fifth time in seven tries, Brady is a champion. And for the fourth time, he is a Super Bowl MVP.
“I’m so proud of our guys, the coaches, the team, it’s unbelievable,” Brady said after the win. “ . . . It’s just a great group.”
Tears then welled in his eyes as he was asked about dedicating the game to his mother.
“They’re all happy just to have everybody here and it’s going to be a great celebration,” he said, smiling.
It was a extraordinary ending to a roller-coaster season that began with Brady serving a four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate saga. During Super Bowl week, he seemed unfazed by questions about the presumed awkward exchange with Roger Goodell if he won the Super Bowl. Instead, Brady was concerned with one thing: his mother.
According to owner Robert Kraft, Brady’s mother had been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation all season. Though Brady chose not to go into details, he was emotional as he acknowledged that her condition had been weighing on him and his entire family. During a Westwood One radio interview, he dedicated the game to his mother. “She’s the one I want to win for,” he said of his mom, who has been dealing with an illness for the past 18 months and had been unable to travel to games this season.
Yesterday was the first time in a long time that she was able to see her son play in person. And he capped an already special moment in thrilling fashion.