Sitting here looking back at all the amazing, improbable and historic sports moments over the past decade it’s normally very hard for one of them to stand head and shoulders above the rest. This decade does not have this problem. On February 5th 2017 live on Fox from NRG Stadium in Houston we saw this moment unfold right in front of us all. The 14-2 New England Patriots took the field to take on the 11-5 Atlanta Falcons. The Super Bowl was driven by star power Atlanta Quarterback Matt Ryan was coming off his MVP season. All Decade Wide Receiver Julio Jones also with Mohamed Sanu Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper. Along with super running back committee Devonta Freeman and Telvin Coleman. Plus young elite defensive stars Dion Jones, Keanu Neal and Grady Jarret. That’s just one side of the equation.
Patriots were led by All-Century Quarterback Tom Brady and all world coach Bill Belichick. Along with stars Julian Edleman, James White and Danny Amendola. Dont’a Hightower and Trey Flowers led the Patriots defense. All football fans alike were expecting a great football game. Even with Rob Gronkowski out for the game due to injury, and Pro Bowl Cornerback Malcolm Butler being benched the night before, no one could count out the Patriots and the Falcons had an offense that was as hot as any team the Patriots had faced all year.
The game even started out slow. Game was tied at 0-0 after the 1st quarter. Then the game looked as lopsided as it could be. Atlanta would out score New England 21-3 to end the half, icing on the cake being a Robert Alford 82 yard interception returned the other way for a commanding 21-0 lead. New England would get a Field Goal as time expired to cut the lead to 21-3.
After a Telvin Coleman rushing touchdown and the 28-3 score with about 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, I had waved the white flag it was over. Tom Brady would answer with a meaningless touchdown drive, after a missed extra point at 28-9 just seemed like Atlanta was walking to a Super Bowl 51 victory. Until Tom Brady being the G.O.A.T went from arguable, to just an unstated fact. The Patriots would go on to outscore Atlanta 25-0. The play of the game being the once in a lifetime trick/luck catch by Julian Edleman.
James White would end the Super Bowl with a rushing Touchdown to force overtime and win the game in overtime. Tom Brady would end the game with Super Bowl ring #5 with Coach Belichick. The game was Brady’s greatest accomplishment. Since then Brady has added a 6th Super Bowl and has now passed Peyton Manning for 2nd on the Touchdown list all time. All the greats have “THAT” moment. Montana has “The Catch”, Elway has “The Drive.” “28-3” is the moment of the decade not because of the game itself, but because Tom Brady became not only the Athlete of the decade, but the Greatest Quarterback of all time.