Brady was getting clobbered. Taking hits that a guy of his age and ability shouldn’t be taking….Atlanta’s Defense was relentless. I won’t say I had lost all hope, but I was close. I was sitting watching the game and occasionally checking social media where streaming tweets were exploding with some of the following:
“GOAT – NOT! Barely greatest on Patriots!”
“Can the GOAT for Brady be laid to rest now? Overrated and probably done in the NFL….”
I was sitting there thinking that at 25 points of separation, wouldn’t this be the GREATEST COMEBACK EVER (See Below) in all of sports if the Patriots could somehow figure out a way to win this game in the last 17 minutes. This would be BETTER than coming back from 3 games to 1 deficits. Better than any comeback EVER! ….IT would certainly shut up the haters and naysayers that were elated about the Falcons at that moment in time…
And then, the Pats scored. I know – everybody thought the same thing. “Yeah, they scored and somehow they’ll make it close in the end.” But I noticed that the Falcon’s Defense wasn’t moving as fast as they had moved in the 1st half. I also noticed something in one shot they gave us of Brady: Determination.
Athletes and, to a certain extent, business people, gamblers, hell, everybody out there reading this has to have a little “Heart” from time to time. I’m defining “Heart” as the ability to stand up and keep going when the chips are stacked against you. When everyone else would roll over and give up, you stand up and give it another go. I don’t know how you measure “Heart”. But I certainly know it when I see it. Gibson in the World Series…Jordan on the court….I’ve been in poker tournaments when you’re sometimes sitting with a lone chip and a chair and you think, “Hey, I’m not out of this yet! And if I lose trying to win, that’s not such a bad thing….” Heart. You have to have it in every walk of life or your first setback will be your last as you won’t have the will to stand up and take another swing.
I had a baseball coach that preached a bit of wisdom that I passed on down when I was coaching my daughters, “One of three things can happen when you go up to the plate. Sometimes you’re going to strike out. Sometimes you’re going to walk, and sometimes you’re going to hit the ball. I really don’t care about the result as much as I care about this: Are you seeing the ball and are you taking the best swing you can during this at bat? Are the mechanics right? Are you doing the best you can do at this very moment to hit the ball?” I know, sounds wordy, but the point was, don’t think about the score or if there’s runners on base or anything else. You’re holding the bat, the pitcher’s pitching the ball, and you need to see it to hit it.
All the Patriots could do yesterday at a certain point in the 2nd half was PLAY THE NEXT PLAY. They had to score. Any and all game strategy was out the window. The “situation” had become very, very simple. Take the best swing you can take. And they scored! And OF COURSE they immediately missed the PAT. Seemed almost like a little tease for the Falcon fans that hadn’t figured it out yet.
Brady drove the Pats down again but couldn’t punch it in. Still, 3 points is better than ZERO points in the NFL (That’s foreshadowing….).
And the Pats got the ball back again after what I thought was a series that nobody was talking about. Atlanta should have been running the ball and doing whatever they could to get rid of that clock. The Probability Game Winning Tracker had Atlanta at 94% late in the 2nd quarter and that rose to 98% in the 4th quarter. Till things started happening…
One of those things was that Brady found a way to score again with 9 and change left. AND they made a two-point conversion.
28-20…And I started to believe. In fact, it wasn’t believing as much as it was not doubting. Anyone who’s watched Brady knew the Pats were going to get at least one more shot, but would probably need two more shots as the Falcons would score something on the next drive…
Atlanta, needing a score in the worst way, made a succession of the worst calls and plays imaginable. Well within Figgie range that would have changed the entire complexion of the game that was sacrificed in two boneheaded calls and plays. 2nd and 11 on the Pats 23 (!) and you should have been thinking, “Run the ball!” But Atlanta tried passing. Ryan went back and the Pats made him pay dearly with a 12 yard TFL!!! Okay, still not out of FG range, but then a killer penalty that DID force them out of range and resulted in a punt. Again, ZERO points in the NFL is usually a VERY BAD THING….
And Brady was back.
And with 2 and change left on a 1st and 10 Brady threw the best pass he could throw…But he needed the help of a receiver taking the best swing he could take and making what I’m calling one of the BEST CATCHES IN NFL History that will ever be made…
Why is it the best catch in any game that I can ever remember??? It was 1st and 10….Brady had more plays. It wasn’t for a score…So why was it so great? Momentum. TRULY BELIEVING in your team mates and Believing that this is really going to happen.
Then the Pats scored and converted the subsequent 2-Point attempt. Which, on the math alone, converting two 2-point attempts in the same game should only happen about 25% of the time…
And when the coin was tossed and the Pats called heads and won, well…
This fan KNEW it was all over!
There would be no field goal. Atlanta wouldn’t get another chance. The Falcons Defense had seen enough of Brady. They were reeling. The momentum had turned from a trickling garden hose into a firehose that they could not control.
Some things are wonderfully sweet when they happen. Especially when they happen unexpectedly and to your advantage. To anyone that continues with the “Brady is NOT the GOAT” argument…We now have this to hold up and we can all simply say,
“Anyone else done THIS during a SuperBowl???”
But there will still be haterz….cause that’s what haterz do.
Matt Ryan, season MVP, could be held up as the loser in all of this…The Sack and the Fumble that led to a non-score and a TD were bad…But, at the same time, Brady gave the Falcons a Pick-6 for a score…
So, while there were mistakes on the Falcon side of the ball, I’m saying that this was Brady winning. Winners find a way. Yep – he needed the help of his teammates. But that kind of goes without saying.
Best Picture EVER!!!
Goodell trying to hand Kraft the NFL Trophy and getting a THUNDEROUS BOOING by the Houston Crowd was asesome!!! And is that Brady and Belechick laughing there asses off the whole time? You decide…
Greatest OF All Time?
This one is over, in my humble opinion. All the bar debates that start will be so easily defeated. I’ll gladly have a discussion about whoever you want to put in 2nd place. But Brady easily sits at the head of the table with 5 Superbowl Titles and a Comeback For All Time. For sure all time.
Greatest Comeback Ever?
This debate needs to be analyzed a little for clarity and objectivity.
Coming back from a 3-1 deficit in Baseball and Basketball used to be the impossible. Growing up, when it got to 3-1, it was over. It really wasn’t until recent history, with two episodes in the last year alone, that overcoming 3-1 was become a plausible recurring reality.
Now, I need a way to do the math. I’m thinking out loud here, but why not a spreadsheet calculator!
Initially, for simplicity’s sake, I’m going to assume that a finals game in either Hoops or Baseball is a 50-50 proposition. I think everyone can agree with that as a starting point. But after the analysis, I’ll take the comeback game odds down to the worst possible odds in order to make my argument that will show that what happened last night is completely off the charts….Give me a minute and you’ll see…
The Football comeback is going to be way harder because of all the variables…Atlanta was still a 98% favorite to win after the score was 28-12 with about 14 minutes left.
The Pats had to do EVERYTHING RIGHT from that point forward and get lucky.
And the Falcons needed to completely screw up…I go back to the Falcons on the 23 yard line in the 4th quarter. Perfect FG range. And they chose to pass!!! When running the ball three times for ZERO Gain keeps them in FG range. Yes, it looks like a weasely thing to do…but this is still FOOTBALL and this is the NFL! You take points when you can get points. And who’s to say you won’t break one if you try running it?
So, how do we put a probability on all that?
Let’s say the Falcons run three running plays with no penalties. That’s around a 99% probability on each play of doing that and not getting a penalty or turning the ball over for 3 plays. Then they kick the FG and that’s probably a 98% or 99% probability. Doing all that math leads to about 95.6% probability of getting 3 points AND TWO SCORES OF SEPARATION
…leaving us with 4.4% probability of TOTALLY SCREWING UP!
And things went haywire. The Falcons tried to pass and got sacked. Then they got a penalty…TRYING TO PASS! When running AGAIN keeps you in FG range (at a lower percentage) but at least you’re not throwing good money after bad. Yep, in gambler’s terms, the Falcons completely screwed themselves by not taking the easy points when they could.
Now, that’s only one side of the total probability. In trying to figure out what the odds are of the Pats doing everything perfect, I’m going with the 2% that the probability tracker had at the 28-12 mark in the 4th quarter. But because that DOESN’T factor in the Falcons Screw Up Percentage, I’ve got to do that math myself.
Here’s a little matrix for everyone that shows why I believe this will live as the greatest comeback in all of sports (and feel free to cut and paste and add to your cell phone photo collection when the argument comes up. BECAUSE IT WILL!):
9 in 1,000….Give or take.
So, I even went so far as to take the Baseball and Basketball odds down to the worst money lines you’ll ever see in those sports (about 3-2 odds) or only a 40% chance of winning all three games. That still yields a 6% probability or about a 1 in 20 occurrence of a 3-1 comeback! Which means about every 20 years you’ll see this.
Regarding this comeback last night…well, maybe your great, great, great, GREAT Grandkids will see one…
But you’ve seen the one Superbowl comeback for your lifetime. You might get to see another 3-1 in some sport at some point in time…
MMPG Goes Dark
Michigan REALLY, REALLY needed that W against the Suckeyes Saturday. Walton and Irvin can sometimes amaze me and other times, they really let me down. Saturday was the latter with Walton missing shots that you NEED TO MAKE AT HOME to finish a game.
Michigan is truly on the brink right now and cannot afford another loss at home. When I feel there’s hope, I’ll definitely post again. Right now…The flame is dim.
Brady needs to go in there and give them a pep-talk about having some heart!!!