I have to come clean about something. At a certain point in Super Bowl XLIX I did something I am extremely ashamed of. Let me set the scene a little bit. When the clock was ticking down in the final two minutes of the game my heart was beating at about a mile a minute. My palms were sweaty. My knees were shaking. A train could’ve ran through my living room and I still don’t think my eyes would’ve averted from the television.
Russell Wilson’s spiral flew through the air and was tipped off of the hands of Patriots rookie safety Malcolm Butler, a phenomenal defensive play for a young kid that nobody expected to be a factor in the biggest game of the year — or so I thought. Then, Butler made a phenomenal defensive play. The ball was intended for Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse, tipped off of the hands of Butler, then off the foot of Kearse, then off of Kearse’s knee and then finally into the hands of its intended receiver.
The seemingly impossible completed catch put the Seahawks well within scoring range with a chance to take the lead and win the game in the closing seconds.
My heart sank. Flashbacks of the Pats’ loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, in which an unlikely hero David Tyree thwarted the Patriots’ championship with an improbable catch ran through my head. Could this seriously be happening again? Are my beloved Patriots actually about to lose the title on one of the luckiest catches I’ve ever seen in my long-lived life as a football fan?
It couldn’t end like this. It shouldn’t end like this. Not again. Next thing I know, a stumbling Marshawn Lynch run put the Seahawks on the one-yard line. Barring a miracle, the Pats were about to lose in the Super Bowl for a third time.
Now comes my confession that I have to come clean about. I have to admit, that with the the Seahawks in possession of the ball on the one-yard line with about 50 seconds or so left in the game, I completely thought the Pats had just lost the Super Bowl.
I am ashamed to say I doubted my team for a split second, and the second I did, is the second they proved me wrong.
Now, I repeat, barring a miracle, the Pats were about to lose in the Super Bowl. Just when it seemed that all hope was lost, Pats fans all across the globe witnessed a football play that, to them, was nothing short of exactly that — a miracle.
That same undrafted rookie from the University of West Alabama made the biggest play of his entire life, and in the NFL this year.
For some unfathomable reason, the Seahawks coaching staff decided that from the one-yard line, with the most powerful running back in football, that they were going to drop back and try to throw the ball for a game-winning touchdown.
Russell Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback dropped back and with no hesitation slung a bullet of a pass to a slanting receiver over the middle.
Unfortunately for Wilson and the Seahawks, the unlikely hero Malcolm Butler read the play as if he were a seasoned veteran. The rookie jumped the route and intercepted the ball to seal the deal and win the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots.
I don’t think I’ve ever let out such screams of joy over a sporting event in my life. I am honored to say I witnessed history. I am honored to be a fan of what I believe to be the best franchise in sports. I never should’ve doubted this team for a second.
It was a hard fought season and a hard fought Super Bowl. Every player did their job the way Coach Belichick had preached to them all season and it paid off when it mattered most on the biggest stage of them all.
Legacies were cemented in history on Sunday. No longer will the Brady vs. Manning debate be an issue. Tom Brady absolutely separated himself from those who he was always been compared to.
He is now in my eyes, and in the eyes of anyone with respect for the game of football, the greatest quarterback to ever play.
I’ve never been happier for my team, and I expect nothing but further determination and grit and glory in the future of this organization.
For Patriots owner Robert Kraft, for Head Coach Bill Belichick, for quite possibly the greatest quarterback in history Tom Brady, and for the rest of the team and organization, I say congratulations.
As for next season, I expect Brady and company to keep the wins coming.
Three rings was awesome. Four rings is spectacular. But if I know Tom Brady like I think I know Tom Brady, he’s gonna want one for the thumb.
Jake Coughlin can be contacted at email@example.com