Patriots break through for fourth Super Bowl title
A dense fog hovered over the Phoenix area on Sunday morning, blanketing the region with a lack of visibility that grounded airplanes and had longtime residents shaking their heads.
“It’s never foggy like that here,” one stadium security woman said hours before the game. “You must have brought this from New England.”
But lo and behold, by the time the Patriots arrived at the University of Phoenix Stadium for Super Bowl XLIX, the sun was out, the blue sky finally, after three days, had reappeared.
It was a sign. The fog that had blurred the Patriots vision of the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the last 10 years has lifted. Coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady & Co. are now standing in the beaming sunshine of their fourth Super Bowl triumph.
Sunday’s 28-24 amazing win ended the 10-year drought. Clearly, the two players still with the team from their last Super Bowl championship in Jacksonville, Fla., Brady and Vince Wilfork, had to feel a huge burden had been lifted off their shoulders.
They just didn’t think a free agent defensive back named Malcom Butler would lift it for them. Seattle’s stunning call to throw an inside pass to Ricardo Lockette resulted in an interception by Butler, and one of the most amazing Super Bowls ended in red, white and blue confetti all over the University of Phoenix Stadium.
“What a play, for a rookie to make a play like that in the Super Bowl,” Brady said. “What can you say about our defense, for them to make a play like that at the end of the game.”
The Seahawks have to be kicking themselves. They had Marshawn Lynch, who had 102 yards in the game, and needed only 1 yard, and they opted for the pass. The late Nashua High School football coach Ken Parady used to say that when you throw the ball, three things can happen and two of them are bad. This was bad for Seattle, great for the Patriots.
“It was a fantastic football game,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said, “We just didn’t really want to run against their goal line people right there.”
Yikes. Bad move, coach, and New England thanks you.
“I love this team, I’m proud of our guys,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said.
Of course he’s proud of Brady, the MVP with 37 completions in 50 attempts, leading his team from a 24-14 deficit in the fourth quarter.
And just when it looked like the ghost of David Tyree was going to reappear and haunt the Patriots in the form of a miraculous catch by Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse at the Patriot 5-yard line with 1:06 to play, Kraft could be proud of Butler, an undrafted rookie free agent.
“I worked so hard in practice and I just want to play so bad and help my team out,” Butler said. “I got out there and did exactly what I needed to do to help my team win.”
It was an amazing turn of events as Butler had tipped the ball that Kearse somehow juggled and caught. Patriot fans had to feel they had been snakebit again.
“It wasn’t the way we drew it up,” Brady said. “A lot of mental toughness.”
To be sure, the Patriots had to overcome a lot to this one. Once again, they went scoreless in the first quarter, making them an perfect six for six in first period goose eggs, or imperfect, depending on your point of view.
They should have had more than 14 points in the first half, especially since Brady’s 20 first half completions were a record. Jeremy Lane picked Brady’s wild throw to seemingly no one in the first quarter in the end zone kept points off the board.
They should have led 14-7 or at the very least 14-10 at halftime, but Seattle’s Russell Wilson willed his team down the field and his coach, Carroll, played riverboat gambler. They tried for a TD with six seconds left in the half and Wilson came through with a scoring pass.
But Butler came through for the Patriots at the end.
“It’s been a long journey,” Brady said. “It’s just a great win. We left it all on the field.”
And leave Arizona Super Bowl champions.
Tom King can be reached at 594-6468,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Telegraph_TomK.