By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Super Bowl LI was the kind of paradigm-shifting event that is rarely seen in sports. The New England Patriots set an improbable new standard for what it means to face adversity and overcome it in the direst of circumstances with their unprecedented 25-point comeback over the Atlanta Falcons. It was a win filled with record-setting performances, unforgettable plays, and easily the most riveting fourth quarter and overtime in NFL history.
The list of records broken or tied by the Patriots and Falcons on Sunday night was long enough to rewrite the book. Sometimes, stats and numbers are needed to truly put games like Super Bowl LI into perspective. But even the game’s insane list of records can’t quite describe the indescribable.
When you factor in all the plays that made the Patriots’ historic comeback happen, their win was unlike almost any achievement ever witnessed in sports. Here are some more mind-blowing stats that should help you understand exactly what you saw on Sunday night:
1. The Patriots are now 5-2 in the postseason when Tom Brady throws for 50-plus passing attempts.
And undefeated when he throws for 60-plus. … Brady went 43-for-62 for 466 yards, all Super Bowl records, and only further cemented himself as the ultimate assassin with the football in his hands. No quarterback should be able to have as much success as Brady in situations that involve 50-plus passing attempts. Brady is one of the only players in history who can be one-dimensional and still shred you to pieces.
2. The Patriots held the lead for exactly 0:00.
Super Bowl LI will forever be one of the NFL’s greatest games for many reasons. Chief among them is that it became the first Super Bowl to go to sudden-death overtime. And in a mind-blowing twist, the Patriots did not take their first lead until James White’s touchdown to end it – which gave them the lead for no time at all throughout the game. But despite that couldn’t-possibly-be-any-later lead change …
3. Super Bowl LI is the Patriots’ largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl.
For once, the Patriots did not play a close, tight battle in a Super Bowl decided by a field goal. But that doesn’t mean fans didn’t have to squirm for a while. Through all of the Patriots’ dominance over the past 17 years, they’ve never won big in any of their five Super Bowl wins. And, surprisingly enough, the six-point win on Sunday night was the largest margin-of-victory in any Patriots Super Bowl.
4. Teams that get a pick-six in the Super Bowl are now 12-1 all-time.
Before Brady transcended everyone and everything in the fourth quarter and overtime, the Falcons had history on their side in Super Bowl LI – and not just because of the size of their lead. Brady threw one of the worst interceptions of his career to the Falcons’ Robert Alford, who ran it back 82 yards for the pick-six to put the Falcons up 20-0 at the time. Entering Sunday night, teams that had a pick-six in the Super Bowl were 12-0 all-time. Amazingly, the Falcons found a way to put the first blemish on that record.
5. The Patriots scored zero points on PATs.
Thanks to Danny Amendola’s clutch two-point conversion, the Patriots avoided having their season end in essentially the same manner as 2015. Stephen Gostkowski’s missed extra point in the third quarter loomed large on the Patriots’ final drive, but it ultimately exemplified the amount of crazy things the Patriots needed to do in order to complete their comeback. They needed 25 unanswered points to complete the biggest comeback in history, and they got it. No PATs necessary.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.