BOSTON (CBS) — Football teams don’t come back from 25-point deficits — not in the regular season, not in the postseason, and certainly not in the Super Bowl. In football’s ultimate game, both teams are just too good, too battle-tested to be vulnerable to blowing such a massive lead.
Yet, as we now know after the Patriots scored 31 straight points to stun the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, history can change rather quickly.
Fresh off winning his first career Super Bowl, defensive end Chris Long joined the podcast “Pardon My Take” for Friday’s episode. The veteran player was asked what type of halftime speech was made to inspire that impossible comeback.
“You know what? Honestly, not to be too serious for a second, but I really do think I just played on the toughest team of all time,” Long said. “Like, the guys in that locker room literally didn’t flinch. I knew I was like — I’m a human being, I’ll admit it — I was like, ‘Golly, I’ve got some doubts right now. We’ve got to play way better in the second half.’ .. But guys were like walking in, like Duron Harmon, who’s a safety for us, walked in and goes, ‘We’re about to make the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.’ And I was just like, ‘Dude, can we get a stop? Can we just do one good thing, maybe put one foot in front of the other?’
“But if it wasn’t for guys like Duron that had no doubt, you know, I’m not used to this winning thing,” added Long, who played for Rams teams that went 39-88-1 in his eight seasons. “Maybe the guys that have been around there a while, they were just like, ‘Well, [stuff] will just work out.’ I didn’t have that instinct, for whatever reason. But there wasn’t a big speech; we just went back out and did it.”
And Long’s strongest emotion after the victory was complete?
“Man, we were all just relieved,” Long shared. “I don’t want to speak for everybody, but I was relieved.”
As for how they pulled off the comeback, Long heaped credit on Bill Belichick.
“I think honestly, when you work that hard at the details all year long and you’re just ready for whatever … Bill does a great job of throwing curveballs at us. He did all year. Everything he does is by design. I do think he’s the greatest coach of all time,” Long said. “Any curveball you get on Super Bowl Sunday, you might think the hill is too steep, but guys were just conditioned to be able to go out there, hit the curveball, keep rolling. We got a break or two, that’s all it took, and then you can feel once you get that break or two, the momentum it turns into like, ‘Oh [crap]’ on the other sideline. And on our sideline, we’re trying to go win a football game. You know what I mean? It turned fast. But I do think it’s because we’re mentally very tough.”
Long also shared what was going through his mind when the Patriots were nearing the completion of that comeback victory.
“When we had that pass interference call [on Martellus Bennett] in the end zone, it became apparent we were going to have a real shot,” Long said. “When we’re down on the 2-yard line, I think everybody just started creeping towards the sideline. And we’re looking at each other, and everybody’s like, ‘Yeah!’ with that ‘you know what to do’ look. And I’m like, ‘No, I don’t know what to do. I’ve never run onto the field in excitement before in my life.’ So when the ball was snapped, I just sprinted out to midfield and got suplexed by Danny Amendola. And my D-line coach just launched himself at my shoulder. … You could easily get hurt in this celebration. People are rolling around on the field. Man, it was like shock. It was relief, it was shock, it was just as close as you think you get to your teammates during the year, on a serious note, you had no idea that bond that you share as soon as you’re a world champion.”
The interviews on Pardon My Take tend to be on the silly side, but the answers from the 31-year-old Long managed to provide some insight into exactly how the Patriots pulled off the impossible.
Long also explained why he revealed on Twitter that he’ll be skipping the team’s visit to the White House.
“Some super preachy mega-liberal guy was like, ‘Hey, here’s an open letter to you, explaining your own thinking,'” Long said. “The guy sent me an outline of my own quotes and what it means. He was like, ‘Well you need to follow your teammates now.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I wanted to wait to [announce it on Pardon My Take], but this guy’s pulling the lib card on me hard. Like, you want to have a lib-off, bro?”