By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Sometimes, reality is stranger than fiction. You can look to the sky on Thursday night for the latest piece of evidence.
On the same night that the Patriots play the Falcons on Thursday Night Football, a partial lunar eclipse will take place. How are those two occurrences connected in any way? Great question.
According to NASA, the event will be the longest partial lunar eclipse of the millennium. It’s the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440. (Surely, you recall that one, right? It was spectacular.) It will remain the longest partial lunar eclipse until the year 2669. (Roger Goodell will somehow still be the NFL commissioner.)
The length of Thursday night’s partial lunar eclipse? Three hours and 28 minutes.
To most football fans, those two numbers bring one thing and one thing only to mind: The Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI to the Patriots.
Most blown leads aren’t memorialized or celebrated necessarily, but the 28-3 scoreboard image has become a central part of NFL culture since the evening of Feb. 5, 2017.
The “28-3” score has become a regular part of NFL parlance, and it’s spawned T-shirts, flags, banners, Twitter profile picture, and jokes. So many jokes.
It's 3/28 😬 pic.twitter.com/CSMxZyLRW3
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) March 28, 2017
It’s even become an annual celebration, with Patriots fans celebrating the 28th of March (3-28) every year and reliving the glory of the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history — and one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, period.
Even Tom Brady can’t help himself. Before his game against the Falcons this year, he sent out a video on social media. The time on the clock behind him read “3:28.” Earlier this year, he celebrated 3-28 Day on social media:
It’s not a national holiday. But it’s definitely a Patriots holiday.
And on Thursday night, in the rare occasion of a Patriots-Falcons meeting, a partial lunar eclipse will take place, and it will last three hours and 28 minutes. (Technically, on the East Coast, the eclipse begins on Friday morning, at 1:02 a.m. But it’s the same night, for all intents and purposes.)
The entire football world has made fun of the Falcons for years. Now even the solar system — the freaking solar system — is making fun of them.