Champions don’t quit. The New England Patriots didn’t.
The Patriots erased a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to rally past the Seattle Seahawks for a 28-24 win in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Quarterback Tom Brady connected with wide receiver Julian Edleman for the game-winning touchdown with just 2:02 remaining in the game.
“We never doubted each other,’’ Brady said after being named Super Bowl MVP. “So that’s what it took. It was a great football team we beat. I’m just so happy for our team.’’
The victory was sealed when a potential game-winning pass attempt by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted at the goal line by Malcolm Butler.
Following the Patriots’ go-ahead score, the Seahawks drove 79 yards to the Patriots’ 1-yard line before Butler indelibly etched his name in Super Bowl lore. With the NFL crown on the line and the Seahawks in the shadow of the end zone, the unheralded rookie out of West Alabama jumped in front of Seattle wide receiver Ricardo Lockette to intercept the ball.
While few expected the key play in the clash of NFL titans to be made by Butler, he apparently knew it was coming.
“I had a vision I was going to make a big play,’’ Butler told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya on the field after the win.
It is the fourth championship in Patriots’ history and their first since Super Bowl XXXIX following the 2004 season. For Brady, the game bolstered his case as the greatest performer in Super Bowl history. Shaking off a pair of interceptions, the 37-year-old quarterback threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter en route to winning his third career Super Bowl MVP Award, tying his boyhood idol, Joe Montana. Brady also joined Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with four career Super Bowl victories. With his fourth career Super Bowl triumph, Patriots coach Bill Belichick tied Chuck Noll atop the all-time list.