Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have rallied to defeat Seattle 28-24 in Super Bowl 49, denying the Seahawks a second consecutive NFL championship in dramatic fashion.
With their fourth Super Bowl triumph, and first in a decade, the Patriots reconfirmed their status as the league’s dominant team of the past 15 years while Brady cemented his legacy as one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.
“It has been a long journey,” said Brady, whose team recovered from a lacklustre start to the season and dealt all week with suggestions they purposely under-inflated footballs used in a playoff win over Indianapolis.
“It’s just a great win,” Brady said. “We left it all on the field.”
The Patriots rallied from a 24-14 third-quarter deficit, with Brady’s three-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman putting them ahead with 2:02 remaining.
Rookie Malcolm Butler’s goal-line interception of a pass by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson with 20 seconds remaining preserved the victory in a title showdown that lived up to its billing as a clash of titans.
Brady threw two of his four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to rally the Pats against the most feared defensive unit in the league.
Brady joined boyhood idol Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with four Super Bowl wins, having also led New England to the title in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
He set the record for most career Super Bowl touchdown passes, taking his tally to 13 to surpass the 11 of Montana, and matched Montana with his third Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award.
The Seahawks looked like they might pull off another miracle in the waning moments.
Wilson hit Marshawn Lynch with a 31-yard pass to put the Seahawks in Patriots territory.
Then Jermaine Kearse came up with a stunning catch as he fell to the turf, corralling a ball that had appeared to have been certainly deflected out of his reach.
That put Seattle on the 5-yard line. Lynch was stopped just short of the goal line on the enusing play, but the Seahawks didn’t go to him on the next play.
Instead, Wilson attempted a short pass to Ricardo Lockette that Butler seized to end Seattle’s hopes.
“I just guessed and went and made a play,” said Butler. “It’s crazy man.”
Added Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: “It’s a miraculous play that kid made to get in front of that route.
“I hate that we have to live with that because we did everything right to win the football game,” Carroll added.