If Lady Gaga stole the show, then Super Bowl champions New England stole it back.
The pop star thrilled the Houston crowd and the hundreds of millions watching on television with a scintillating half-time performance.
Gaga came on stage with the result seemingly decided, given Atlanta’s 21-3 lead at the main break of Super Bowl 51.
Atlanta nudged further in front early after the resumption, to lead 28-3, only for the Patriots to stage the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Inspired by star quarterback Tom Brady, New England scored 25 unanswered points to take the game into over-time — amazingly the first time it had occurred in American football’s biggest occasion.
James White’s two-yard touchdown run in overtime then capped a truly stunning 34-28 victory that will live long in the memory.
“We all brought each other back,” Brady, who has now won five Super Bowl crowns, told Fox Sports.
“We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle.
“You know, they have a great team. I give them a lot of credit. We made a few more plays than them.”
Gaga’s half-time show
Lady Gaga began her performance on the roof of the NRG Stadium, with hundreds of drones lighting up the night sky behind her.
She opened with God Bless America before, once on two feet, she called for “one nation under God”.
The silver-clad singer then launched into a medley of her biggest hits, including Poker Face, Bad Romance and Telephone.
Watch the half-time show:
— Lady Gaga (@LadyGagaLGN) February 6, 2017
The match itself
All the pre-match hype amounted to little in a scoreless first quarter, but the Falcons got going early in the second when a LeGarrette Blount fumble turned into a Devonta Freeman touchdown five plays later.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who on Saturday was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, then found Austin Hooper with a 19-yard pass as the Falcons kicked further clear.
It looked like it wasn’t New England’s night when star Brady had a pass returned 82 yards for a touchdown by Robert Alford.
The Falcons, who have never won the Super Bowl, led 21-0, with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal on the stroke of half-time all the Patriots had to show for their effort.
Atlanta moved further in front early in the second half, through Tevin Coleman, but White kept New England alive with a score of his own.
The Falcons were fading and when Brady threw a six-yard pass to Danny Amendola, the Patriots — who already held the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history — New England started to believe.
The thrilling final stages saw White, with just 57 seconds remaining, score on a one-yard run, forcing overtime.
And overtime was dominated by the Patriots, as Brady threw six passes before White, yet again, came up with the goods, to spark wild celebrations.
– with AAP