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Julian Edelman Is a Magician — and the Patriots Are Champs Again

One of the greatest catches of all time fueled the biggest Super Bowl comeback we’ve ever seen

(AP Photos)
(AP Photos)

No team has ever come back from a deficit of more than 10 points to win a Super Bowl, and the Patriots found themselves trailing the Atlanta Falcons 21–0 and 28–3. They needed magic to make a comeback.

This qualifies as magic, right?

A few plays later, New England completed its comeback with a touchdown run by James White and a two-point conversion to Danny Amendola. Then, in the first drive of overtime, the Pats sealed the victory with a touchdown run from White: 34–28. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick now have enough rings for a full hand.

But we wouldn’t be here without the Edelman catch. With the Patriots trailing 28–20, this deep bomb was defended well by Falcons cornerback Robert Alford, who deflected the ball. It could have gone anywhere — in front of Alford, and to the ground, to the right of Alford, and to the ground, to the left of Alford, and to the ground. Instead, it bounded up and backward off the legs of multiple Falcons players, toward Edelman.

Alford’s momentum carried him to roughly in between Edelman and the ball, with his leg kicking up in the air. But Edelman tracked the ball and reached over Alford’s leg for it.

He was still heavily guarded, though. The long pass allowed both Falcons safeties to converge on Edelman. Keanu Neal dragged him down, Ricardo Allen tried to separate his arms. It almost worked, as Edelman briefly lost control of the ball, causing it to drop to just inches above the ground.

But Edelman clamped back onto the ball and got his hands beneath it. We finally got an overtime Super Bowl, thanks to one of the most memorable catches — two of the most memorable catches? — in Super Bowl history. We won’t talk about any of the other ones, but it’s not like Patriots fans would care.