If any question remained on who owned the label of “greatest of all time,” the seemingly ageless NFL quarterback Tom Brady well and truly erased that doubt after a surgical 5-play, 69-yard scoring drive to give New England a 10-3 lead over Los Angeles with seven minutes to play in Super Bowl LIII.
Despite a defensive stalemate resulting in a 3-3 tie heading into the fourth quarter, the Patriots 41-year-old signal caller overcame a sluggish start, which included an interception on his first pass attempt of the game.
However, with the game on the line Brady went 4 of 4 for 67 yards, which set up a two-yard touchdown run by tailback Sony Michel for the go-ahead score. Pats’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski sealed the victory with a 41-yard field goal with 1:16 remaining after defensive back Stephon Gilmore intercepted Rams quarterback Jared Goff to end a potentially game-tying drive on the New England 4 yard line.
“It’s unbelievable to win this game,” said Brady after the game. “the Rams defence played their butts off, what a great defense. They had a great plan. They made it tough on every plate. We just kept fighting. We finally got a touchdown and [Our] defence played the best game of the year.”
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Brady finished going 21 of 35 for 262 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, which he threw on his very first pass attempt of the game. Wide receiver Julian Edelman was named “most valuable player” after recording 141 yards on 10 receptions, while tight end Rob Gronkowski finished the night with 87 yards off six catches — including two key grabs for 47 yards including a 29-yarder to the 2 on the touchdown drive late in the game.
Edelman passed Michael Irvin (1,315) for the second-most receiving yards in NFL postseason history with 1,412. Only Jerry Rice has more receiving yards (2,245) than Edelman in the playoffs.
The win marks Brady’s record-setting sixth Super Bowl ring after being previously tied at five with Hall-of-Fame pass rusher Charles Haley. All of Brady's championship wins have come during the all-time Super Bowl passing leader’s (2,838 yards) ongoing 19-year career with the Patriots — all under head coach Bill Belichick — while Haley’s five were split two-three with the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys respectively.
“We’ve been this far and lost, which is really tough,” explained Brady, who is 6-3 overall, with the most recent Super Bowl loss coming from the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
I think we had a lot of resolve the last couple of weeks. I wish we would have played a little better on offence, but we won, I can’t believe it — Super Bowl champs.
Although Brady did not throw for a touchdown against the Rams on Sunday, thus ending an eight-game Super Bowl streak with at least one touchdown pass, the four-time game MVP still holds the overall record with 18 touchdowns.
To put into context, Brady’s total is just two shy of runner-ups Joe Montana (11) and Terry Bradshaw (9) — both 4-0 in Super Bowls — combined.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds his daughter with the Lombardi Trophy at his side on the podium after the New England victory. The New England Patriots met the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
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Brady has also made more Super Bowl appearances than every single team in the NFL outside of his own Patriots (11). Pittsburgh, Dallas and Denver are all tied at 8 apiece.
Not only does Brady own Super Record records for appearances, wins, yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns, but there are also half a dozen others including that of oldest starting quarterback. A bit of perspective, Brady was just 24 — fourth youngest — when he led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory 17 years ago on the same date against the same opponent.
I can’t wait to spend some time with my family, I couldn’t do it without their support, said Brady. It’s been a great year. I am so happy for my teammates. It is a dream come true for all of us.
With Brady claiming there is “zero chance” he'll retire after the Super Bowl and after having stated prior to the season he would like to play until age 45, only question remains for the soon-to-be 20-year veteran entering the final year of his contract in 2019: just how many more rings can he add to his collection?