The Patriots received their Super Bowl rings on Friday night, marking the fifth time the club finished the season as the NFL's best team. But unlike the previous four championship runs, this one necessitated the greatest comeback in league history.
With two minutes to go in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, the Patriots trailed the Falcons, 28-3. Five straight scoring drives and one overtime later, New England was hoisting Lombardi Trophy No. 5. To mark the occasion, the Super Bowl rings were engraved with "greatest comeback ever" because, well, that's exactly what it was.
There were also other, more subtle reminders of what the Patriots had accomplished. Like the 283 diamonds, which represented the 28-3 deficit the Pats had to overcome.
Introducing ring no. 5! pic.twitter.com/wGKLczbEDs— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 10, 2017
"How do we feel...about being world champions?" pic.twitter.com/RWK5zi9CJJ— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 10, 2017
Meanwhile, the Falcons aren't wallowing in self-pity; they're looking ahead to 2017 because there's nothing they can do about the past.
"It wasn't about one play," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said last month about the Patriots' Super Bowl comeback. "Those (defensive series) are the ones I evaluated over and over. When you go back and sit through it over and over, you know, 'I damn sure can't get a do-over. But I can learn from it.' I won't apologize for how aggressive we play and our style and attitude of where we're headed. But I have learned from that experience."
Put another way: Quinn isn't taking anything for granted; it's why during minicamp he wore two black wristbands that read "Embrace The Suck," which has become an offseason rallying cry of sorts. The message?
"Eat a crap sandwich with a smile," Quinn explained. "This is going to be hard. Your choice: It's a victim's mentality or a warrior mentality. It's like, 'I know this run is going to be long, and it's going to be really hard. But here I go again.'"