If you were watching Super Bowl LI on Sunday and thought to yourself, "The Patriots have zero chance at a comeback here," well, you weren't that far off.
Statistically speaking, the Patriots' chances of winning fell to just 0.4 percent when the Falcons went up 28-3 in the third quarter. However, that number is from a win probability model, which doesn't take NFL history into account.
From the perspective of NFL history, the Patriots pulled off a comeback that only 0.2 percent of teams have ever pulled off: They won a game after trailing by 25 or more points.
According to research by the NFL that takes into account every game ever played, NFL teams were 2,545-4-2 in regular-season games where they led by 25 or more points. That's four losses in 2,551 chances.
For the postseason, that record is 102-2, which means that overall, teams are 2,647-6-2 when they hold a lead of 25 points or more. That's six losses in 2,655 chances, which means that teams only make the comeback 0.22 percent of the time.
The Patriots didn't just beat the Falcons; they also laughed in the face of math.
The important thing to remember about the Patriots' comeback, and why it should go down as the greatest ever, is because it came on the NFL's biggest stage.
The two other playoff comebacks that involved a team winning after trailing by 25 or more points both came in the wild-card round. In January 2014, the Colts came back from a 38-10 deficit in the third quarter to beat Kansas City 45-44.
The biggest comeback in playoff history belongs to the Bills, who came back and beat the Oilers 41-38 in overtime after trailing 35-3 in the third quarter.
Both of those teams got to play at home though. The Patriots had to pull off their comeback on a neutral field in the NFL's biggest game of the year.
Finally, here's a quick look at the four regular-season comebacks where a team won after trailing by 25 or more points.
List of NFL comebacks when trailing by 25 or more points
Saints at 49ers, 1980 (28 points): Saints led 35-7 in the third quarter; 49ers win the game 38-35 in OT.
Colts at Bills, 1997 (26 points): Colts led 26-0 in the second quarter; Bills win the game 37-35.
Oilers at Bills, 1992 season (32 points): Oilers led 35-3 in third quarter; Bills win 41-38 in OT.
Chiefs at Colts, 2013 season (28 points): Chiefs led 38-10 in third quarter; Colts win 45-44.
Falcons vs. Patriots, 2016 season (25 points): Falcons led 28-3 in third quarter; Patriots win 34-28 in OT.