The Patriots' improbable Super Bowl LI victory was arguably one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, and quarterback Tom Brady played an integral part in how the game unfolded. When it was over, he had completed nearly 70 percent of his throws for 466 yards and two touchdowns, and broke, tied or extended nine Super Bowl records.
But if you ask Brady, the performance wasn't one of the best in his career.
"I don't really think that is necessarily the case," he told TheMMQB.com's Peter King. "I think it was one of the greatest games I have ever played in, but when I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don't really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half plus overtime as one of the 'best games ever.'
"But it was certainly one of the most thrilling for me, just because so much was on the line, and it ended up being an incredible game. There are so many things that played into that game-a high-scoring offense, a top-ranked defense, the long Super Bowl, four-and-a-half-hour game, the way that the game unfolded in the first half versus what happened in the second half ... so it was just a great game."
Once again, Brady's right; that pick-six also set a Super Bowl record, but for all the wrong reasons. And over the first two-plus quarters, the Falcons' defense did a masterful job of disrupting up the Patriots' short-passing attack while pressuring Brady.
So while Brady's performance was among his best in a Super Bowl, it pales in comparison to some of his regular-season efforts.
Every Super Bowl game grade for #Patriots QB Tom Brady. pic.twitter.com/5Z07ZfabG3— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 11, 2017
Take, for example, what Brady perpetrated against the Dolphins back in October 2007. In that game he completed 21 of 25 passes for 354 yards, six touchdowns and no turnovers. His passer rating: A perfect 158.3. Three years later, against the Lions, Brady also had a perfect passer rating when he was 21 of 27 for 341 yards with four touchdowns and no turnovers. In fact, over Brady's 17-year career, he has a passer rating of at least 100.0 more than 130 times.
Put another way: God help the Super Bowl opponent who has to face Brady when he's on from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.