With just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter of Super Bowl 51, the New England Patriots trailed the Atlanta Falcons by a daunting score of 28-3. The young, athletic Falcons defense controlled every aspect of the game until this point, with 9th year quarterback Matt Ryan constantly converting on the other end. In his seventh Super Bowl appearance, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had one of the worst first half performances of his entire career. Millions turned off their televisions in disappointment, as what was supposed to be a great game was starting to be- come one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history.
However, just as the city of Atlanta was beginning to celebrate their first Super Bowl in franchise history, Brady and the Patriots seemed to re- member who they were. After a dominant drive to close out the third quarter and narrow the deficit to 28-9, the game still appeared out of hand. Yet again, the Patriots clawed back with two more impressive drives, and miraculously narrowed the lead to 28- 20. The Falcons punted the ball back to them with just over two minutes remaining in the game, and Brady went to work, executing the perfect two minute drill, and even getting the two point conversion. For the first time in 51 years, the Super Bowl was going into overtime.
After winning the coin toss to start overtime, the odds were heavily in favor of the Patriots. The Falcons defense had given up 25 unanswered points, and needed to stop one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, right as he was starting to find his stride. As expected, Brady and the Patriots offense sliced right through the Falcons defense, scoring on the very first drive, and ending one of the most action packed Super Bowl games of all time in one of the most anti climactic ways.
The format of overtime in the NFL has been a controversy for years. Ever since the 2008 tie game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles where Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb stated that he, “Didn’t know you could tie,” fans and players alike have been advocating for the “Kansas Plan” style overtime, mirroring the format of high school and college football. There should never be a scenario where a team’s offense doesn’t even get to go on the field. The fate of the Super Bowl should not rest on the flip of a coin.