A lot has happened since I became best friends with Julian Edelman last year. If you don’t believe we’re best friends, you can have another read about how we met. He was just on the Late Show and I just shoveled my driveway so we’re living similar lives. My other friend, Tom Brady, is also doing well. It’s all because of last Sunday, of course. They won their 5th Super Bowl, and I’m finally ready to process it all.
The game meant a lot to me. I have family living in Atlanta and we like to pretend the Civil War is still going on. A lot more than slavery was on the line that day and it came in the form of bragging rights. I wasn’t nervous that they’d lose to be honest. I figured it would be close, didn’t know how the game would play out, but really believed they’d win. It was a quiet confidence like when I play against the kids in gym at work. They’re mostly 14 year olds and I know I have a lot more gym experience than they do.
I hosted a party for the game and I had eight red bulls in the fridge that were ready to fuel a heart attack. I drank about 5 Monster energy drinks in Arizona when they beat Seattle so nearly dying is my tradition. The game started slowly but things got bad. Then they got much worse at the end of the half. I did some math in my head–Beautiful Mind type shit–and figured they just needed to score quickly to start the 2nd half and we’d be back in it.
Then Tom threw a pick-6 and I sank my sorrows in red bull #4.
With 8:30 left in the 3rd quarter, Coleman scored to make it 28-3.
25 points down.
I don’t know this for sure, but I think Edelman reminded Tom of the text he sent the year prior–the one he read to me–and Tom said, “thank you.” Because after that, the Gods emerged to grant the Patriots every possible break they’d need.
After a failed flea-flicker to Dion Lewis that reeked of desperation, Brady coverts on a 4th and 3 to Amendola for 17. Minutes later, Brady scampers with the grace of a wounded duck for 15 yards. My friend cheered extra loud because he won his prop-bet. Brady needed TWO rush yards. That’s how slow he is. You know you’re slow when Vegas doesn’t think you can trip your way to two yards in 60 minutes.
At 2:06 in the 3rd, White scores a touchdown but that Chuck Knoblauch head-case, Stephen Gostowski misses the XP, and all that momentum seems a little less persuasive. It’s 28-9 and the only one who really thinks they’re coming back at this point is Tom Brady Sr. and I’m pretty sure he’d kill Goodell in real life so I’m not sure he’s credible.
Atlanta takes over and calls a timeout after a holding call (one of 86 mistakes) and then Ryan gets sacked.
Brady gets the ball back.
It’s 28-9 at the start of the 4th and I’m doing some more mental math and can’t figure out how they have enough time. After a perfect pass to Bennett, the Pats are 1st and goal but two sacks kill the momentum again, so they settle for a field goal. Stevie G lives another day and it’s 28-12. with 9:44 left to go.
Atlanta has the ball and it’s 3rd and 1. Ryan gets sacked and fumbles at his own 25. I’m breathing red bull fire at this point and can’t stop pacing. It’s part nerves and part sugar overload.
With 7 minutes left in the game, Brady completes a pass on 3rd and 11 to Mitchell who has emerged as one of the most important players in the comeback. At the 5:56 mark, Brady connects with Amendola and that’s really good for him because his girlfriend is amazing and probably would have moved on from him if he had no impact on the game. The White 2 point conversion is good and it’s a one-score game, 28-20.
Atlanta gets the ball back and I know if they get a few first downs, the clock will continue to run. For some reason, Shannahan continues to go pass-heavy and while it seems stupid, pays off. A blown coverage leads to a huge gain and now they just need to run the clock down.
At 4:40, Julio Jones makes a ridiculous catch and the comeback seems to be slipping away for good. But this is Atlanta, a city that still gets nostalgic for Mike Vick. It’s 2nd and 11 and Ryan gets sacked again. This is a sack that will haunt Matt Ryan for years. Dan Quinn tries to deny what is happening saying, “We’re still in FG range.” This is short-lived when Atlanta gets called for offensive holding. It’s 3rd and 33 and you just gave the ball back to a vengeful Tom Brady with 3:38 to go in a one-score game.
From the 9 yard line, Brady and the Pats need to go 91 yards, score a touchdown and 2-pt conversion to tie it up.
It’s 3rd and 10 and Brady hits Hogan for 16. He has fire in his eyes and I wonder if he’s drinking red bull like me. I’ve had six at this point and I’m wearing a Lawrence Maroney autographed shirt because my Jamie Collins shirt was a disaster in the 1st half. The clothing change will prove to be instrumental.
With 2:12 left in regulation, my friend–Julian Edelman–makes a catch that I’ve seen before. It’s the David Tyree catch and it’s a soul-crusher. I remember that Giants loss even though I was drinking in 2007. I remember going to the liquor store after that devastating game and realizing it had been closed for hours. I’d end up in rehab 3 years later.
Shortly after the catch, something terrible happens. At some point during the party, the doorknob to my downstairs bathroom fell off. It had locked someone in the bathroom earlier but they got out. “NOBODY USE THE BATHROOM DOWN HERE” I yelled after that but clearly someone missed that memo. As the Patriots inched closer to the greatest comeback in history, I heard loud banging from the other room.
“HEY! LET ME OUT! THIS IS FUCKED UP!”
My buddy was locked in the goddamn bathroom on the final drive. Everybody was ignoring it as if I was supposed to be the lead-locksmith because it was my fucking place. I look over to my buddy Jim–and I’ll never forget his look–who says, “Scott. Get. In. Here.” It was literally the worst predicament I’ve been in for a long time. I just froze, playing my future in my head.
“Yeah, I didn’t see it because I was helping someone out of a bathroom. Yeah, I know. I know. Yeah, we’re not friends anymore.”
In that moment though, I think I confirmed I’m a decent person. I looked for a bunch of objects that I thought could get him out. None of the decisions made any sense and there was no way I was actually going to be helpful but I tried. I really did try! Someone finally came in to give the knob a jiggle and thank god, because I would have taken an axe to the door to get back to the TV.
With 57 seconds left in the game, James White scores and we’re two points down. I’m a sports cynic so all I’m thinking about is the failed conversion in Denver to Gronk so I’m preparing for a let-down. Atlanta jumps offsides but it’s moot because Amendola converts and it’s tied up, 28-28.
When the coin toss went in the Patriots favor, it was all over. You don’t give the Greatest of All Time a second chance and that’s what happened. He was a goddamn assassin. I remember when Tom told me, “nice hat” and we became friends.
The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28 and I successfully drank six red bulls. That’s the new gold standard for Super Bowl consumption if you want to be a champion. Just like the 104 hot tub temperature, you need to train for that type of thing so please be careful.
This was the first Super Bowl city I haven’t traveled to in a few years but expect me in Minnesota next year. I’ve aiming for a hot tub soak with Belichick. We wouldn’t talk to each other because that’s proper etiquette and he’s not really a talker.
Then I’ll say, “Jets?” and he’ll laugh and we’ll be best friends too.