My wife Christy and I got to spend Super Bowl Sunday with our awesome neighbors Scott McGhee and Julie Truelove. It’s a very loving home with a strong emphasis on sports. Julie’s daughters Amanda and Kayla are Badger JV volleyball players.
But on Sunday it was a house divided - briefly. Scott is a die-hard Falcons fan and Julie a Pats fanatic. I am a Raider fan, but all Christy and I cared about that day was having fun, enjoying great company and food, and hopefully seeing former Badger and Fresno State great Cole Popovich, now an assistant Patriots line coach, get his Super Bowl ring.
It didn’t look like it was going to happen. With a 28-3 lead Atlanta, maybe the hottest team in the NFL, would not fold - right? But here is a teaching moment for coaches and players in all sports: Never quit. Never give up. It is not over until it is over.
Tom Brady got his fifth ring and undeniably to me, he is the greatest quarterback in NFL history. We saw the biggest Super Bowl comeback in history and the first overtime game. After 51 years of Super Bowls, it’s amazing to still see records being broken.
At one point all New England had to do was kick a field goal, score two touchdowns and convert two 2-point conversions. All this had to get done in the fourth quarter. From there, New England had to win the coin flip in overtime.
They did and scored the winning touchdown. Believe me, Scott was not celebrating a Falcons win even when it was 28-3 Atlanta. He had this gut feeling as we did, that the Pats could pull this off.
Tom Brady moves to the top of the QB list with five wins and seven appearances. Joe Montana won all four of his appearances and did not throw an interception. The two losses by the Pats were not Brady’s fault. In both of the losses Brady engineered drives that put the Pats in the lead. It was the Pats defense that didn’t do its job in losses to the New York Giants in 2008 (17-14) and 2012 (21-17).
Tom Brady could be 7-0 and we wouldn’t even be debating Brady vs. Montana.
Again, congratulations to Popovich (YHS 2003). Cole was our greatest lineman and one of the first inductees into the Badger Football Wall of Fame. There should be a huge sense of pride in our community that Cole is part of the greatest modern day football franchises. Love them or hate them, the New England Patriots are special.
Head coach Bill Belichick is now in the pantheon of Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Bill Parcells.
If Belichick is the greatest, as many pundits say, then it says a lot of his respect for former Fresno State head coach Pat Hill. He drafted/signed three of Hill’s players in his tenure and now, with Hill’s recommendation, hired Cole. So how cool is it that two of our great Mountain football stars, Logan Mankins of Mariposa and Cole, both own Super Bowl rings.
At the end, Julie, Christy, and I didn’t really celebrate like we would normally. It was such a bummer for Scott and all Falcon fans. Scott paid $1,500 to attend the 1999 Super Bowl with Atlanta losing to Denver 34-19 in Miami. He has Falcons clippings in his man cave. I have a feeling Atlanta will be back, but for Scott and the Falcon faithful, it may be a long wait.