On “Inside the NFL” on Showtime, analyst Phil Simms said that Super Bowl LI was one of the finest moments of Bill Belichick’s coaching career.
“Bill Belichick coached one of the best games of his career,” said Simms of the New England coach’s performance on Sunday.
“Let’s be honest — they needed a lot of breaks to win the game, and they got them,” Simms added. “But they created them, so you have to give them credit there. … Bill Belichick said, ‘Oh, we made no adjustments in halftime,” and I’m not going to call him a liar, but I’m just saying they played differently in the second half, especially on the defensive side.”
Brandon Marshall had a simple explanation for what happened down the stretch.
“Everyone thought the game was over,” he said. “The only reason you give a disclaimer was because they have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but mainly Tom Brady. He’s on the field. I didn’t believe until Matt Ryan got sacked and then, they got the holding call. That’s when I said, ‘Okay, it’s Tom Brady time.’”
“I thought after Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady was the greatest quarterback of all time,” said Boomer Esiason. “Everything he has done since then — especially under the cloud of the suspension of Deflategate — just continues to add to his legacy. And this legacy will never be topped by anybody because it’s 32 teams. It’s free agency. And it’s salary cap.”
“Tom Brady threw the ball incredible in the fourth quarter, incredible,” Simms said. “He threw tight, deep throws down the sidelines, right on the target. The guys were covered. This is a Tom Brady throwing the ball that we didn’t see four or five years ago.”
Analysts also let the Falcons have it.
“They lost the game because of play calling and execution of a few plays,” said Michael Irvin. “They gave New England the opportunity to come back.”
“I expected Atlanta’s defense to be a little bit more creative,” Simms added. “When you are just getting run over like they were with the hurry-up you have to take a chance. For no other reason than just to let them make the big play. Get your offense back up there. … In overtime, I was screaming from the stands, ‘Call a time out. Let your defense rest. Let it gather itself.’ Because you could see New England was marching in. I never see it, coaches never call timeout for their defense, but that would’ve been a great example to do it.”