Move over, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. Make room, Chuck Noll.
You’ve got company in the pantheon of NFL history.
New England quarterback Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in a span of 5 minutes, 53 seconds on Sunday night, lifting the Patriots to a 28-24 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Brady became the third quarterback in NFL history to win four Super Bowl titles, joining his boyhood hero Montana of the San Francisco 49ers and Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brady received his third Super Bowl MVP award, tying Montana for the most in history.
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New England’s Bill Belichick joined the Steelers’ Noll as the only coach with four Vince Lombardi Trophies.
The defending champion Seahawks didn’t go down easily. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson had his team on the brink of a repeat after a juggling, 33-yard catch by Jermaine Kearse moved the ball to the New England 5 with 1:06 to play.
The Seahawks had second and goal from the 1, and Marshawn Lynch — who rushed for 13 touchdowns during the regular season — in the backfield. But they chose to throw the ball to Ricardo Lockette in the end zone, and Wilson’s pass was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, preserving the victory.
Butler had been the victim of the pass to Kearse, so coming up with the interception was sweet vindication.
“I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play and it came true,” said Butler, an undrafted rookie from West Alabama. “I’m just blessed. I can’t explain it right now. It’s crazy.”
The Patriots trailed the Seahawks 24-14 when Brady, accused of using deflated footballs in New England’s win in the AFC Championship Game two weeks ago, hit Danny Amendola with a 4-yard touchdown pass, and Julian Edelman with a 3-yard score for the game-winner with 2:02 remaining in regulation.
It was the 47th fourth-quarter or overtime comeback win in Brady’s future Hall of Fame career.
Brady overcame two interceptions and finished with 37 completions in 50 attempts for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
“It wasn’t the way we drew it up,” Brady said. “Certainly, throwing a couple of picks didn’t help. It was a lot of mental toughness. Our team has had it all year. We never doubted each other, so that’s what it took. That was a great football team we beat. I’m just so happy for our team.”
The Patriots overcame 14-point deficits twice in their AFC playoff game against Baltimore, so being down 10 in the fourth quarter was nothing for Brady.
New England had taken a 14-7 lead on Brady’s 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski with 31 seconds left in the second quarter, but Seattle quickly moved the ball downfield and Wilson arched an 11-yard touchdown pass to Chris Matthews, who leaped above cornerback Logan Ryan for the catch with 2 seconds left in the half.
Matthews, a cousin of the late Hall of Famer Reggie White and two-year veteran of the Canadian Football League, spent most of the season on the Seattle practice squad and appeared in just three regular-season games in December and both playoff games without a catch.
The Seahawks managed just 22 yards in their first 12 plays of the game before erupting for touchdown drives of 70 and 80 yards, a field-goal drive of 72 yards and a touchdown drive of 50 yards following their second interception of a Brady pass.
Brady’s third-quarter pass intended for Gronkowski was intercepted by linebacker Bobby Wagner, who returned it to the 50.
Wilson converted the turnover into a 3-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, who effectively utilized the back judge as a way to screen cornerback Darrelle Revis in the end zone, giving the Seahawks a 24-14 lead with 4:54 left in the third quarter.
Brady brought the Patriots back in the fourth quarter, hitting Amendola with touchdown pass with 7:55 to play in regulation, drawing the Patriots within 24-21. It was Brady’s 12th career Super Bowl touchdown pass, breaking the record of 11 held by Montana.
Seattle led 17-14 early in the third quarter, and the Seahawks had Matthews to thank.
Matthews, best known for recovering the onside kick that led to Seattle’s winning the NFC Championship Game, chose a perfect setting to make the first three catches of his NFL career — a 44-yard grab that set up one touchdown, a touchdown reception with 2 seconds left in the first half and a 45-yard catch that set up Steven Hauschka’s go-ahead 27-yard field goal with 11:09 left in the third quarter.
On the third play of the second half, Wilson arched a deep pass to Matthews, who for the third time in the game, outjumped a defender — this time Arrington — for the 45-yard reception.
Wilson’s first two pass attempts in the game were incomplete and he was sacked twice before completing his first pass late in the second quarter, a 6-yarder to Kearse that picked up a first down.
Two plays later, he unloaded a 44-yard bomb to Matthews, who used his height to ward off Arrington and hauled in the pass at the New England 11.
Lynch took it from there, bulling his way to runs of 5, 3 and 3 yards for the touchdown, tying the score with 2:16 left in the half.
New England, taking advantage of injuries in the Seattle secondary, had taken a 7-0 lead on Brady’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell with 9:47 left in the second quarter.
Brady had thrown an interception in the first quarter when Seattle nickel back Jeremy Lane picked off the pass at the Seahawks’ goal line. But it was a costly interception. Lane suffered an arm injury while being tackled, and on New England’s next possession, the Patriots exploited Lane’s backup, second-year man Tharold Simon.
Brady converted on third and 9 from the Seattle 35 with a pass over the middle to Edelman, who beat Simon for a 23-yard gain.
Two plays later, LaFell ran a slant and got inside position on Simon for the touchdown.
The Patriots squandered a chance to take the early lead in the first quarter when Brady, under pressure from Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett, was intercepted by Lane.
Brady had driven the Patriots 58 yards in 7 minutes, 41 seconds — completing six straight passes for 35 yards — when Lane intercepted the pass on third and 6 from the Seattle 10.
It was the first interception of Lane’s three-year career but his last play of the game.