Tom Brady plays the most important position in professional sports better than anyone who has ever lived and the sad part about this is we can no longer even debate about it.
Sports are fun, and absurd, and outrageous, and part of what gets us hooked is arguing about it with friends, but Brady ruined that, turning America's No. 1 TV show into the greatest moment yet in one of sports' greatest careers ever.
The games we watch attract hyperbole, like stink to a dumpster, but if you are among those strong enough to normally resist the urge then this is the kind of moment you save it for — without question the best quarterback who ever lived, leading an historic comeback to win one of the best Super Bowls ever played.
This is the unprecedented fifth time Brady has won our country's biggest sport's biggest prize, and somehow this was better than any of his previous four or, perhaps, better than any of the NFL's previous 50 — from down 21, then 25, then 16 with 7 minutes left, and 8 with 1 minute left.
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The Patriots beat the Falcons 34-28 in the first overtime of Super Bowl history, an outcome that felt impossible earlier in the evening. They somehow pulled a win from the fire with guts and defiance and skill. The Falcons were left stunned and silent, walking to the locker room as the Patriots' cheerleaders lay on the 50-yard line like children, making snow angels in the falling confetti.
"There was a lot of (stuff) that happened tonight," Brady said.
Every great winner requires a heartbroken loser, and in Atlanta this will forever be remembered as an awful collapse for a franchise that's already seen far too many of them.
Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is off to be the 49ers' next head coach, but fans in the Bay Area must already have questions about a man who could not protect a 25-point lead even with an effective running game.
A defense that pressured Brady early without blitzing, shrinking the field with what Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff likes to call "urgent athleticism," softened as the game wore on.
Brady appeared shook early, throwing wide of some receivers and plainly missing others. But after halftime, he was familiarly incredible — 27 for 36 passing for 282 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
It was, in no uncertain terms, a rotten choke on football's biggest stage. Darrell Bevell and the 2015 Seahawks have company. Every great comeback requires a collapse, though, and we can focus on what the Falcons didn't do or what the Patriots actually did.
"To come back and just stall and just give Tom Brady a glimpse of chance to come back, we did that," Falcons receiver Taylor Gabriel said.
The images flash, some of them football-nerdy, like the Falcons' doubling down on an inability or refusal to run the clock out with a conspiracy of awful mistakes that gave football's ultimate killer one last look through the scope.
Julian Edelman's catch — tipped by a defender, then hanging inches from the turf, at one point resting on a defender's foot — will forever be one of the great plays in football history.
All together, Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards — all records. He is the defining player of this generation, not just for his success and stubborn winning and even the drama, but for his devotion.
He is the ultimate embodiment of that football mantra that often goes too far about sacrifice for team. He was the league's 12th highest paid quarterback this season, and among those who've called him a teammate, the stories are legendary of how he takes more hard coaching than anyone on the roster.
The message has never been spoken directly, only because it never had to be. If Brady is willing to take less money than he's worth, and more cursing than he deserves, who are you to expect special treatment?
The debate about the best quarterback ever is no longer fun. It's absurd and outrageous for the wrong reasons, because the biggest football star of the 21st century just went Bob Beamon on Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway and anyone else you might've argued for at one point or another.
"All of you haters need to shut up and just own up to it that he is the greatest," Patriots safety Patrick Chung said. "We all saw that today."
Brady will turn 40 before the start of next season, which will make him older than virtually anyone to ever play the position — John Elway, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino and Joe Montana, to name but a few.
But he has said he wants to play as long as his body allows, and at this point, can anyone imagine that not being at least another few seasons?
He is famously obsessive about every calorie he consumes, and completely broke down and rebuilt his throwing motion to delay the loss of velocity that hits all quarterbacks.
Over the years, hatred toward the Patriots in general and Brady specifically has been disproportionate if understandable in the same way that so many hate the Yankees and the house at a casino.
But even a lot of folks tired of seeing Brady win and Robert Kraft lift that seven-pound trophy have to respect the greatest winners in any major American professional sport this century — Roger Goodell's discomfort in watching the franchise he punished with junk science win another championship is a nice bonus.
We have all had varying parts in building the Super Bowl into an overwhelming hype machine, a two-week long monster of capitalism and clichés and over-analysis and clichés, and the party is almost never as good as the expectation.
For a long time, it looked like that was how this was going, too. The Falcons were too fast, the Patriots too slow, and it would've been nice enough to see an overdue parade in Atlanta.
But this was better, this was historic. This was unforgettable. The greatest who ever did it, with perhaps the greatest night of his career. Surely, we can find something else to argue about soon.