Utter disbelief is how I would characterize my state of mind after witnessing Sunday’s game.
Hours after the game concluded, I am still processing the events that transpired in Super Bowl LI.
Never in my life have I gone from soul- crushing despair to joyous exhilaration to absolute disbelief as I did with this year’s game.
The New England Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, coming back from 25 points down late in the 3rd quarter to score 31 unanswered points and win in overtime, 34-28.
As I consider this momentous occasion — perhaps the greatest Super Bowl of all time — I am reminded of the great Yogi Berra, and one of that New York Yankee’s “Yogi-isms:”
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
The Patriots certainly listened to Berra, and fought and clawed their way back into a game they had absolutely no business re-entering.
The incredulous and logic-defying performance by the Patriots demonstrates the total beauty of sports.
Anything is possible when it comes to sports — no matter how ridiculous, no matter how unlikely, no matter how difficult to believe.
This “anything goes” ethos that sports possesses is what makes them so fun to play, to watch and to talk about.
While sports are, objectively, secondary to the issues and matters of life, they do present us with a certain sense of hope.
Life lessons can be drawn from sports, and one of the most important lessons that anyone can learn is,
“No matter what, no matter how bad the situation appears, do not give up. Keep going. It ain’t over till it’s over.”
With this attitude, it is possible for any person to rebound from a bad situation or circumstance. And only with this attitude can any person get up and keep on walking after life pounds him squarely in the jaw.
It is this beautiful sentiment of which I am reminded by this game.
Admittedly, it is a hard concept to accept and a difficult attitude to live by. But with no small amount of determination and faith, it is possible.
I look back over the magnificent history of sports comebacks and miracles, and I imagine that the 2017 Super Bowl will rank somewhere near the top.
It will rest alongside other all-time great comebacks, such as the 1951 New York Giants’, culminating in Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” the New York Yankees catching the Boston Red Sox from 14 1/2 games back in 1978, the 1994 Florida State Seminoles, preserving what became a 10-year home undefeated streak in the “Choke at Doak,” the 2004 Red Sox winning the American League Championship Series after trailing three games to none, and the Kansas Jayhawks eventually winning March Madness behind “Mario’s Miracle” in 2008.
If all of these comebacks and miracles prove one thing, it is that one should persevere until the bitter end.
Falling behind can be mightily disheartening, not just in sports but in other parts of life as well.
Here at the University of Dallas, it’s scary how impossible academics can become if one falls behind. Academics here are rigorous and challenging, even for the wise and careful.
However, no one ever overcame adversity by quitting.
When laboring over a paper or cramming for an exam, do not lose heart. Keep going; miracles happen.
I shall savor the beauty of the miracle I witnessed tonight, even if I still do not quite believe it. And as I continue through life, I will always remember the lesson that I was reminded of tonight.
In the famous words of Berra:
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”