GLENDALE, Ariz. — The biggest signing last offseason had the biggest smile on his face after the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX. This, cornerback Darrelle Revis said, is exactly why he signed with New England.
“We worked so hard for it, we did. Since April, since I sat down with Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Bill [Belichick] and this was the reason, to be a part of this legacy that we did tonight, and that’s win the Super Bowl,” Revis said. “Be a part of something great. I’m happy that they had arms open for me, especially coming from New York. I’m here, man. It’s been an awesome ride.”
Revis gave up a touchdown to Doug Baldwin when he was picked by an official, but played the kind of game the Patriots expected of him. Revis, though, was more willing to spread the praise around.
“We made plays when we needed to and we made the big play at the end to seal it,” Revis said. “This is why we both made it here to the Super Bowl. We’re two tough teams.”
Whether Revis returns to the Patriots remains to be seen. The team has an option on him for the 2015 season, but at a cost of $20 million. That wasn’t on Revis’s mind after the game.
“I’ll worry about that later,” he said.
There is superstition
Maybe a change in strategy helped the Patriots. We’re talking about cornerback Devin McCourty, who struck a deal with his twin brother, Jason . The McCourtys had been 0-5 in games attended by one of the brothers watching the other. So Devin made sure Jason wasn’t in the stands watching. But he was there at the end.
“Yeah, we just celebrated on the field,” Devin said. “He missed the game, but he didn’t miss the celebration after the game.”
Jason plays for the Tennessee Titans, and has never made the playoffs. Now his brother is a Super Bowl champion, even if he didn’t get to watch in person. Devin McCourty finished with five tackles.
“He got in. I made sure he had a ticket and a field pass,” Devin said. “I knew he was coming later.”
One of the biggest plays in the game was a 21-yard completion from Tom Brady to Julian Edelman on third-and-14, with the Patriots trailing, 24-14. Edelman’s catch kept alive a drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola, cutting Seattle’s lead to 24-21. Edelman then caught the game-winning touchdown, a 3-yarder from Brady that put the Patriots up for good with 2:02 left.
After the game, Edelman, a seventh-round draft pick who played quarterback at Kent State, became emotional talking about his father, Frank.
“I owe everything to my father, who didn’t really ever have a father,” Edelman said. “He had to start working at 14, couldn’t even play sports. He sacrificed everything for me. I love my dad.”
Scoreless at first
There’s been a common denominator in all six Super Bowl appearances by the Patriots with Belichick as coach and Brady at quarterback.
They haven’t scored in the first quarter.
In Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night, the Patriots failed to convert either of their first-quarter possessions into points.
They kept the Seahawks scoreless as well, giving the Super Bowl its first 0-0 score after one quarter since Feb. 6, 2005, between the Patriots and Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
The Patriots punted on their first possession after making one first down, then got the ball back after forcing a three-and-out on Seattle’s initial drive. Taking over at their 32-yard line, the Patriots needed three plays to cross midfield, and seven more plays to reach the red zone, eventually pushing to the Seattle 10.
But on third and 6, Brady was pressured by defensive lineman Michael Bennett and linebacker Brock Coyle, throwing a pass off his back foot that was easily intercepted by cornerback Jeremy Lane. The Patriots’ best chance to score in the first quarter was picked off; the next time they got the ball was in the second quarter.
Just like in their previous five Super Bowls, the Patriots responded to a scoreless first quarter by scoring in the second. Brady led them on a pair of touchdown drives before halftime, throwing scoring passes of 11 yards to
and 22 to
Stork gets start
NFL rules dictate that only 46 players can suit up and play — even for playoff games — so seven players from the 53-man active roster were forced to watch the Super Bowl from the sideline. With no Patriots listed as out or even questionable to play on Saturday’s final practice participation report, the decisions on the inactives would be tied to game plan personnel, not injuries.
The biggest question mark was at center, with Bryan Stork having missed the AFC Championship game after suffering a knee injury in the playoff win over Baltimore. He practiced in Foxborough and here in Arizona, though, and was active for the game, getting the start. It allowed the Patriots to use the starting lineup that had given up only six sacks in the nine games they were together: Stork, Nate Solder at left tackle, Dan Connolly at left guard, Ryan Wendell at right guard, and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.
Sitting out the Super Bowl were running backs Jonas Gray and James White, receivers Josh Boyce and Brian Tyms, offensive lineman Jordan Devey, and defensive linemen Joe Vellano and Zach Moore.
In the AFC title game, Vellano had taken the place of defensive tackle Chris Jones, who sat out with an elbow injury. Jones practiced both before and after the Patriots left for Arizona (he was limited, like Stork) and was healthy enough to play.
Not kicking himself
The last time the Patriots played at University of Phoenix Stadium, they lost in Super Bowl XLII to the Giants, 17-14. It denied the Patriots a 19-0 season, the loss coming in the final minute when the Giants scored a touchdown.
Overlooked in that game was the decision not to attempt a 49-yard field goal the first time the Patriots had the ball in the second half. Leading at the time, 7-3, the Patriots were faced with a fourth-and-13 from the Giants’ 31, well within Stephen Gostkowski’s range. But Belichick kept the then-second-year kicker on the sideline. Brady’s pass intended for Jabar Gaffney fell incomplete, and the Patriots turned the ball over on downs.
What did Gostkowski think of the decision to bypass the field goal try?
“I really never thought twice about it. It’s not my job to make those decisions,” Gostkowski said last week. “I’ll never be one to second-guess anybody’s decision, and if people are going to hold it against me for not kicking a field goal, then that’s their problem.
“If you want to get mad at me for missing a field goal, go ahead. But it’s not my fault, it’s just not my job to make those decisions.
“I’ll never question the smartest coach in the NFL, whatever he has to do.”
Gostkowski is 1 for 1 on Super Bowl field goal attempts, converting a 29-yarder in Super Bowl XLVI three years ago. He has a career postseason success rate of 91 percent (20 for 22).
Denial by Harbaugh
Ravens coach John Harbaugh shot down a report that he or anyone in the Baltimore organization tipped off the Indianapolis Colts about the Patriots using deflated balls.
According to Fox Sports, the Ravens told Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who was an assistant coach for the Ravens for four seasons, to be aware of underinflated footballs before the AFC Championship game.
“I heard all that; I couldn’t believe it when I heard it,” Harbaugh said on NBC’s Super Bowl pregame show Sunday. “It’s ridiculous, it never happened. I never made any call. Nobody in our organization made any call. As a matter of fact, just to make sure I had all the facts, I called up Chuck Pagano this week and asked him, ‘Did anybody else in our organization tip you off about deflated footballs?’ and he said, ‘No way.’ ’’
The Ravens were eliminated by the Patriots in the divisional round, but Harbaugh said the condition of the balls was never an issue.
“It never came up, it never crossed my mind, it wasn’t even an issue in the game,” Harbaugh said. “I didn’t even think about it until I read about it later.”
Brady became just the second player in NFL history to appear in six Super Bowls, joining Mike Lodish, a defensive lineman who played in four Super Bowls with the Bills, and two with the Broncos. Brady also passed Joe Montana for most touchdown passes in Super Bowl history, throwing two in the second quarter, then two more in the fourth to give him 13 for his career. Brady set a single-game Super Bowl record for first-half completions by going 20 for 27 for 177 yards . . . After recording no sacks in their first two playoff victories, the Patriots finally got one early in the second quarter when Chandler Jones dragged down Russell Wilson from behind. They finished with three sacks . . . The Patriots lost the coin toss for just the fifth time in 19 games this season. They split the first four games in which they lost the toss . . . The Patriots scored touchdowns on three of their four drives that reached the red zone, and cashed in both goal-to-go opportunities.
Ann Mara dies at 85
A moment of silence was held before the opening kickoff in memory of Giants owner Ann Mara, who died Sunday at age 85. Giants co-owner John Mara announced his mother’s death . . . A collection of scenes shown on the stadium’s videoboard during Idina Menzel’s national anthem — players and military members watching overseas — brought loud cheers from the crowd. Only one shot brought a chorus of boos: when Belichick was shown.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.