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The two defining Super Bowl photos to show your players

Super Bowl LI produced some classic images, some we'll still remember when they play Super Bowl CI. (That's Super Bowl 101 for those who kept room in their brains for more pertinent information than Roman numerals.) In the aftermath of the game, two photos stood out to me more than any others.

The first is likely one you've already seen -- I wouldn't be surprised to see it on the Sports Illustrated cover later this week. It's the photo of the game. It also defines the football cliche that this is truly a game of inches.


It's impossible to say this catch prevented the Patriots from losing. Edelman's 23-yard reception with 2:28 remaining came on a 1st-and-10 play. New England eventually scored the game-tying touchdown and 2-point conversion with 57 seconds remaining, so they would've had time to drive the remaining 64 yards even if Edelman didn't make this spectacular catch.

But, still, this image, of Edelman out-fighting three Falcons defenders to beat that ball to the NRG Stadium turf by a nanosecond is emblematic of the type of effort it took to fight back from that 28-3 deficit, and of the type of effort it takes to win the Super Bowl.

The second image is one you probably haven't seen.

With 2:21 to play in the first half, Tom Brady tossed an 82-yard pick six to Robert Alford, putting his team in a 21-0 hole. New England's offense at that point had registered a punt, a punt, a fumble that turned into Atlanta's first touchdown, a punt and then that pick six. Considering the stakes, it would've been easy and understandable to see New England collapse in on itself in this moment. We've seen it happen plenty of other times on this stage.

As we know by now, that didn't happen.

While the Patriots' first five touches produced three punts and two turnovers, their final seven possessions (excluding the end-of-regulation 1-play drive that, by the way, was cribbed from Western Kentucky) produced one punt, two field goals and four touchdowns. In fact, the Pats' final three full drives moved 191 yards in 23 plays -- and all reached pay dirt.

Patriots Brady

As Brady watched Alford take this pass back for a touchdown, he had completed 10 of his first 17 passes for 125 yards with no scores and an interception -- good for a 57.2 quarterback rating. From this moment forward, though, he was 33-of-45 for 341 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions -- a 109.58 rating.

Brady and the Patriots' comeback proved another cliche true: It's not what happens to you, it's how you respond to it.