Superbowl 51

In a previous post a year ago, I relayed my first real experience of American Football with the 2016 Superbowl. Now we had the chance to experience this year’s in company with a group of Americans at a superbowl party. There was lots of food and drink, friendliness, and hollering at the TVs that were on in most rooms. Some supported New England Patriots and some Atlanta Falcons.

The men were all deeply into the game and the beer, some women also, but some were just there for the social event. The one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that they were all sick of politics and wanted to forget about it.

For most of the game it seemed like Atlanta Falcons were going to win, with the score at 28-3 until well into the third quarter. Falcons had scored four touchdowns (tries) for 6 points each, with an extra point for each conversion. Patriots just had one field goal, a bit like a drop-goal in rugby.

But slowly the Patriots inched their score up until it was 28-20 in the last minute or so. There was a magnificent moment when a melee of players went for the ball which went in, then out, then in to the hands of the Patriots player, revealed in superb slow motion shots on the big screen. And then the supreme moment as one of the Patriots powered over for a touchdown 28-26.

It was only now that I became aware that there could be a two-point conversion if Patriots could score a touchdown from two yards out, and that’s what happened 28-28.

So it went into overtime (extra time), which is ‘sudden death’, in that a touch down wins the game. Of course, the momentum was now with the Patriots and they duly won in short order. Falcons supporters were absolutely devastated.

It was pretty clear in all this that the key player is the quarterback who throws the ball forward to be collected by his targeted teammate. As last year, the winning quarterback, this time Tom Brady, was 39 years old. Now that is an amazing age for such a physical sport.

After this exciting experience I can see why American football has such a large following. See The Guardian’s report of the game.

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