After a historic comeback Sunday night, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won the Super Bowl MVP award after he willed the team to an overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons historically blew a 21 point lead on their way to a 34-28 loss.
The story could have been so different for Atlanta because early on their defense was rolling courtesy in part of young defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. His standout performance could have included an MVP award had things broke a little differently in the 4th quarter.
The former Clemson Tiger tied a Super Bowl record with three sacks on Brady as well as 3 ½ tackles for a loss. He is also credited with 5 tackles and four quarterback hits. Had the Falcons held on, he might very well have been the Super Bowl MVP.
Following the game, Jarrett held a lengthy session with the media where he talked about the Falcons young defense and what the loss meant to Atlanta. He also had some thoughts on the Patriots offense and Brady.
On whether he was surprised by Brady leading the Patriots comeback.
No, not at all. He’s one of the greatest for a reason. Playing first hand, he now has great respect from me. He’s a finisher. He did his job today and led his team. I’m disappointed that we came out on the losing end. Hell of respect for Tom Brady.
On what it means to have three sacks in a Super Bowl against Tom Brady:
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t awesome. It felt good, but at the end of the day, I wanted the win more than anything – for myself, for my team, for my city. It just hurts when you come this far, and this close, and come up short. I’m proud to go to war any day with these guys. The work we put in, and how we got better over the season is really encouraging for this team and this organization going forward. Hats off to the Patriots, they finished.
On whether he interacted with Brady during the game:
No, we were both focused on winning the game. He was getting his guys right, we were getting the defense right. It was a battle out there. Guys were just so locked in on both sides. It sucks coming out on the losing end of things.
On Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman’s sensational 4th quarter catch:
That play hit hard because growing up, you watch the Super Bowl, and there’s always that one moment where you’re like, ‘Dang.’ As I’m watching on the field, and I see him catch it – I saw him catch it – and I said, ‘Man, dang.’ It just felt like a whole momentum shift. It was a great catch by that guy, man. We still tried to get pressure there, but that was an awesome play that he made for his team.
On whether Edelman’s catch swung momentum to the Patriots:
I wouldn’t say that that was our moment where we had the game. It was just an awesome moment in the Super Bowl. This was a classic game, took it to overtime. (I) hate to be on the losing side of things, but we made great plays, and they made great plays. Good for both organizations, it just sucks that we came out on the losing side in the end. Guys were making plays all over the field – it was real entertaining. But at the end of the day, being a Falcon, you know we wanted to win.
On what the loss means to Atlanta:
It sucks. It sucks for the fans, and it sucks for me. It’s tough when you put so much hard work in and come out on the short end. We had a great year. We fought hard, and I just see it going up for us. We have great leadership in our program. We don’t plan on looking back. We’re just trying to get better. It was an awesome feat to be able to make it to this point, but we’re definitely not satisfied. That’s what I can say to the fans. We’re not satisfied just being here, and we’ll need their continued support.
On whether optimism is warranted with the Falcons young defense:
Absolutely, I feel there is definite optimism. We’re just going to continue to get better. We got better as the year went on. We feel good about it. For the first year guys – like I told them – it’s awesome from the first to second year that jump you make (and) the comfort level you make. You know with the guys having success this year like they did – like (SS) Keanu (Neal) and (LB) Deion (Jones) – I’m just excited to see the jump they make from this year to next year. I’m happy to be a part of it.
You can read Jarrett’s full press conference here via the NFL.