Red Sox: Patriots Super Bowl comeback reminiscent of 2004 World Series title


The New England Patriots are the latest team from this region to deliver a stunning comeback to win a championship, much like the Boston Red Sox once did.

The historic victory by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI was nothing short of miraculous, but the blueprint for amazing comeback stories was first set by the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

Tom Brady’s Patriots faced nearly impossible odds after falling behind 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons. To be precise, New England had a 0.2 percent chance of winning at one point late in the third quarter, which would be akin to the odds of Roger Goodell running for mayor of Boston. No team had ever come back from more than a 10-point deficit to win the Super Bowl, let alone erasing a lead more than double that size.

Just over a dozen years ago, the Red Sox faced similar odds after dropping the first three games of the American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees. On the brink of elimination, Boston came storming back with four consecutive wins, becoming the first team in the history of Major League Baseball to come back from down three games to none in a postseason series.

Both teams were prematurely counted out by naysayers that pointed to the long history of teams that failed to overcome those odds, yet in both cases those teams made history by proving them wrong.

The parallels don’t end there.

The Patriots’ season played out under the dark cloud of Deflate-gate, which was nothing more than a disgraceful witch-hunt by the NFL to railroad one of their biggest stars with a scandal that they never came close to proving actually happened. Any sane person would find a four-game suspension baffling, regardless of what Brady may or may not have been “generally aware” of, but the Patriots survived by going 3-1 without their star quarterback and still managed to finish the season as the top seed in the AFC. Despite the best efforts of the commissioner, the freight train that was an extremely ticked off Brady could not be stopped.

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As for the Red Sox, all they had hanging over them in 2004 was an 86-year curse that had haunted the franchise ever since they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Not only did that team complete an improbable comeback to reach the World Series, they went on to vanquish those ghosts by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals to capture a title that several generations of Red Sox fans feared they wouldn’t live to see.

Both of these championship runs were highlighted by signature moments that will forever standout in our memories.

For the Patriots, it was Julian Edelman making one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history. Brady’s pass into double coverage was tipped in the air by defensive back Robert Alford, allowing Edleman time to somehow reel the ball in with a double-clutch. The 23-yard gain put New England into Atlanta territory moments before the two-minute warning on what ultimately would prove to be the game-tying drive.

It’s a catch that Patriots fans will never forget, much like Red Sox fans will always remember the Dave Roberts steal as the turning point that sparked their epic comeback against the Yankees.

After entering the game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning, Roberts took off for second on the next pitch from Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. His head-first slide allowed him to grab the bag a split second before Derek Jeter‘s glove came swiping through for the tag. Two pitches later, Bill Mueller lined a base hit up the middle to drive in Roberts to tie the game, settling up the Red Sox to extend the series with David Ortiz‘s walk-off home run in the 12th inning.

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Roberts was an unlikely hero on that 2004 team, after being acquired mid-season to primarily fill a role off the bench. He appeared in only three games that postseason and was used exclusively as a pinch-runner, yet ended up with perhaps the most important play of the series.

Similarly, James White had become a bit of a forgotten man in the Patriots backfield after Dion Lewis’ return pushed him to third on the running back depth chart. Not many would have pegged him for putting up a monster performance on the game’s biggest stage, but White arguably deserved consideration for Super Bowl MVP after tallying a record 14 catches for 110 yards, adding 29 more yards on the ground and scoring three touchdowns – including the game-winner in overtime.

There aren’t many franchises in professional sports that can claim to have overcome such long odds, yet here in New England we have two teams that can boast historic comebacks.

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Which team had the more impressive comeback – the Patriots in the second half of Super Bowl LI or the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS? Let us know in the comments!