I woke up at four in the morning and my bladder, on automatic pilot, told me what it was time to do.
On the journey back to my bed, though, it dawned on me.
It wasn’t a dream. Last night really happened.
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., son of Gaylynn and Tom Sr., husband of Gisele, father of John, Vivian and Benjamin, and beloved quarterback of the New England Patriots had done the impossible in Super Bowl 51.
Trailing the Atlanta Falcons by a 28-3 score late in the third quarter, Brady once again led the Patriots to victory.
It was amazing. It was stunning. It was beautiful.
But, really, it was almost beyond description.
How many people must Superman save before it becomes mundane? It doesn’t. After all, he’s Superman.
When you see the greatest of all time perform precision surgery, you don’t go out for popcorn. You sit back. You watch. You enjoy.
And when you’re in The October Weekend of your life you might even let a tear escape down your cheek, knowing you may never witness such a moment again.
Brady is both one of the most beloved and most hated figures in football history. So is Bill Belichick. So is Robert Kraft. So are the New England Patriots.
People will claim the Patriots cheat. People will call Brady a cheater.
Those of us in New England, though, know every single professional team out there is working an angle, trying to gain an edge.
Deflated balls? Brady gets suspended for four games two years after it happens. Carolina and Minnesota had similar situations and nothing happened. Nothing.
Tape-gate? The St. Louis Cardinals baseball club used computer hackers to gain entry into another team’s computer system. (Russia? Election? Sound familiar?) Where was the country-wide outrage there?
People love a winner.
Winners? People detest them with a passion.
And that’s what Brady and the New England Patriots are.
The Patriots have played in nine of the 51 Super Bowls. They have won five Super Bowl titles — with Brady quarterbacking all five.
New York Giants fans hang their hat on the fact that Eli Manning and their team have beaten the Pats twice in Super Bowl games. Of course, all the rungs are filled with New England’s championship rings, so what else are they going to do?
Lose two in order to win five? I’d take that any day of the week. Most fans would.
So we are champions once again. Save for Belichick and Brady, it’s a whole new cast of characters kissing the trophy.
That’s the magic of New England, its coach, its quarterback.
So when they’re down 28-3 and you know it’s over, it’s really not.
I thought it was.
I was ready to congratulate Matt Ryan, the former Boston College quarterback who married a Maine girl and went to Atlanta, on his well-deserved Super Bowl championship.
Then Brady hit James White to the left for 5 yard touchdown. (28-9).
The defense stood tall and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 33-yard field goal (28-12) early in the fourth quarter.
I kept watching and suddenly Brady connected with Danny Amendola for a 6-yard touchdown. The Patriots then converted the two-point conversion (28-20) and suddenly it was a ball game.
As you watched Atlanta’s defense, it was tired. The Falcons had lost their legs.
If you looked in their eyes, they looked a little bit shell-shocked.
Brady? His eyes told a different story. He had been here before.
He got the ball back and led the Patriots to the game-tying drive. White for the touchdown, Amendola on the two-point conversion.
The game was tied 28-28 and for the first time in 51 games the Super Bowl was headed to overtime.
“Heads,” was the Patriots’ coin-flip call by Matt Slater.
“I always call heads,” said Slater, the son of Hall of Fame lineman Jackie Slater. “It’s a Slater family tradition.”
Winning is a Patriots tradition.
Heads it was.
Game over — 34-28.
It was one of the greatest Super Bowl games in history. And Brady (43-for-62, Super Bowl record 466 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) was as good as he’s ever been in the second half.
No, it wasn’t a dream. Yet it was.
It was a nightmare first half.
We watched Lady Gaga shine, went to the bathroom and returned for the second half.
And all our dreams came true.