Weekend Sports in Brief
HOUSTON (AP) Tom Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports, let alone Super Bowl history, lifting New England from a 25-point hole to the Patriots’ fifth NFL championship in the game’s first overtime finish.
The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White’s 2-yard touchdown run in overtime beating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28.
Brady, the first quarterback with five Super Bowl rings, guided the Patriots (17-2) through a tiring Atlanta defense for fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 6-yard pass to Danny Amendola and a 1-yard run by White, which came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the first 2-pointer and Amendola did the deed with a reception on the second.
Brady finished 43 for 62, the most attempts in Super Bowl history, for 466 yards and two touchdowns.
HOUSTON (AP) – Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett says he is not worried about upsetting team owner Robert Kraft by not attending New England’s trip to the White House as Super Bowl champions.
Bennett said after the Patriots’ win that he’s ”not going to go” to the traditional meet-and-greet with the president. It will be the first visit of a Super Bowl champion to Washington since Donald Trump was sworn into office.
Trump’s positions have alienated some athletes, which has raised questions about whether some might choose to skip the trip while the new president is in office.
But Bennett said he isn’t concerned about it and thinks the team believes ”in whatever I want to do.”
Kraft is a supporter of Trump and attended a celebration dinner in Washington for him the night before his inauguration.
BOSTON (AP) – The mayor of Boston has ordered the city to ”fire up the duck boats” for the New England Patriots victory parade following the team’s come-from-behind overtime win over Atlanta.
Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh took to Twitter to offer his congratulations ”to the greatest team, the greatest coach and the greatest quarterback of all time.”
Walsh says a parade celebrating their championship will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. He says the Pats ”have made Boston and New England proud.”
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
HOUSTON (AP) – Running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis and quarterback Kurt Warner are part of the seven-man class heading into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sackmaster Jason Taylor and kicker Morten Andersen also made it in, along with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a contributor, and Seahawks safety Kenny Easley, a senior nominee.
Like Taylor, Tomlinson got in on his first ballot. In nine seasons with the Chargers and two more with the Jets, he redefined the running back position, as dangerous catching the ball (for 4,772 career yards) and he was running it (13,684).
Warner won one Super Bowl and two overall MVP awards while leading ”The Greatest Show on Turf” with the Rams.
Davis led Denver to two titles over a career that covered a mere 78 games. In 1998, he became the fourth player to surpass 2,000 yards rushing in a season.
HOUSTON (AP) – Paul Tagliabue’s rejection by Hall of Fame voters didn’t come as a surprise to one of the biggest critics of the NFL’s research and handling of head injuries.
”You can’t underestimate what those decisions made on concussions in the `90s have cost football players and their families,” Chris Nowinski told The Associated Press shortly after the former commissioner was left out of this year’s class.
Nowinski is founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, which has received more than 1,400 pledges from former players and military veterans to donate their brains to concussion research. He started studying the NFL’s handling of concussions in 2003, and said when he began ”reading this history of the issue and the medical literature on how the NFL did its studies, my jaw dropped.”
Tagliabue led the NFL from 1989-2006, bringing owners onto the same page, getting stadiums built and cementing pro football’s status as America’s most-successful sport.
But comments he made in 1994 illustrated his lack of concern about concussions. He called them ”one of those pack-journalism issues,” and claimed that the number of concussions ”is relatively small; the problem is the journalist issue.”
BOSTON (AP) – Paul Pierce was back in the starting lineup against his former team as coach Doc Rivers gave him a chance to say farewell to the Boston fans.
Pierce hadn’t played since Dec. 31 and has appeared in just 12 games this season for the Los Angeles Clippers. The 39-year-old forward played the first 15 years of his career with the Celtics and is the franchise’s second-leading scorer.
He has said he will retire after the season.
Pierce got a big cheer when he came out for warmups before the game. The crowd was filled with fans in his No. 34 jersey – even more than Patriots jerseys on Super Bowl Sunday.
After starting the game – his first appearance for the Clippers since New Year’s Eve, Pierce sat on the bench until the game was out of reach. But in the final seconds, with the fans already standing and cheering, Pierce launched a 3-pointer for one final eruption.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – Retired star jockey Garrett Gomez died of an overdose of methamphetamines in December.
Dr. Gregory Hess, chief medical examiner of Pima County, Arizona, cited toxicology tests as the cause of death in Saturday’s Daily Racing Form.
The 44-year-old former rider with a history of substance abuse won more than 4,000 races, including 13 in the Breeders’ Cup.
Gomez was found unconscious Dec. 14 in a room at a resort near Tucson and declared dead at the scene. He had returned to his hometown in recent years after riding in Southern California.