Super Bowl LI was an American football game played at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 5, 2017, to determine the champion of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2016 season. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots, after trailing by as many as 25 points (28–3) during the third quarter, defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Atlanta Falcons, 34–28 in overtime. The Patriots’ 25-point comeback is the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, and Super Bowl LI was the first to be decided in overtime.
The Patriots’ victory was their fifth, moving them into a three-way tie with the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers for second place on the all-time Super Bowl wins list, trailing only the Pittsburgh Steelers who have six victories. New England, after finishing the regular season with a league-best 14–2 record, advanced to their record-setting ninth Super Bowl appearance, their second in three years, and their seventh under the leadership of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The Falcons entered the game after completing an 11–5 regular season record, and were trying to win their first Super Bowl title, having lost their only previous appearance in Super Bowl XXXIII.
After a scoreless first quarter, Atlanta scored 21 points before New England made a field goal with two seconds left in the second quarter, to make it a 21–3 halftime lead. The Falcons then increased their lead to 28–3 midway through the third quarter, with quarterback Matt Ryan completing his second touchdown pass. The Patriots then scored 25 unanswered points to tie the game, 28–28, with 57 seconds left in regulation. New England won the overtime coin toss, received the kickoff and drove 75 yards to win with a 2-yard touchdown run by running back James White. When the game ended, more than 30 team and individual Super Bowl records had been either broken or matched. White’s 14 receptions and his 20 points scored (off of 3 touchdowns and a two-point conversion) were among these broken records. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who also broke single-game Super Bowl records with 43 completed passes, 62 pass attempts, and 466 passing yards, was named Super Bowl MVP for a record fourth time.
Fox’s broadcast of the game averaged around 111.3 million viewers, slightly down from the 111.9 million viewers of the previous year’s Super Bowl, while the total number of viewers for all or part of the game hit a record number of 172 million . Average TV viewership for the halftime show, headlined by Lady Gaga, was higher at 117.5 million. On the following day a number of media outlets immediately hailed the game as the greatest Super Bowl of all time.