The biggest annual sporting event in the United States, the National Football League championship known as the Super Bowl, took place Sunday evening at University of Phoenix Stadium in the southwestern state of Arizona.
The New England Patriots were crowned Super Bowl champions after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to capture their first National Football League title in 10 years.
The victory put New England alongside five other teams with at least four Super Bowl wins while Tom Brady joined Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and childhood idol Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks with four championship rings.
Frantic 4th quarter
Brady fired four touchdowns, including two in a frantic fourth quarter, to give him a record 13 Super Bowl touchdown passes.
“Wasn't the way we drew it up,” Brady said about the 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. “Certainly throwing a couple picks didn't help. Lot of mental toughness and our team showed it all year.”
Seattle had a chance to steal a dramatic win after a circus catch by Jermaine Kearse put the Seahawks deep in Patriots territory. But a Russell Wilson pass was intercepted at the goal line by Malcolm Butler with 20 seconds to play to seal the victory.
“I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play and it came true and I'm just blessed,” said Butler, who was also covering Kearse when he made the spectacular circus catch. “I can't explain it right now… It all comes down to preparation. I just made a guess and made a play.”
Down by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, Brady cemented his legacy as one of the NFL's all-time greats, engineering to long scoring drives capped by touchdown passes to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman to retake the lead.
The buildup to the Super Bowl had been dominated by a controversy over deflated footballs used by the Patriots in a blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game that earned them a trip to Arizona and a whiff of scandal hung over University of Phoenix Stadium as the NFL investigation into the matter continued.
The game represented a last chance for the NFL to put a scandal scarred season behind it and the Patriots and Seahawks did their part, providing an afternoon of edge-of-your-seat drama.
“Every year if you're privileged to get to this game, hard things happen,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I'm so proud of Brady and [coach Bill] Belichick for handling things the way they did. “I love them. And all our Patriots fans should feel very good.”
Oddsmakers had New England as a slight favorite to beat the Seahawks before the game.
Most watched TV event
The Super Bowl has become a spectacle in the United States. Last year's game was the most-watched television event in U.S. history, with an avarage viewership of 112.2 million.
Most Americans watched the game in bars and restaurants, and at traditional Super Bowl parties in homes across the nation. Millions of others watced the game outside of the U.S., with Canada and Mexico traditionally having the strongest viewerships.
The official cost for tickets this year ranged from $800 to $1,900, but they were nearly impossible to get at those prices. Ticket brokers were charging several thousand dollars per ticket in the hours before kickoff.
Super Bowl ads, halftime show
Just as popular as the game are the television commercials, with sponsors presenting their most creative advertisements in hopes of boosting reputations and sales by reaching the huge audience. The cost of a 30-second ad this year was $4.5 million, with some companies buying several minutes of air time.
The halftime show is another major feature of the Super Bowl, with this year's entertainment provided by pop star Katy Perry.
Some material for this report came from Reuters.