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Rob Gronkowski on his first Super Bowl title: ‘It’s everything I expected, plus more’

02.02.15 at 1:19 am ET
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — The pain and suffering was all worth it for Rob Gronkowski.

The tight end who went through ankle, forearm and ACL injuries finally stands victorious as a Super Bowl champion.

“It’s an unbelievable experience,” said Gronkowski, who attended the University of Arizona in Tucson right down south on I-10. “I went to college right down the street. It’s a great, great, great atmosphere to start where I started in college and then win the Super Bowl down the street with the New England Patriots. I just think about it now. I just came so far from when I came to Arizona at 18 years old. I just worked my tail off to get to this point and just keep working hard and listening to my coaches to get where I am now.

“I always thought about this moment. That’s when you start in the beginning of the season, this is the moment you think of, the moment you work for. It’s just an honor to get to the Super Bowl. It’s an honor to be able to win the game. Just an unbelievable feeling. It’s everything I expected, plus more.”

Gronkowski had six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. But Gronkowski’s first Super Bowl ring doesn’t happen without Malcom Butler saving the day at the goal line with an interception.

“I was just praying for an interception. If they ran it, just fumble or something. They didn’t have a turnover all game and you couldn’t ask for a better time for a turnover. Our defense played well and that was an unbelievable play by Butler to get that turnover.”

Read More: Rob Gronkowski, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX,

Bill Belichick gets emotional after win, remembers late father

02.02.15 at 1:18 am ET
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Bill Belichick celebrates Malcolm Butler's interception to seal the win. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick celebrates Malcolm Butler’s interception to seal the win. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The last time Bill Belichick hoisted the Lombardi Trophy was in 2005 when the Patriots beat the Eagles 10 years ago.

Belichick’s dad Steve was on the sidelines with him that night, but Sunday was the first time he’s won a Super Bowl since his dad passed away.

His father passed away in November of 2005 — roughly nine months after the Patriots beat the Eagles. Having influenced him so much with his coaching career — as his dad was a football coach at Navy and got him into coaching — it’s not surprising he got emotional winning his first title without him alive.

“The last time I won and I got [Gatoraded], my dad was here,” Belichick said. “I was certainly thinking about him tonight, and I’m sure he was watching. I hope my mom is watching too, so, ‘Hi Mom.'”

Belichick said on Friday that his 92-year-old mom would be watching the game back home in Annapolis, Maryland screaming at the TV.

With the win, Belichick joined Chuck Noll as the only two coaches in NFL history to win four Super Bowls, even more impressive is Belichick having 10 years in between titles.

The coach gave all the credit to his players, especially for everything they went through during the season.

“This is a great team — a great group of competitors who never gave in, never lost their will, mentally and physically as tough of a group as I’ve been around, and I’ve been around some,” Belichick said. “These guys are really special. I’m happy for them, and they deserve all the credit in the world. They’re the ones that made the plays. They’re the ones that fought for 60 minutes out there on the field against a great team. I was very impressed this week in preparation for Seattle.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Super Bowl XLIX,

Robert Kraft: ‘Just so proud’ of Patriots’ Super Bowl win

02.02.15 at 1:10 am ET
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Owner Robert Kraft and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia share an embrace in the wake of Sunday's Super Bowl win. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Owner Robert Kraft and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia share an embrace in the wake of Sunday’s Super Bowl win. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Patriots owner Robert Kraft called the fourth championship in 14 years for the franchise “pretty special” especially in the wake of the all the distractions that have surrounded the team in recent weeks.

“It was pretty special,” Kraft said following the 28-24 win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. “With all the distractions, when you get to this game, there’s always things that are pulling you apart. I’m just so proud.

“I think tonight was pretty special. It was right up there.”

Kraft was especially effusive in his praise of quarterback Tom Brady, who ended up breaking Joe Montana‘s record for most passing touchdowns in Super Bowl play in the victory.

“He’s the best,” Kraft said of Brady, who ended up going 37-for-50 for 328 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions. “I think he broke Joe Montana‘s touchdown record. Think about it. He grew up idolizing him, and he breaks his touchdown record. But I don’t think he’s done. Please God — we can continue to strive for excellence.”

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Read More: New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady

Brandon Browner: ‘Man, what were they thinking?’

02.02.15 at 12:54 am ET
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Brandon Browner had the same reaction as everyone else in the stadium.

With the Seahawks just one yard from the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX, the ball did not go to Marshawn Lynch but rather Russell Wilson. The Seahawks quarterback decided to try and force and in route on a double-stack to Ricardo Lockette and rookie Malcolm Butler stepped in front for the game-saving interception with 20 seconds left.

“We knew it was going to be a man-beater because we’re a man team. And we knew [it was a pass] because of the alignment. It was stacked look by the receivers. It forced us to be tight on those guys and we did our job. And how great is it that the kid gets his first career interception to save the Super Bowl?”

Browner then reacted like a fan when asked about Lynch not getting the ball.

“Man, what were they thinking? That’s the best back in the game,” Browner said. “Sometimes, people outstrategize themselves and I think that’s what happened tonight.”

Browner said he wasn’t in shock when the pass went in the air because he was too busy guarding his man.

“I wasn’t in shock because I was locked into my man, trying to play tight man-to-man coverage,” he said. “I look back on it and it wasn’t the right move to make.”

But Browner expressed gratitude to Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson for throwing the ball, handing the Super Bowl over to the Patriots.

“Very happy,” Browner said

Read More: Brandon Browner, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX

Tom Brady: ‘I’ve got a lot of football left’

02.02.15 at 12:50 am ET
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Tom Brady captured his fourth Super Bowl title Sunday against the Seahawks. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady captured his fourth Super Bowl title Sunday against the Seahawks. (Elsa/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Tom Brady doesn’t have time to think about legacies.

“I’ve got a lot of football left,” the 37-year-old said shortly after taking home his third Super Bowl MVP honor following a 28-24 win over the Seahawks Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

With the victory, the quarterback joins childhood hero Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only signal-callers to win four Super Bowls. He becomes just the fifth quarterback over the age of 35 to win a title, joining John Elway, Jim Plunkett, Johnny Unitas and Roger Staubach.

And he becomes the first quarterback to win Super Bowls 10 or more years apart — the quarterback captured his fourth title almost 13 full years to the day after he won his first championship.

Brady’s cool under pressure was tested in the fourth quarter, as he led the Patriots back from a 10-point deficit with touchdown passes to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

“He was no different than how he is when we’re playing catch in (Los Angeles) or in OTAs or in training camp or in a big game,” said Amendola, who ended up with five catches for 48 yards. “He’s so calm and collected. He’s the best. He gets everybody to play at a higher level.”

Despite the accolades, the quarterback wouldn’t talk about his place in history, saying only that he was proud of the performance of the entire team.

“I never put myself in those discussions,” said Brady, who ended up going 37-for-50 for 328 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions. “That’s not how I think. There are so many great players that have been on so many great teams and we’ve had some great teams that haven’t won it. I think you’ve got to just enjoy the moment and enjoy it.

“We were playing a great defense and a great team,” he added. “It took everything all the way to the last play. I’m just proud of our effort and our determination. We showed it all year. Every team has a journey, and a lot of people lost faith in us early. But we held strong, we held together. It’s a great feeling.”

Read More: Danny Amendola, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady,

Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin on ejection: ‘I went and backed up my brother; I went about it wrong’

02.02.15 at 12:37 am ET
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Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin was ejected at the end of the game. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin was ejected at the end of the game. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Emotions got the best of players, especially Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, in the closing seconds when the Patriots were taking a knee to run out the clock at their own 1-yard line.

The Seahawks jumped off sides, sealing the game for the Patriots, as they now had plenty of room to kneel the ball and run out the clock.

Once that happened, emotions got high and a scuffle broke out in the end zone, primarily with the Patriots’ offensive lineman and the Seahawks’ linebackers and defensive linemen.

In the end, Irvin was ejected for throwing a punch.

“I was protecting a teammate,” he said. “Emotions flew. I saw somebody hit [Michael] Bennett, so I went and backed up my brother. I went about it wrong. Emotions were flying high and I apologize. But if it happened again, I would go and protect my teammate. That is just how it is.”

Irvin was very critical of his team’s play calling at the end of the game leading to Malcolm Butler’s interception.

“We had it,” he said. “I don’t understand how you don’t give it to the best back in the league on not even the 1-yard line. We were on the half-yard line, and we throw a slant. I don’t know what the offense had going on, what they saw. I don’t understand.”

The Seahawks couldn’t win back-to-back titles and that will be what he thinks about all offseason.

“It’s going to kill me. I think I am going to lock myself in my room for about two weeks. This one hurt because we had it. We had it.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bruce Irvin, Super Bowl XLIX,

On game-winning interception, Patriots CB Malcolm Butler knew what was coming

02.02.15 at 12:22 am ET
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — With the Seahawks on the goal line and looking to take the lead late in Sunday’s Super Bowl, Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler thought he saw something familiar.

Turns out, he was right.

Instead of turning to Marshawn Lynch and running the ball, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson tried a pass play on a quick in-route to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. Butler stepped in front of the ball and came away with the game-winning pick, setting off a wild celebration and allowing the Patriots to come away with the 28-24 win.

According to Patriots scout team quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the cornerback was beaten in practice this week the same play.

“We did [beat him], and Josh [Boyce] got a touchdown on him,” the backup said following the dramatic win over the Seahawks, a win that was punctuated by an amazing pass breakup from Butler that allowed New England to escape.

“I knew they were going to throw it,” Butler said. “Our defensive coordinator [Matt Patricia] is real smart and went with a goal-line, three-cornerback [formation]. We knew they were going to throw the ball.

“I saw Wilson looking over there [toward the receivers],” Butler added. “He kept his head still and just looked over there, so that gave me a clue, and the stacked receivers. I just knew they were going to throw. My instincts, I just went with it — just went with my mind and made the play.”

Garoppolo said he saw what Butler was doing every step of the way.

“It got him ready and he knew what to expect. Jumping a route like that, it’s very impressive. That’s all instincts,” Garoppolo said. “I can’t remember what [Butler] did wrong in practice, but it paid off tonight.”

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Boyce, Malcolm Butler, New England Patriots



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