What a decade this was in New England sports! As we move into the 2020s, join NESN.com in counting down the best moments in New England sports from 2010-2019. (And check out the rest of our “Best of the Decade” content here.)
A game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl is never anticlimactic, but by the time James White reached the endzone to end Super Bowl LI, the story of the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history already had been written.
It only needed an ending.
White’s leg-churning score buried the Atlanta Falcons, who had once led by as many as 25 points, and handed the New England Patriots their fifth championship. For that, White’s touchdown was chosen by NESN.com as the No. 4 moment of the decade in New England sports.
A solid if lightly used contributor for his first two NFL seasons, White added to his breakout 2016 campaign with a record-setting performance in Houston. He set Super Bowl records with 14 receptions, 139 receiving yards (the most ever by a running back) and 20 points scored on three touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Many, including quarterback Tom Brady, believed White should have been awarded Super Bowl MVP.
When Brady was given the award instead, he turned around and gifted White the Chevrolet pickup truck that was included with the trophy.
Unlike many unlikely Super Bowl heroes, however, White turned out to be far from a one-hit wonder. He posted his best all-around season in 2018 when he recorded 1,176 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns, helping the Patriots en route to their sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Still, the freeze frame of White, draped in Atlanta defenders, lunging across the goalline is likely the one that will personify him and the legendary Super Bowl LI comeback forever. For a franchise with so many indelible moments, that’s no small feat.