It is doubtful that there is a large demographic of people who are Trump-supporters and fans of both the Chicago Cubs and New England Patriots. But for the few who fit that description, they must think they’ve died and gone directly to heaven.
As we take a step back and try to place in historical context that comeback for the ages by Tom Brady and Company in Super Bowl 51, consider the odds you could have gotten at the end of October for this trifecta of unlikely events on the national calendar: the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years, Donald Trump overcoming astronomical odds to win the presidential election, and a team – any team – trailing by 25 points midway through the third quarter coming back to win the Super Bowl.
A thousand to one, maybe? It’s probably closer to one in a million.
Let’s not forget that, in addition to ending the more than century-long drought and obliterating the infamous Curse of the Billy Goat, the Cubs did it the hard way – accomplishing something that had only been done five times since the inception of the World Series: they came back from a three games to one deficit to win it all. And for good measure, they won the last two games on the road, were able to overcome a devastating three-run comeback by the Indians to tie the game in the eighth inning of the final game, and finally closed the deal in extra innings.
At that point, it seemed nothing could possibly upstage baseball’s new World Champions. But just six days later, when Trump overcame what everyone believed was an insurmountable deficit to shock the world, he achieved what was once unthinkable: he actually made the Cubs winning the World Series seem like…nothing.
But then, months later, the Patriots – or more precisely, their comeback – turned this into a trifecta that is not only unlike any we’ve ever witnessed; it’s not even close.
Now, it’s not like we didn’t expect the Patriots to make the big game and be favored to win. But the four-time Super Bowl winners looked dreadful for about two-thirds of the game before Brady rose up and did what Brady does: win. Or, as the Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis once said, just win, baby.
Sure, it was the greatest comeback in the 51-year history of the Super Bowl, but even that record achievement understates the magnitude of the accomplishment. They trailed by 25 points deep into the third quarter. The two greatest comebacks previously were in 1987, when the Redskins trailed the Broncos by ten points in the first quarter, and in 2010, when the Saints were down by ten in the second quarter. The Patriots miraculous climb from the brink of defeat was far more monumental.
Of course, the backstory of Trump’s relationship and overt support from the owner, head coach and quarterback of the Patriots – for which they were predictably criticized by a sports media as reflexively liberal as their colleagues in the “news” business – adds another intriguing layer to the legend.
When the historians have the time and distance to put all of this in perspective, they will surely reach the conclusion that if you lived a hundred lifetimes, you would never witness anything approaching this impossible trifecta again.