There are so many aspects to the Patriots dramatic Super Bowl LI win in OT 34-28 over the Falcons that will be analyzed, re-hashed and talked about for years.
But, we obviously focus on football in the “Sunshine State,” and when South Florida’s James White scored from two yards out (above) in the extra period to win it all for New England, they were all smiles in Ft. Lauderdale and at legendary St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
For you see, long before White caught a staggering 14 balls (many of them clutch in the comeback) for 110 yards to help the Pats, he was a high school football stud at the legendary Raiders program. In fact he was already a champion, as White was part of the 2008 State Championship team rushing for over 1,000 yards and 20 TDs in his senior year. He had split time at St. Thomas with another great runner, Giovanni Bernard that season, and White accepted a scholarship offer to the University of Wisconsin.
With the Badgers, he was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2010 rushing for 1,052 yards and 14 TDs, and then rushed for over 1,400 yards and 15 total TD’s his senior year, which led him to get drafted in the fourth round by the Patriots in 2014.
White, who turned 25 on Friday, has been a steady “platoon” back in New England sharing time with LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis and had some modest success over his three seasons. But obviously, his level of play on Sunday night will be talked about for years. One clutch catch and run after another down the stretch, scoring a TD and a two point conversion in the fourth quarter comeback, as the Patriots came all the way back from 25 points down in the third to tie the game at 28 with under a minute left.
White’s second and even, third effort for the clinching walk off TD will be greatest moment of his career and clinched the Pats record fifth Super Bowl win.
Heroes come in all sizes and from all places, and a 5’9” RB from Ft. Lauderdale is now part of NFL immortality.