Danny Amendola, like the rest of the world, was still trying to process how everything unfolded in Super Bowl LI.
What he New England Patriots receiver had just witnessed was difficult to describe.
Coupled with the fact that the Woodlands native had just won his second Super Bowl in his hometown, everyone should understand why he was blankly staring into space while trying to collects his thoughts when speaking to the media.
“It’s the best,” Amendola told Adam Coleman of the Houston Chronicle. “It’s why we play. It’s great to have the family out. My mom came out. It was awesome to have family in the stands.”
Amendola’s family, along with the the other 70,807 people who were in attendance at NRG Stadium, witnessed the most improbable comeback and first overtime in Super Bowl history when the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 after being down 28-3 in the third quarter.
And Amendola played a significant role in helping the Patriots score 31 unanswered points to rally and stun the Falcons.
His most impactful play came when only 57 seconds remained in the fourth quarter — a successful catch on a two-point conversion to knot the game up 28-28 and force overtime.
On the same drive, he also hauled in a 20-yard pass from Tom Brady to put New England at the Atlanta 21 right before the two-minute warning surfaced.
Amendola caught eight passes for 78 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and his scoring reception was another one of the more important plays that helped the Patriots claw out of their massive deficit. His score occurred with 5:56 remaining in regulation and James White’s two-point conversion run following the touchdown made it a one-score game at 28-20.
Those who followed Amendola before he reached the NFL were probably having flashbacks as they witnessed him blow holes in an exhausted Atlanta defense.
He led The Woodlands team to the Class 5A Division I state title game, which took place at Rice Stadium, which was a little over two miles away from NRG Stadium.
He began his journey in the league as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech, and now he’s cemented himself into New England’s dynasty as a dependable target for Brady when everything is on the line.
“We just wanted to focus on our job, one play at a time,” Amendola said when asked about the comeback. “One drive at a time. Forget about the scoreboard. Just try to get the ball in the end zone and make plays.”
Amendola went in depth on how his two-point conversion. Brady tossed the ball to Amendola as he motioned with Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan, who were his blockers on the screen. The play wasn’t designed to pick up many yards, put it did exactly what it was supposed to.
The native Texan quickly encountered a group of Atlanta defenders after the catch, but managed to cross the goal line. Amendola went ballistic in front of a nearby camera after his successful conversion, as he realized the Patriots were on the brink of doing something no team had ever done before.
“It was a good play call,” Amendola said. “We had a good look on the play. We got it in.”
Amendola’s father, Willie, is a long-tenured resident of Houston. The former Woodlands and Westfield assistant, Dekaney head coach Spring ISD athletics director had previously watched his son win a ring at Super Bowl XLIX.
But Willie was at a loss of words when asked about what he had just watched his son accomplish on Sunday. “Unbelievable,” he texted Coleman in response.