Bolden recently wrapped his fifth NFL season with a Super Bowl title as a member of the New England Patriots. The Patriots rallied from a 25-point, second-half deficit against the Atlanta Falcons to claim Super Bowl 51 on Sunday.
And when he thinks back to what transpired — the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history — he has to pinch himself. The Patriots celebrated with a parade through downtown Boston, Mass., on Wednesday. Bolden, like his teammates, hasn’t come down from his high.
“I’ve still got to pinch myself in the morning and just be like, ‘Wow, you just won another Super Bowl,’” he said. “It’s been a crazy adventure, and there’s a lot of things I took from Ole Miss that’s contributed to my success to help these guys get to a Super Bowl and the playoffs every year.”
Bolden had a front-row seat to the heroics of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who can now stake claim to being, arguably, the greatest quarterback the NFL has ever seen. Brady now has five Super Bowl wins on his Hall of Fame resume, topping the previous record of four held by Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Joe Montana of the San Fransisco 49ers.
Brady set a Super Bowl record with 466 yards passing en route to his second MVP trophy. After Atlanta took a 28-3 lead with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter, Brady completed 26 of 33 pass attempts for 284 yards and two touchdowns — against zero interceptions — for a 122.7 quarterback rating.
Bolden said Brady’s back-to-back touchdown drives to tie the game and then win in overtime were expected on the sideline.
“Pretty much everybody on offense and defense knew what time it was,” he said. “When Tom has that ball in his hands, me personally, I think Tom likes a little pressure. To do what he did and have that much composure, that guy can make diamonds out of coal. I’ve seen him do amazing things in my five years here with him. There was no doubt in my mind that we were about to make something happen.
“Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T (greatest of all-time). He’s been the G.O.A.T. If there was any question, he just proved in this last game that he is the G.O.A.T.”
The Patriots’ historic comeback was a surprise to most every one of the 113.7 million viewers that tuned in. But Bolden said New England never lost its belief in ultimately securing victory, despite the daunting halftime score.
“We went into the locker room and (Patriots head coach) Bill (Belichick) said his part,” Bolden said. “But a few players got up and was just like, ‘We need to go back out there and have fun. We need to go out there and play for the guy next to us and push this game. We know this game’s going to be 60 minutes. So this next half we have to go play our game.’
“That’s what we went out there and did. We went out there and played for each other and you could tell that’s what it was. Guys were getting strip-sacks and the entire team was almost on the field. Guys were scoring touchdowns and the team was coming to join him on the field. Guys were playing for each other, and that’s what led us to start coming back. You could feel that presence. You could feel something was about to happen. We didn’t let the dam break. We got to that point to where the game could have been put away, but with the group of guys we have and the coaches we have, we’re not going to go out without a fight. And that’s what we did. We fought our ass off and we came back and won it.”
Bolden played for Ole Miss from 2008-2011 and finished his career ranked second in school history in both total touchdowns scored (33) and rushing touchdowns (27), third in all-purpose yards (3,681) and fourth in rushing yards (2,604).
As an impending free agent, his NFL future is currently unclear. He said he’ll consult with his family before coming to a decision on where he’ll play next, though he’d love to remain with the Patriots to defend their title.
Bolden’s Patriots teams have made the playoffs in each of his five seasons, including five-straight AFC Championship appearances.
“This is going to have to be a family effort,” he said. “I’m going to see how the whole family feels about everything and just see how it goes. Would love to be with the New England Patriots, but this is a business first and foremost. Just in case that doesn’t happen, we’ll see what the family thinks. I feel awesome. Hanging out with Tom, I feel like I can play as long as he has. But I don’t play quarterback, so that’s not going to happen.”
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