GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sealver Siliga wrapped up his feelings in six simple words: “Super Bowl champs. We’re the best.”
Yes, the Copper Hills High alum can proudly state that following the New England Patriots’ 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.
So can Jordan Devey.
“Great feeling, unbelievable,” the American Fork native and former Snow College player said.
When cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a Russell Wilson pass in the end zone to seal the Patriots’ win with 20 seconds remaining, the reality of being a Super Bowl champ hit.
“I was a champion after that,” said Siliga, who admitted he began crying.
Siliga, the fourth-year pro, earned the start at defensive tackle alongside veteran Vince Wilfork in his first Super Bowl. He finished the night with four tackles, including an assisted tackle on his first Super Bowl play. Siliga, who also carved out a successful three-year career at the University of Utah, said the enormity of the game did not bring on any undue anxiety.
“I actually wasn’t that nervous,” he said. “It felt like a regular game, but you just knew there was only two teams left.”
New England needed to rally from 10 points down in the second half to make the final defensive stand a possibility. But Tom Brady, who played in his quarterback record sixth Super Bowl Sunday night, had been in situations like that before. In the AFC divisional playoffs this year, he twice led the Patriots back from 14-point deficits in an eventual win over Baltimore.
“Let Tom do work, that’s his job and there’s nobody else I would have at the helm than him,” said offensive tackle Devey, who was one of seven New England players declared inactive for the championship game. “When he had the ball back, you’ve got to believe in him. He’s done that so many times before.”
After Seattle took a 24-14 lead on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin with 4:54 left in the third quarter, Brady and the Patriot offense went to work and completed the largest second-half rally in Super Bowl history. It began with a Danny Amendola 4-yard touchdown catch with 7:55 to play, and the Patriots, who led 7-0 and 14-7 in the first half, retook the lead at 28-24 on a 3-yard Julian Edelman touchdown grab with 2:02 to play.
Brady ended the night with 328 passing yards, four touchdowns, the game MVP and a slew of records.
“You see why he does everything so successfully,” Devey, who started four games earlier this year, said of Brady. “He’s a great example for everyone in the locker room. He’s an incredible guy and an incredible teammate.”
Then the New England defense, which allowed Seattle to score 24 of the game’s 31 points during one stretch, had its chance to wrap up the victory. The Patriots' defense delivered, by the slimmest of margins.
Seattle drove to the New England 1 with 1:06 to play, aided largely by a juggling catch from Jermaine Kearse. After a 4-yard Marshawn Lynch run took the ball to the 1, Seattle chose to throw the ball on second and goal. The result was Butler’s game-clinching interception.
“Everybody did their job,” Siliga said. “We lost sight of that for a little while. At the end of the game, everybody just did their job.”
The rally ended the chance for a pair of former Utah State players, Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, to win their second straight titles. It also spoiled a star effort from the former Aggie middle linebacker Wagner, who finished with a game-high 12 tackles and a third-quarter interception. His pick, when he stepped in front of New England tight end Rob Gronkowski on a third and 9, led to Seattle’s final touchdown.
Turbin had a more quiet night, though his 19-yard run — his personal long in a Super Bowl — on the Seahawks’ final drive of the first half helped spark a quick touchdown drive.
The Seahawks’ loss also meant it was a second winless trip to the championship game for East High’s Will Tukuafu. Tukuafu started at fullback for Seattle Sunday night and earned spot play on the defensive line; he was also a part of the 49ers team that lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @brandonljudd