Tom Brady memes swing from goat to GOAT in 2017 Super Bowl

The mood on social media moves from delirious happiness for the underdog Falcons to disbelief as the Patriots pull off the biggest comeback of all time.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

It was all about Tom Brady Sunday night at Super Bowl LI. First, the legendary quarterback was the big game's goat as his New England Patriots trailed 21-3 at halftime. But then, he changed from goat to possible GOAT (greatest of all time), as the Patriots mounted the biggest comeback in the history of the big game, winning 34-28 in overtime.

The mood on social media swung like a pendulum, as the first half was filled with Twitter taunts aimed at Brady, and then disbelief as the Atlanta Falcons crashed and burned.

Amazing comeback

The win was hard for some to take.

But whoever you were rooting for, the game kept fans glued to their viewing until the end.

Brady bunch

Really, underestimating Tom Brady is always a bad idea.

Dirty birds fly high

But in the first half, it was all Atlanta, and naturally, Pats' QB Brady came in for some social media satire.

And so did the lopsided score.

And coach Bill Belichick rated a mention or two.

Burning of Atlanta

But never count the Patriots out. Suddenly, in the fourth quarter, New England started to make a game out of it.

Although an amazing catch by the Falcons' Julio Jones lifted Atlanta fans' spirits, in the end, it wasn't enough.

Before the football game got underway, the musical guests drew some social-media attention.

Sisterhood singers

Three actresses from the original cast of Broadway's famed "Hamilton" musical, Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones, sang "America the Beautiful" before the game -- with one lyric twist.

The women, who play the Schuyler sisters, added in "and sisterhood" after the line "and crown thy good with brotherhood." Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of "Hamilton," was one of the many who commented on the addition.

Although not everyone loved the tweak.

And the cameras caught an image of Patriots coach Belichick looking less than thrilled after the song.

Country star Luke Bryan, who sang the national anthem before the game, grew up in Georgia, and it was always clear which team he was rooting for.


Former President George H.W. Bush may have been hospitalized less than a week ago, but Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush were well enough to come out to midfield, with the former president in a wheelchair, for the coin flip. The former president teased his appearance on Wednesday with a tweet featuring an eternally spinning coin.

And yes, a few movie fans spotted the "Inception" reference right away.

Fans reacted positively to the Bush family's appearance -- for some, it was the highlight of the night.

First published, Feb. 5, 5:22 p.m. PT.

Update, 7:43 p.m. PT: Added more memes following the Patriots' win.

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