Momentum

When suffering a big loss or being overwhelmed by life’s obstacles, changes, and problems, it can almost seem impossible or hopeless to win—but this is when putting up a fight and giving it your best effort can result in a major, “impossible,” come-from-behind victory that changes history.

I never saw this point so clearly made as at Super Bowl LI on February 5 between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.1 The Patriots were behind 28–3 during the third quarter, and no team had ever come back from more than ten points behind to win a Super Bowl, so it seemed like mission impossible with only one quarter to go. During the first half, the Falcons scored 28 points and it didn’t seem like they could do much wrong. It sure looked like it was going to be a complete disaster and a rout.

Then a few things happened that were momentum changers. The Falcons had the ball, and could have chosen to kick a field goal which would have extended their lead even further, but they ran a pass play instead. Their quarterback was tackled, putting them out of kicking range, and they had to punt the ball back to the other team.

From that point on, nothing could stop the Patriots, and they went 90 yards (82 m) to score, and then score again, and again, before tying the score in the last minute and finally winning in the first overtime in Super Bowl history.

There was a very specific point in the game when viewers could see the change taking place. The Falcons were very good, but once the Patriots came into their own, there was nothing the Falcons could do to stop them.

Life is like this. Sometimes we’re losing the battle of the mind, of initiative. We get discouraged. Nothing seems to go right, and we’re tempted to give up, but if we look at these losses as learning opportunities and go on the offensive, doing what we know is right, things can change and victories can come. Sometimes, a simple prayer is all it takes to switch the momentum back to our side.

  1. In the United States, the Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL).