Behind a stellar performance by quarterback Tom Brady and a crucial defensive play with less than a minute remaining, the New England Patriots captured their fourth Super Bowl title in a thrilling victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium, 28-24. The dramatic final moments of the game prompted widespread reaction on social media.
Super Bowl XLIX generated 28.4 million posts on Twitter during the broadcast, a sharp rise from the 24.9 million posts from the 2014 Super Bowl, according to Twitter's estimates.
A key moment for social media occurred within the final minute of the game, with Patriots safety Malcolm Butler’s goal-line interception with 20 seconds remaining. New England was leading 28-24, but Seattle was threatening to score. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass instead of handing off to bruising running back Marshawn Lynch. Butler was able to cut in front of receiver Ricardo Lockette to prevent the Seahawks from taking the lead.
With one timeout left and just one yard to score, many experts and viewers expected a running play from Seattle. The controversial play choice and resulting interception sparked users to send out 395,000 tweets per minute, the highest rate of the night. The buzz continued through the conclusion of the game, as users sent out 379,000 tweets per minute when the Patriots officially won the title.
Though the 2015 Super Bowl was a hit on Twitter, it is not the most tweeted sports event in history. That honor goes to a semifinal matchup between Germany and Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, which garnered 35.6 million tweets. Germany shocked many by thumping the host nation 7-1.
New England head coach Bill Belichick and Brady have been a part of all four Patriots championships, dating back to their first title in 2002. Brady also earned his third Super Bowl MVP award with a 328-yard, four-touchdown passing effort. Twitter was full of congratulations for Brady, 37, and Belichick. There was also a good amount of shock when the game-changing interception occurred, a quick shift from the excitement of receiver Jermaine Kearse's circus catch that happened just two plays earlier.
Coaches, players, sportswriters and fans all got involved in the social media action, commenting on the Pats' win and the Seahawks' play call.
Here's a collection of some memorable tweets.
Reactions to Patriots win:
Sebastian Vollmer -- Patriots right tackle
Vollmer sent out a memorable picture of the Patriots after the thrilling win.
So proud of my guys!!!! pic.twitter.com/JwYkwxibWF
â€” Sebastian Vollmer (@SebVollmer) February 2, 2015
Jim Brown -- former Cleveland Brown running back and member of football Hall of Fame
Brown sent a congratulatory picture to New England coach Bill Belichick and the rest of the team. Brown later tweeted that he watched the game from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suite, along with a picture of himself and Condoleezza Rice.
Congratulations to Coach Belichick and the entire New England Patriots team and family. pic.twitter.com/8JuEGa85Or
â€” Jim Brown (@JimBrownNFL32) February 2, 2015
Kobe Bryant -- Los Angeles Laker, NBA star
Bryant tweeted his respects to the “genius” Belichick and Brady, using the hashtag #GOAT (greatest of all time).
â€” Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 2, 2015
Richard Sherman -- Seahawks cornerback
Sherman sent out a thankful and respectful tweet after the Seattle loss.
Thank you God for giving us the opportunity.... That's all you can ask for....Thank you everyone for the support all year
â€” Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 2, 2015
Julian Edelman -- Patriots wide receiver
Edelman, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Brady, tweeted a simple message.
â€” Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) February 2, 2015
Reactions to interception and play call
Gerald McCoy -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle
The Pro Bowler tweeted the ball should have been put in the hands of Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch.
Marshawn Lynch, Marshawn Lynch Marshawn Lynch, Marshawn Lynch!! Why have beast mode if you not gonna use him with 1/2 a yard !?! Baddd call.
â€” Gerald McCoy (@Geraldini93) February 2, 2015
Jonathan Stewart -- Carolina Panthers running back
Stewart seemed to agree with McCoy, although less excitedly.
Wow why not let @MoneyLynch win the game
â€” Jonathan Stewart (@Jonathanstewar1) February 2, 2015
Brian Dawkins -- former Philadelphia Eagles safety
Dawkins made reference to a baseball legend to make his point about the Seattle play call.
Was that like.. Bottom of the 9th. Down by a run.. One man on. 1 out & u send the bunt signal in to the Babe? My bad.. To far huh :)
â€” Brian Dawkins (@BrianDawkins) February 2, 2015
Vontae Davis -- Indianapolis Colts cornerback
Davis, who just lost to the Pats in the AFC Championship game, commented on the game as a whole and the interception.
Great game by both organizations. Still a little lost on the goal line though #SB49
â€” Vontae Davis (@vontaedavis) February 2, 2015
Frank Caliendo -- ESPN personality, comedian and impressionist
The popular sports impressionist and comedian summed up the night by poking fun at Belichick’s gruffness and common refrain, “We’re on to next week.”
"We're on to Disneyworld" - Bill Belichick voice.
â€” Frank Caliendo (@FrankCaliendo) February 2, 2015