By Larry Fine
(Reuters) - There was heartache in Seattle for Seahawks fans crushed by the last-minute turn of fortune in a bitter Super Bowl loss to the Patriots on Sunday -- a feeling well understood in New England.
As the legacies of quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick are debated after a fourth Super Bowl crown together with a 28-24 win in Arizona, the two could be 6-0 in Super Bowls save for a pair of miracle plays.
"We’ve had a couple of tough losses in this game," Brady said. "This one came down to the end and this time we made the plays."
Seattle was one yard away from a game-winning touchdown when undrafted safety Malcolm Butler's goal-line interception with 20 seconds left preserved the Pats' victory.
"It was just an incredible play. A championship play," said Brady.
Turnabout is fair play, though that seems awkward when applied to the Patriots, who were heavily punished in 2007 in Spygate for videotaping an opponent's signals, and are now being investigated over using under-inflated balls.
Seven years ago on the same Arizona gridiron, the Pats' quest for a perfect season was denied with the help of a flabbergasting catch by back-up David Tyree that fueled a game-winning fourth-quarter drive by the longshot New York Giants.
Tyree made the "Helmet Catch" as quarterback Eli Manning bounced off pass rushers, heaved the ball downfield and a leaping Tyree pinned it against his helmet and kept the ball there, off the ground, as he was tackled.
Four years later, the Giants ambushed them again with another comeback late in the fourth quarter.
On first down from their 12, Manning arced a long pass down the left sideline to Mario Manningham, who was inches from stepping out of bounds, that sent the Giants on their way.
Brady and Belichick's Super Bowl appearances have come over a span of 14 years, drawing comparisons to the San Francisco 49ers, who won five Super Bowls, with quarterback Joe Montana winning four and Steve Young the fifth. Coach Bill Walsh won the first three titles and George Seifert the last two.
Seattle's late bid for victory was set up by an amazing, juggling catch by Jermaine Kearse on his back.
"I thought it was incomplete and then he ended up with the ball," Belichick said. "It was a tremendous catch, great concentration... kind of like two other ones I’ve seen."
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry)