Scott Pioli has experienced the incredible joys of winning a Super Bowl and the frustration of losing a Super Bowl thanks to Tom Brady.
Pioli was a front office executive with the New England Patriots from 2000 until he left to join the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009. The Patriots won three Super Bowl titles in four appearances in Pioli's time in Foxboro, and he helped build the rosters that were so successful over that period.
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He also was an assistant general manager for the Atlanta Falcons from 2014 to 2019, and it was during this time he witnessed the best game of Brady's career. Unfortunately for the longtime NFL exec, it happened against his Falcons. We're of course talking about Super Bowl LI, where the Patriots miraculously pulled of a 34-28 comeback win in overtime after trailing 28-3 late in the third quarter.
Pioli made an appearance on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe" midday show Tuesday, and he told a great story about how high-ranking scouts and front office people from the Falcons were feeling quite confident at halftime with Atlanta leading, 21-3. Pioli, based on his many years watching and working with Brady, knew better than to celebrate too early. And he wasn't shy about letting his coworkers know that.
Listen to his Brady story in the video below:
Scott Pioli (@scottpioli51) on when he knew Tom Brady was the greatest ever: Super Bowl 51. Pioli was with the Falcons. And some staffers were celebrating at HALFTIME.
"That son of a gun on the other sideline wearing #12 is Freddy Kreuger and he's coming back!..." pic.twitter.com/ikhnhd7jHE— Dale & Keefe (@DaleKeefeWEEI) March 31, 2020
The joy on the Falcons sideline quickly evaporated as Brady led the Patriots on five consecutive scoring drives in arguably the greatest performance in Super Bowl history. The Falcons have yet to recover from this heartbreaking loss. After losing in the NFC Divisional Round the following the season, Atlanta has missed the playoffs in back-to-back years.
The Falcons scouts, execs and other employees who celebrated early got a painful reminder that, unless time has run out, you cannot let up at all when Brady is on the opposing team.