The New England Patriots would not have won Super Bowl 51 without running back James White, who stepped up when they needed him. Find out how much that performance impacted his 2016 player grade.
The New England Patriots picked running back James White in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Patriots selected quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round that same year. You can argue that New England would not have won Super Bowl 51 without either player.
Garoppolo began the regular season as the starter and led the Pats to a 23-21 road win over the Arizona Cardinals in the opener. White had just one carry for four yards against the Cardinals in that game, but it is how he finished his third year that mattered the most.
White posted much better numbers as a receiver out of the backfield for New England overall. During the regular season, he had 60 catches for 551 yards and scored five touchdowns in that role. As a runner, he carried the ball 39 times for 166 yards with no scores.
However, in the biggest game and on the biggest stage, White was a star. He had a team-high 14 receptions for 110 yards in Super Bowl 51 versus the Atlanta Falcons and scored three touchdowns overall. His two-point conversion with 5:56 remaining in the fourth quarter pulled the Patriots to within 28-20. He later scored the last two touchdowns of the game, the first that enabled them to tie the game and the second was the game-winner.
White’s Super Bowl performance was certainly worthy of winning MVP honors. But Tom Brady stole the award from him with a Super Bowl-record 466 passing yards, also adding marks for pass attempts (62) and completions (43). Still, White set the record for most points by one player in a Super Bowl with 20 to earn an A grade.