A come-from-behind win never fails to excite. Against impossible odds, the juggernaut holding his enemy by the throat, a thrill always sends goosebumps down your body to watch the underdogs attain their hard-fought victory.
So it was when the New England Patriots conquered the Atlanta Falcons in perhaps the greatest come-from-behind win in Super Bowl history. In a stunning reversal, the Patriots -- now the winningest team in NFL history -- launched a counter-offense that the game of football will remember for all time, at least until the next greatest proves themselves on the field.
That the Patriots won in this era of American uncertainty is a matter of cosmic irony. With the Trump Administration now firmly in control of America's destiny, it seems as though the universe is playing a colossal prank on the American people: sure, we put on a great show, but it's only to distract us from the larger issues at play.
Indeed, even on Super Bowl Sunday, an American holiday rivaled only by Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's getting harder and harder to ignore the decay of our world. On this day, a day when New England and much of this country celebrated perhaps the greatest game of our national pastime ever played, news came forth that the Arctic is locked in a desperate battle of survival, no different than the Patriots looked at the start of the fourth quarter.
The truth is, we as a nation have found ourselves with our backs against the wall. The Trump Administration denies the existence of climate change, yet the Arctic ice sheet is trapped in a death spiral. Floods are more frequent, global temperatures highest in human history, and record-breaking anomalies continue to spike, despite the clear evidence that greenhouse gases are to blame. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has doubled down on fossil fuels, approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines against popular opinion, which overwhelmingly supports the development of clean energy infrastructure in place of the dirty fuels that are killing our planet.
This would be like Bill Bellichek of the New England Patriots giving the okay to letting the Falcons use performance enhancing drugs, ceding them the upper hand in the fight for the most historic win ever attempted. What kind of coach would support such a ludicrous proposition? Not a sane one, that's for sure.
Once upon a time, being a Patriot meant fighting for freedom. It meant striving for the possibility that our children will not suffocate under the oppression of evil. It meant fighting for the good in the world, to do the right thing, to leave behind a legacy worth protecting. That's what it means to be a Patriot. It's no coincidence that the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2002, the first NFL championship game following the horror of 9/11. It was a time when all of us were Patriots, when we as a country came together in the face of a common threat.
Climate change represents the antithesis of the ideal of freedom, the threat we must withstand, its menacing sea level rise fighting for yard after yard after yard of our territory. To let carbon emissions pollute our atmosphere is to condemn the future to a lifetime of misery, a world of megadroughts, hurricanes, and punishing heat waves. It's a future incompatible with our conception of liberty, a future that will kill our children in their cradles.
Fifteen years after that first Super Bowl win for the Patriots, America faces such a crisis again, only this time, it isn't for the soul of our country; it's for the soul of humanity. Despite the intentions of our current government, climate change represents a threat we can overcome, a game we can win. The odds are long, the opposing team well-armed, but as long as we keep fighting, there will always be a chance.
Climate change is an opposition beyond compare. It has the best defense ever assembled, the best offense to ever play. It is ourselves: our own failure of foresight, playing out before our eyes. The human race now stands on a gridiron, ready to face the enemy of our own creation. It's time to play ball.
America is responsible for an unsettling degree of the carbon emissions that have sent us down the path of dangerous climate change. Thanks to our hydraulic fracturing and coal burning, it's our fault there's so much carbon in our atmosphere. We supercharged our foe in a way we never thought we would. But that doesn't mean we won't yet make up for our mistakes.
It's true that the Patriots were down 25 points with three minutes left in the third quarter, but that didn't stop them from pulling off the greatest win in all 51 Super Bowls. They never gave up hope, never stopped fighting for victory. Despite our disadvantages thus far, we still have a chance for greatness.
Yes, the clock is ticking. Yes, the wind isn't blowing in our favor. Yes, the federal government would rather divide our people than unite them in common purpose. But this is no time to back down. Just last month, a wind turbine set a record for the most megawatts ever generated by clean energy. Solar continues to drop in price against dirty fuels. The majority of the American populace would rather see the government invest in a sustainable future. The tide is clearly about to turn.
And just as the Patriots pulled off an unbelievable win against previously impossible odds with mere minutes to spare, so too will the Patriots of today take up the fight to halt the encroaching opposition who wishes to defeat us. So too will Americans everywhere strive for the favorable outcome, the just outcome, the one that will secure our noble legacy for all time. As Patriots, we cannot be marred by our past oversights, and we cannot let them define us. We will stand up to those who challenge us, and prove that, despite our mistakes and our occasional misdirection, we will be triumphant.
It's time for all Americans everywhere to commit themselves to the ideals of Patriotism, not just to secure our freedom, but for the freedom of our kids and our grandkids for a hundred generations. It's time we absolve ourselves of the misfortunes of our carbon economy. We must throw ourselves into the grand struggle, to building a legacy that reaches far beyond ourselves, one that history will remember as the greatest game ever played. Everyone is watching.
Yes, it's the fourth quarter. Yes, we're down and almost out. And yes, we can still pull this off. It isn't over till it's over.
It's time to be great. It's time to come from behind. It's time to end climate change, now and forever.
Kirsch is an editor for The Millennial Times.