James White reveals his mindset before scoring the game-winning TD in Super Bowl LI


James White famously scored the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl LI, just stretching past the goal line on a toss to the right.

It was an act of pure determination and grit.

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White spoke about his mindset before Josh McDaniels called that fateful play at his retirement ceremony Tuesday. To put it simply, he was gassed.

“Well, I was extremely exhausted,” said White. ““The play before, I jogged off the field and LeGarrette Blount was coming on the field, I was like, ‘Bro just please score. I’m ready for this thing to be over with.’

“When Josh called a toss, I was like ‘I’ve got to get in the end zone. I’m extremely exhausted. I’m ready for this to be over with already.”

Besides Tom Brady, White was arguably the Patriots’ best player during their historic comeback. He finished with 139 yards from scrimmage — 29 rushing, 110 receiving — and three touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

White was inactive when the Patriots took on the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, watching New England’s incredible victory from a luxury box. When the Patriots returned to the big game two years later, he was ready for his opportunity.

“I said if I ever got the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl, I’m going to do whatever I can to help my team win,” said White. “Somehow we ended up in the Super Bowl two years later, and I had my opportunity.”

Bill Belichick was effusive in his praise of the 2014 fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin, who developed into one of Brady’s favorite targets.

“Weren’t big, weren’t fast, didn’t jump high, etc.,” said Belichick. “But what those numbers don’t measure is intelligence, toughness, heart, teammate, dependability and longevity. And that overrode all of whatever the other ones were, great hands, great quickness, great instincts for the game, played your best games at the biggest times.”

That’s for sure. White was a lynchpin during the second wave of the dynasty. A plaque in the Patriots’ Hall of Fame could be next.