But at the end of the night as New England topped Atlanta 34-28 in OT, the 36-year-old was just as confused as anyone -- a part of something that he's never seen in his 15 NFL seasons.
"Mind-boggling," Freeney told WXIN-TV in Indianapolis. "Mind-boggling. We had our opportunities. We basically shut 'em out in the first half. If we make just one more play in the second half, it's a different story."
He added: "It's tough to put into words just how bad you feel after a game like this. I've been on both sides, so I know."
But the perspective gained by age -- and winning and losing Super Bowls before this -- didn't seem like enough to help Freeney explain away what happened on Sunday. In a conversation with NFL Network's James Palmer, he was not quite ready to talk about the future and whether he would try to come back for a 16th NFL season.
He said the decision to return next season would not be emotional, but after Sunday how could it not be? Players with a mean competitive streak would keep coming back into their 40s to erase a memory like the one provided by the Patriots. Although sometimes, it's better to let the mind-boggling stay that way.