With just over 23 minutes left in Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons were pulling off the impossible, leading Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 28-3. Patriots fans couldn’t watch while Falcons fans were getting ready to buy their t-shirts. But at that moment, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Brady, knew that the opposite sideline was celebrating too early. They decided it was time to flip the switch. New England went on to outscore the Falcons 31-0 throughout the rest of the game to win in overtime. Devastated, coach Dan Quinn, and MVP Matt Ryan, could not believe what just happened.
How Will The Atlanta Falcons Bounce Back?
As weeks passed, the 2017 off-season began and the Falcons were not making any big splashes. The rest of their division was, with Tampa Bay signing DeSean Jackson; New Orleans signing Adrian Peterson; and Carolina signing a number of players to help improve after their Super Bowl 50 hangover. The 2017 NFL Draft came along and Atlanta went with Takkarist McKinley, defensive end out of UCLA. A good addition to one of the weakest positions on their roster, but not enough.
With the emotional distress from blowing a 25-point lead on the biggest stage in sports, the Falcons are gonna need more than one new play maker. Players in the locker room will have that game in their thoughts all season. They know that if they were to score one more time; or would have stopped one of New England’s two-point conversions, they would be Super Bowl Champions. Instead their franchise stays without a championship and the Patriots are on top of the NFL. Atlanta needs to find a way to bounce back.
Super Bowl Hangover
The Super Bowl hangover is real, and it has haunted many teams over the past 51 years. For more recent history, let’s look at the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle was just as close as Atlanta to a Super Bowl, in fact, only one yard away. We all know what happened, Russell Wilson throws, intercepted by Malcolm Butler, and Brady gets his 4th ring. The Seahawks haven’t been to the Conference Championship since. Instead they’ve been eliminated in the Divisional Round by Carolina in 2016, and Atlanta in 2017. Lately rumors have spiked about how Richard Sherman has little trust with Pete Carroll and the offense leading to possible trades.
Then just this past season, Carolina went 6-10 after losing to Denver in Super Bowl 50. The season before they were dabbing on the whole league going 15-1. They dominated the NFC Playoffs. Cam Newton was the league MVP. But that hype train took a stop after their Super Bowl loss, and then went in reverse. Now, the Atlanta Falcons look to avoid the paths Seattle and Carolina went down.
However, there is good news for the Falcons organization. Although they did not add any big role players, they did not lose any of their key players that led them to the Super Bowl in the first place. Matt Ryan is still the reigning MVP. Julio Jones is still arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL. Vic Beasley led the NFL in sacks last year. Many more players that were big for Atlanta, stayed with the team, eyeing a Super Bowl win.
As we head into the 2017-2018 season, many NFL experts debate whether or not the Falcons will suffer a setback. So the question is, will Atlanta plummet after their Super Bowl choke, or will they regain their balance and head back to where they were with 23 minutes to go in Super Bowl LI.