The big debate on ESPN this week has been: Was that a great comeback or an unbelievable choke. While it may be a little bit of both, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Atlanta lost a game in which they were up 28-3 with 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. How does that even happen?? The amount of “what-ifs” in this game will haunt Atlanta fans, players, coaches, and everyone involved for years to come. The bitter taste will be especially terrible if the Falcons fail to make it back to the Super Bowl in the near future.
No Super Bowl loser has returned to the big game in the following year since the Buffalo Bills did it four straight years (1991-1994). It has been over 20 years since the Super Bowl loser has marched back to the big stage and with the high competition in the NFC it is hard to see that change next year. The Falcons are a great team but what they went through last Sunday is enough to tear down an entire franchise. That loss is crushing in so many ways and people in the organization will point fingers to who is responsible but it was a group effort to blow a 28-3 lead. Luckily for Atlanta, the man who may deserve the most blame, Kyle Shanahan, is on his way to San Francisco. Unfortunately for Atlanta, Shanahan may have been the biggest reason the team found so much success. On Tuesday, Steve Sarkisian was named the new offensive coordinator for the team. A man who coached one game as a coordinator for the University of Alabama, which was a loss in the National Championship. Who also was fired only 2 years ago from USC for giving a drunken speech at a booster event. So what could go wrong there? The Falcons have most of their starters returning for the 2017 season but that doesn’t guarantee success. The NFC still includes the power house organizations in the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, along with the young Dallas Cowboys causing havoc across the league. Many things can happen between now and the 2018 Super Bowl and the Atlanta Falcons can only hope they get another shot.
Photo via Keith Allison