These are all feelings Falcons fans felt as they let the largest lead in Super Bowl history slip away from them. It is almost hard to write about it because it still stings. My stomach still turns every time I turn on the TV or log on to social media and see Tom Brady holding the Super Bowl trophy for an incredible 5th time.
Falcons players took to various forms of social media to thank the fans and express their remorse for letting one slip away for the entire city.
We came up short last night and my heart hurts for you Atlanta. Hats off to New England they… https://t.co/mIX4Tca7ni
— Matt Ryan (@M_Ryan02) February 6, 2017
— Taylor Gabriel (@TGdadon1) February 6, 2017
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 7, 2017
It is truly is amazing to see these Falcons players embrace the city of Atlanta, but they should not feel sorry. If anything thing we should be thanking you. Thank you for making this city believe again. Thank you for putting in the work, and in turn, putting on a show for the whole world to watch week in and week out. Thank you for bringing a city, regardless of stature, together. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to my first Super Bowl, and most importantly thanks for memories.
This game, this season, is just the beginning of the brotherhood. Over the last few weeks, much has been made of the brotherhood Dan Quinn has brought to the Falcons locker room. These guys will leave it all on the field for each other no matter what the circumstances. That can be seen by guys like Alex Mack and Ryan Schraeder gutting out serious injuries to not only avoid letting down their teammates but their brothers. But the brotherhood does not stop inside the walls of that locker room.
The brotherhood extends through the entire city. From you to me, to that guy you used to hate in middle school. We all bought into the idea of brotherhood as a city.
With that brotherhood came belief; belief that this Falcons team was the team of destiny, and the first three quarters of Sunday only enhanced that feeling. But then, Tom Brady happened. There are tons of plays the Falcons could have made or mistakes they could have avoided, but at the end of the day they were up against the greatest player to ever put on the pads. Giving that man Brady extra opportunities is always opening yourself up for a broken heart. And break our hearts he did.
What Brady did was spectacular. He never flustered, and orchestrated drive after drive to keep the Patriots hopes alive and ultimately complete the greatest comeback in NFL history. Atlanta had the Vince Lombardi trophy in their grasp, but like Richard Sherman said prior to the Super Bowl, “Tom Brady is a beast that is not easily slain”, and boy was he right.
In a way, Sunday’s Super Bowl was a microcosm for the Falcons’s entire 2015 season. Atlanta jumped out to a 5-0 start, where they were almost certainly bound for a playoff spot, only to collapse the rest of the way and finish the season with a 3-8 record. Nobody thought they would be back in 2016, not even I or the thousands of other sportswriters out there. Not a single person across any major network had the Falcons in the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season. However, the Falcons took those final 11 games of the 2015 season and they bounced back better than ever, earning their first Super Bowl trip since 1999.
Now, this final loss is going to sting much more than the final 11 games of last season, but these Atlanta Falcons are young and determined to bounce back once again. Several Falcons players like Deion Jones have already begun training for next season. Ricardo Allen in his postgame press conference stressed the fact that getting here is not nearly enough. There is only one goal on the Falcons minds, winning the Lombardi trophy.
The 2016 Falcons season was a truly incredible experience. No, it did not end the way it was supposed to but Dan Quinn has changed the culture not just in the locker room, but the entire city. This team brought in thousands of new dirty birds, who all may have experienced this type of heartbreak for the first time. But let me tell you something about heartbreak. Heartbreak is what makes being a fan worth it. Without heartbreak, winning would mean nothing. So do not let this one loss discourage you, but determine you to comeback. Comeback and cheer for this team louder than ever in 2017. Because if there is one thing I know about Dan Quinn and this group of guys: We will be back.
Rise Up forever!