Falcons’ flop a new low for Atlanta’s sad sporting history
HOUSTON — Well, Atlanta, there’s nothing left to say.
The city once known as “Loserville” was cruising toward its first Super Bowl championship, leading Tom Brady and the mighty New England Patriots by 25 points.
Back in Atlanta, the city was all ready to bust loose in a celebration like no other, seemingly assured of finally putting to rest its history of sports flops.
Then, it happened.
The greatest flop of them all.
This one will take a long, long time to get over.
“I’m kind of numb,” said Falcons safety Ricardo Allen, who might as well been speaking for an entire city. “I don’t really know what to feel. I’m broken inside, because this is not us. I’m kind of numb to the feeling, man. It’s terrible. It’s one of the worst feelings ever. I’m not a guy that forgets very easy. I’ll probably never forget this. It will always be haunting.”
Brady engineered a stunning comeback, leading the Patriots to a pair of touchdowns and a pair of 2-point conversions that sent the Super Bowl to overtime for the first time.
At that point, it was a mere formality.
The Patriots won the coin toss.
The Patriots drove right down the field for the championship-winning touchdown.
The final: New England 34, Atlanta 28.
Brady will long be remembered for his record-breaking performance, completing 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards, and this will certainly go down as one of the greatest title games in NFL history.
That’s little consolation to the Falcons.
“That’s a hard one in the locker room,” coach Dan Quinn said. “No place to put that one mentally for us. But I am proud of the fight these guys have. The brotherhood this group has built, it’s as strong as I’ve ever seen.”
In the A-T-L, this will join the Braves blowing a 6-0 lead in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series, the Hawks squandering a chance to eliminate Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in the 1988 NBA playoffs, and Danny White leading the Dallas Cowboys back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Falcons in a 1981 playoff game.
But, really, nothing comes close to this level of sporting disappointment.