What happened on Sunday is not a dream.
The Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead in Super Bowl 51 vs. the New England Patriots and the 2016 season ends on a historic sour note. It was the first time in Super Bowl history and the fifth time in NFL history a team has come back from 25 points down to win.
Many Atlanta residents cried. Many Atlanta residents couldn’t sleep. And when Monday morning arrived, it seemed like one of the darkest days in the city’s history.
But does this mean the Falcons are a fraud? Does this mean the city of Atlanta is never going to have a parade on Peachtree Street for a championship celebration?
The one thing we all have to remember is the Falcons were not supposed to be playing in Super Bowl 51. The Falcons were supposed to go 5-11 and finish last in the NFC South. And many experts were convinced quarterback Matt Ryan was the fourth-best quarterback the Falcons division which only has four teams.
But the Falcons did not listen. They knew they would make some noise and they did in a major way by finishing 11-5, winning their first division title in four years and winning their first conference title in 18 years. And as for Ryan, well I think his 4,944 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, seven interceptions and 117.1 passer rating makes him a little bit better than the worst QB in the NFC South.
But it’s not what Falcons were able to do in the regular season that makes them poised to be a Super Bowl contender for the next four years. The fact the Falcons were able to beat the former Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in convincing fashion proved the Falcons are as legit as it gets. And even though the Falcons lost to the Pats in improbable fashion, they dominated that game for three and a half quarters.
Head coach Dan Quinn reminds me of KSU Owls head coach Brian Bohannon. Bot hmen are energetic, both have a plan and both love to coach.
But most importantly, both coaches have gotten teams to play their brand of football and they have improved each season. In Quinn’s first year, the Falcons finished with an 8-8 record. In Year 2, they w0n 13 regular season and playoff games and reached the Super Bowl. As for the Owls, Bohannon led the team to a 6-5 record in the program’s first year of existence. In 2016, the Owls finished with an 8-3 record and received nine votes in the final FCS rankings.
So as hard as it is now for Falcons fans, time heals on wounds and the Falcons did a lot more good than bad in 2016. There is no guarantee the Falcons will reach Super Bowl 52 in Minnesota next year, but like the Owls, the Falcons have a strong nucleus led by a talented quarterback and a great coach. So I have a feeling 2017 will be a very exciting year for the Owls and the Falcons.