Written by: Shane Shoemaker
February 5, 2017, will be a day that the Falcons won’t be able to escape for a very long time, if ever.
And rightfully so.
No other team has ever given up that large of a lead with that amount of time remaining and lost the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, if you’re a Falcons fan like myself, that’s one that will be hung over you and your teams head for the end of days.
Falcon fans were blowing up Twitter on Sunday night during the nationally televised game on NBC where the Falcons opened up their new billion dollar home against the Packers. But they weren’t sending out tweets because of the Dirty Bird’s performance. It was because of the constant commentating from Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth about the Falcons’ collapse in the Super Bowl.
There’s no such thing as bad press they say. I think that’s debatable to some degree.
The Falcons are now a known team in the league, a team that’s apt to draw decent ratings, draw fan interest. (They have five primetime games this year.) The Falcons have a narrative now, an identity. But that narrative, that identity, is the team the blew the biggest lead in Super Bowl history.
That’s an identity I’m sure not any team would choose to have.
So, with that being said, if you’re wanting commentators, opposing fans or networks to give up talking about this — you should probably pick another team or stop watching altogether.
(Of course, you could start a protest to make people stop talking about it. Those seem to work.)
It’s not enough every game for commentators to talk about if a defense is in press coverage or, as Collinsworth said 478 times during Sunday nights game, how the nitro defense was working for the Packers. Television requires storytelling, and while the games are entertaining, it’s the job of the commentators to get the presentation on the field over even more. NBC, FOX and ESPN aren’t airing local high school games and announcing Friday night football. These are professionals garnered with the task to get the presentation, the NFL, and their own network over in the best way possible. It’s more than just about football, it’s a television show.
So why hammer the Super Bowl storyline into the ground? One, its relative to the team on the field (if it’s the Falcons or Patriots); and two, it’s still a relevant story.
This story can literally carry on for years, decades even. For instance, if the Bills make it to the Super Bowl this year (highly unlikely), do you not think the first thing brought up will be their four straight Super Bowl losses from the 1990s? That’s their history, at least maybe the biggest part of it. Same goes for the Falcons, a team that literally has no significant history.
And that’s the part that’s even scarier.
Let’s say that the Falcons do make it to the Super Bowl this season, and let’s even go as far as saying they play the Patriots, and, going further, let’s say they defeat them and win their first Super Bowl title.
I’m still not sure it’s enough to change their identity that’s been given after the collapse in SB 51. And that’s not an identity of team or management, nothing to do with offensive or defensive scheme, that’s historical identity.
Go through all of your NFL teams and they have historical identity. Patriots: Brady, Belichick, dynasty. Steelers: steel curtain, most won Super Bowl’s. Browns: can’t find a quarterback, losers. Dolphins: only undefeated season, Shula, Marino.
For the most part, they all have some sort of historical identity, how fans associate them.
Something like what happened back in February to the Falcons is the equivalent to the Solar Eclipse — it rarely happens, and when it does, you’ll always remember where you were when it happened and revert back to it. In the Falcons case, it was harder to “accomplish” what they did in the Super Bowl in how they lost it compared to the difficulty it usually takes winning it.
That is disgustingly impressive.
I think the Falcons would have to pull off a roaring dynasty, winning the next three Super Bowl’s to even come close to having people forget what they did at SB 51 to change their identity.