This time of year, every media site covering an NFL team is doing their multi-part series counting down the major issues the team has to address in training camp. And today Atlanta Journal Constitution has run the one and only article they’ll need to about the Falcons, because they are a team with one and only issue: How do they show their face in public once again, still carrying that Nurple Mark of Shame from the vast, historic Titty Twister the Patriots put on them six months ago?
So to that end, the AJC doesn’t need to waste time dissecting the Falcons’ young defense, their receiver corps or how far along their draftees are. They just need to talk to experts on deep, lasting, post-traumatic psychological damage:
Now, you sense that because the Falcons addressed the issue over the offseason that they want it to go away.
Sorry. That’s not how it works. …
There’s also that little fact about no losing Super Bowl team returning to the league’s big game since the 1993 Buffalo Bills returned to play in the Super Bowl in Jan. 1994.
“That’s an interesting one,” said Bob Harmison, the Kibler professor of sports psychology at James Madison. “One, anecdotally that we look at and say there has to be something to that. … It could be a part of, maybe a little bit of a hangover or it takes a lot emotionally to prepare yourself week, after week, after week to be at that level.” …
“It’s very simple,” said Howard Falco, a self-empowerment expert who’s worked with college and professional athletes. “You focus on the positive that you got there and you were ahead all the way through two and a half quarters.” …
“Then it doesn’t take much for the train to be derailed,” Harmison said. “You could get an injury here or a lucky play there, and you know that you’re not going to get back to that high level of performance.”
Holy schniekies. The Falcons have got their head coach handing out “EMBRACE THE SUCK” (copyright Dan Quinn, all rights reserved) shirts, Matt Ryan saying he refuses to talk about it, aside from that Gatorade commercial that cashes in on his own failure, and Devonta Freeman roaming among us, delusionally believing he was the Super Bowl MVP. Now even the experts can’t agree on how to recover from the trauma.
Seriously, just listen to these two sports psychologists, talking out of both sides of their mouths. It’s a terrible hangover and there is no cure but you’ve got to feel good about that 25-point lead you built before you blew it but if any one little thing goes wrong you’re fucked so bad your own families won’t be able to identify your remains. If the people who get PhD’s in this stuff and do it for a living can’t figure out how to bounce back from this, what chance does the coach who ordered Matty Ice to keep throwing the ball while in field goal range have?
And get a load of that stat. A Super Bowl loser hasn’t gotten back to the game the following season in 23 years. And that Bills team got blown out so bad, they called off the search for survivors. And not one of the 21 losers since ever suffered a humiliation like the Falcons did. I keep saying this, and I will again. Every time I read something out of Atlanta, I reduce their win total for 2017. And after this, I think I’ve got them at negative 2.
Remember, it’s still National Roger Goodell is a Clown Day. Buy some Comeback merchandise at 10 percent off.