After suffering perhaps the most devastating loss in Super Bowl history, the Atlanta Falcons entered 2017 with some uncertainty – at least from the outside looking in. Well, Sunday night’s win over Green Bay should put much of that to bed. The Falcons led 34-10 through three quarters and won 34-23.
But the pain of that Super Bowl loss hasn’t quite gone away. Not for the fans, anyway.
“I don’t know that it truly will ever be let go,” 92.9 The Game in Atlanta’s Knox Bardeen said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think some of the fans here in Atlanta are scarred to the core – and they will be to the day they die. That’s how bad it was.”
And yet, the Falcons (2-0) will go for 3-0 this Sunday at Detroit (1-0). It was a rocky offseason for Atlanta, but the Falcons haven’t folded.
“Once Dan Quinn got past it – and they got past it pretty quickly, they moved forward full speed – this team is definitely in 2017,” Bardeen said. “And tonight was a perfect example. They jumped out to a huge lead and then decided to kind of go into coast mode and slow down a little bit. They played some of their backups and Green Bay started creeping back in. Nobody freaked out. I mean, Twitter did, but nobody here in the building did, and Atlanta won the game.”
With upcoming games against Detroit, Buffalo, and Miami – the last two of which are at home – the Falcons could be 5-0 entering their Week 7 matchup with the Patriots (1-1). They’d also be coming off a bye week.
That Oct. 22 clash will not be “just another game.”
“This fan base is ready to go up to New England and do a number on them,” Bardeen said. “I think that’s going to be a litmus test right there. This game was a good one to say, ‘Hey, the Falcons are past that Super Bowl hangover. It’s not really real.’ If the Falcons can go up and do something good against New England, I think you can put most of that behind you.”
But if the Falcons lose that game, it would undoubtedly bring back a lot of painful memories.
“Absolutely,” Bardeen said. “If the Falcons were to lose a lead in that game . . . it would be devastating.”