As a longtime Atlanta Falcons fan, I knew what was going to happen in last year’s Super Bowl, because I know what happens in all really big games involving the Falcons.
This is what happens: The Falcons take a big lead, we get excited, the Falcons realize what’s happening and start playing not to lose instead of playing to win, and we get our hearts broken.
Of course, that’s what happened against the Patriots last year, but in much more dramatic fashion than even Falcons fans could have predicted.
I don’t want to revisit the whole debacle, but let’s just say I may have anticipated Atlanta blowing a 17-point lead in the last 25 minutes, but not a 25-point lead in the last 17 minutes.
But over the past year, I’ve come to terms with something: The only team that could have climbed out of a 25-point hole against the Falcons late in the third quarter of the Super Bowl was the New England Patriots.
Really, the Falcons weren’t bad in the fourth quarter as much as they were unlucky… to be facing the Patriots. How many times have the Belichick-Brady Patriots squeaked out a Super Bowl victory? Five times – which would be every time they’ve played in a Super Bowl that didn’t have Eli Manning on the opposing team.
Under a 25-point deficit, any other team would have folded like a standard-issue Army tent. So the Falcons were unlucky to be facing the Patriots. And I’d rather be unlucky than bad – I suppose.
Anyway, this time on Super Sunday, the Patriots face the Eagles, and as a Falcons fan, I already know what’s going to happen.
The Eagles will play their hearts out. They will probably take the lead, maybe even a big lead. Everybody will get excited. Not me. I know what’s going to happen at the very end.
The Eagles will be unlucky because they are playing the Patriots. They will lose.
I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.