The Patriots’ 283 diamonds aren’t trolling. They’re, alas, reality

Happy trails? Uh, no. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made reference via social media to the Atlanta Falcons and the numbers “28” and “3,” that was — as those on social media are wont to say — trolling. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter, who worked for the Falcons not long ago, apologized for his organization and said the Falcons were, after all, participants in the game every team aspires to reach.

When the New England Patriots announced their championship rings would bear “more than 280” diamonds — and subsequent reports put that number at exactly 283 — and would include the inscription, “Greatest Comeback Ever” … that wasn’t trolling. Those same Pats were, duh, participants in that very game. If you’re the Falcons (or a Falcons fan) and you’ve taken umbrage at that, you need to sit yourself down and have a little reality check.

The Patriots did in fact trail 28-3 with 17 minutes and seven seconds remaining in Super Bowl LI. They did in fact win the thing. The Falcons did in fact lose. If the Falcons are still sore about it, they have only themselves to blame. If they care to commission runner-up rings, they should bear these inscriptions:

“Run The Ball.”

“Don’t Get Sacked.”

“Kick The Field Goal.”

And this above all: “Never Again.”

Even as the Falcons insist they’ve moved past their Super stupor, we still wonder if that’s possible. That partial score — 28-3 — is already the most famous/infamous in Super Bowl annals. It’s the most famous/infamous score in Falcons history. If they don’t like it (and I’m sure they don’t), they need to put a happier score on the ol’ board, this time a final one. Toward that end …

Run the ball. Don’t get sacked. Kick the field goal. Never again.

Historical footnote: After Houston upset UCLA 71-69 in the Astrodome on Jan. 20, 1968, Sports Illustrated ran a cover photo of Elvin Hayes — who’d scored 39 of the Cougars’ 71 points — shooting a jump shot over the earthbound Lew Alcindor, who was coming off a scratched cornea and would score only 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting in his worst game as a collegian. Alcindor, later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, took the SI cover and taped it in his Pauley Pavilion locker, adding the words, “Never again.”

UCLA and Houston would meet in the Final Four, which wasn’t yet known as such, two months and two days later.  The Bruins won 101-69 in what is considered the greatest performance in the history of college hoops. Hayes was held to 10 points — UCLA assistant coach Jerry Norman suggested the Bruins play a diamond-and-one zone with Lynn Shackelford chasing the Big E — on 3-of-10 shooting. (Note the word “diamond.”)

I do believe the Falcons and Patriots are scheduled to meet on Oct. 22 in Foxborough. If you want any more inspiration, there you go.

Reader Comments 0

6 comments
GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

It all about accountability and the Falcons players and coaches should absolutely be proud of what they accomplished last season but should also be ticked for finding a way to blow an almost insurrmountable 4th qtr lead on the grandest stage in their sport. I'm sure everyone on the team is fully aware of the magnitude of what they lost and the embarrassment level of how they did it. In addition to disappointing Atlantans, they also let down a good percentage of the national audience who was hoping to see the Patriots lose. I'd expect this will lead to them receiving less than favorable comments all season from opposing players and fans across the country. Only thing they can do to silence the critics is to bring home a Lombardi trophy which I hope they do.

gwillia3
gwillia3

Why do so many people give the Patriots a pass on anything they do?  Of course it's trolling.  Gleeful, in your face trolling.

DutchDogg
DutchDogg

I agree with Mark here.  The falcons did, in fact, lose.  And, the falcons have, in fact, only one team to blame..... theirs.  However, with all the talk about the Falcons' collapse and the Patriots' win, I wonder, Mark Bradley, if any sportswriter out there is willing to examine the flip-side to the coin?  The falcons' demoralizing loss will do one of two things: 1) cast a "hangover" across the team's next season that causes loss of focus and loss of wins or; 2) it will serve as tremendous motivation for a team hellbent on taking back what it lost from a league equally hellbent on keeping it away from them.  However, (and here's where the term "flip-side" comes in) how have the Patriots handled this win?  It seems to this NFL fan that this win has been place above ALL others the Patriots have ever had.  Yes, this win has been celebrated more so than any of the Patriots previous Super Bowl wins.  As Mr. Bradley points out, this win is already more famous for its 3rd quarter score than its final score.  And, rather than celebrating the "win", itself, Tom Brady and his band of merrymen are only celebrating the "comeback" or the "deficit".  To suggest the Patriots now have a sense of entitlement would be silly.  For that sense has been with the Patriots and their fans ever since the Greatest Show on Turf went down on the mat and couldn't get back up.  No, now, what the Patriots have is called a sense of "invincibility".  They have lauded themselves over this win so much, one has to wonder, what else is there to accomplish?  What feat could possibly match this one?  Nick Saban always says the hardest coaching job he's ever had is convincing his team of what it takes to STAY on top of the mountain, rather than climb the mountain.  These Patriots have posted themselves all over twitter, facebook, instagram and the like, reveling in the the greatest of comebacks, the best superbowl victory ever!  So, I wonder when the sportswriters will write about their psyche and their upcoming season?  What happens when they need a comeback and come up short... against Pittsburgh?  Or the Jets?  Then what?  One thing is clear, the better team lost the super bowl due to the better offensive coordinator not being the better offensive coordinator on that day.  But, you won't tell Tom Brady that.  Or James White.  Or Julian Edelman.  No, those players believe they won the game because no matter what, no matter when, no matter where, the Patriots cannot lose the big game.  So ask yourself this.... who's more dangerous when standing on the edge of a steep cliff?  The guy who's not scared of falling because he feels he's invincible?  Or the guy who's depressed about having gotten too close to the edge before and fallen painfully?  Dan Quinn's got the latter.  Let's see what he does with it.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Even the Pats know their miracle comeback would have been impossible without the Falcon's miscues and poor coaching decisions. That's what makes it so special for them as the game was effectively out of reach late in the 3rd qtr until the Falcons did their usual thing and the Pats capitalized for the unthinkable win. Hard for us to understand since ATL teams have always been the chokers in these situations. Reference the 96' Braves who came home from NY with a 2-0 WS lead only to lose 4 straight and the series including blowing a large lead late in game 4. Their WS losing streak climbed to 8 games after getting swept in 99' and remains there today. Hopefully the Falcons' response next season will be better than what the Braves did.

slydawg
slydawg

Can't be inspired I'm the reverse MB... What's the point of getting revenge in a regular season game???? Best revenge is to crush opponents on the way to a Super Bowl victory, that has now gotten a lot harder because the field was weak last year.