Although two teams will take the field for Super Bowl LI on Sunday (2 p.m. ET, FOX and FOX Sports GO), one franchise is getting the bulk of the attention this week in Houston.
That’s to be expected, of course, with the New England Patriots playing in their seventh Super Bowl in the past 16 seasons — but overlook the Atlanta Falcons at your own peril. They have a fantastic coach, an impressive defense, and the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense thanks to a balanced passing and rushing attack.
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Moreover, the Falcons are listening to the same narratives we are ahead of Sunday’s big game, and Colin Cowherd thinks Atlanta could derive a fair bit of motivation from the “us against the world” atmosphere.
In fact, on Thursday’s episode of The Herd live from the site of Super Bowl LI, Colin compared this year’s NFL championship game to the 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC.
COLIN: You know, it’s really funny. I’m sitting here all week, and everybody’s talking about, “Wow, what happens if Tom Brady … ?” What happens if Tom Brady, that moment that he gets that trophy from Roger Goodell. And I’m thinking, the Atlanta Falcons are listening to that all week long.
You do realize we are insulting the Atlanta Falcons every time we say that? You do realize their players, after they have practice, go to hotels and turn on TVs and rest? And all week, Atlanta Falcons players are watching people like us say over and over, “That’s going to be so weird when Brady gets the trophy from Roger Goodell.”
If you don’t think that doesn’t reignite focus, you’re out of your mind. This reminds me of USC-Texas [in 2006], when everyone loved the Trojans and Pete Carroll. And all week long it was, “Can you imagine a three-peat for Pete Carroll?” And Texas players later acknowledged they sat in their hotel rooms for a week, hearing how great USC was.
We keep asking the question about Goodell and Brady. They’re only favored by three, and two coaches I talked to like Atlanta, one significantly.
If you’re looking for an Xs-and-Os reason to take Atlanta over New England, meanwhile, check out Cris Carter on the Make Me Smarter football podcast as he and Nick Wright discuss how the Falcons could be trouble for the Patriots on Sunday.