February 7, 2017
Last night, you could hear Falcons fans’ hearts breaking all over the world. In the 51st edition of the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons fought for their lives. And, up until the final quarter, they were dominating the New England Patriots.
A Falcons win seemed highly probable, and fans envisioned the team taking the Vince Lombardi Trophy home. Winning the championship game would have been a first for the team. Alas, things started to turn sour for the Falcons in the fourth quarter and the Patriots prevailed, winning 34-28.
Despite the devastating loss, however, let’s not forget how far they’ve come.
Entering the annual championship game, the Falcons were, without question, the ultimate underdogs and the Patriots were the “favourites.” It was the Falcons' second time ever making it to the Super Bowl; their first time occurred almost 20 years ago.
The New England Patriots, on the other hand, already won four Super Bowls and Tom Brady was voted AP NFL MVP twice. Despite experts betting against them all season long, the explosive Falcons did not cease to amaze.
Every game, their red-hot offense and Matt Ryan’s ability to spread the ball around helped propel them closer to victory. They gave us hope that the underdog could prosper. Even when the Patriots seemed like they were catching up, Julio Jones’ big catch gave Falcons fans a restored sense of hope.
The truth is, unless you are a diehard Patriots fan, why wouldn’t you root for the underdog? When you bet on them, and they win, it’s the best feeling in the world! But even if they lose, you kind of knew that it could happen all along. So when the Patriots won the coin toss, it seems like their fate was sealed.
When Ryan was voted the AP 2016 NFL’s MVP award on Saturday, some fans were already nervous about the potential outcome of the championship game. After all, for the past 16 years winning MVP seemed more like a curse than an honour. Since 2000, for example, no NFL MVP had won the Super Bowl. Even Brady wasn’t the regular-season MVP in any of his Super Bowl-winning seasons.
With Ryan winning MVP, but losing the Super Bowl in the same season, it appears that the curse lives on. Nevertheless, it’s clear that all season long Ryan had a special gift at recognizing key play opportunities and being aware of his surroundings. Is this gift something he was born with?
Perhaps, but Ryan credits NeuroTracker, a cognitive training tool, for enhancing his spatial awareness. He told the New York Times: “I use it all year-round. That’s key as a quarterback, to be able to see things and how they relate to each other quickly. I think that’s exactly what NeuroTracker helps you do.”
So while the Falcons did not win last night, the team still had a remarkable season. Standout performances from Ryan, wide receiver Jones and outside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr., prove that the team’s future still looks bright.
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