Glimmer of Light

mr2

“We will adapt, we will overcome, we will rise up again.”

 

by Anthony Cooper

Sigh… Where to start? I barely watched the game tying drive or any of overtime. I had my head buried in my hands. I felt what you all felt… we had somehow found a way to blow the biggest lead in Super Bowl history. I had a slight jump when it looked like Beasley might come down with an endzone INT, but it was as brief as a classy moment from a Pats fan.

I walked outside quietly. There was no yelling… I broke nothing… I just sat alone on my back porch. MY family gave me space as we all began to feel our hearts break. It felt as though I had just got the call that a loved one had passed with no warning. I couldn’t even muster shock. It was one of the emptiest, heart wrenching feelings of my life.

I could not sleep at all. Replaying the last 10 minutes over and again in my head, I was inconsolable. To add to my misery, I was up at 4:30 am to fly to DC for work. All day in airports filled with TVs reliving our horror. Throngs on travelers all talking about the biggest choke in history. I avoided contact with everyone. Put my headphones on and tried to escape the world. Once I finally got in my rental and drove to the hotel, I broke down for the first time. 45 years old, having traveled the world, seen more than my share of hard times… I cried like I had lost my best friend.

I’m sure that many of you can empathize or even share worse renditions of your reactions. I feel for you all. But, then this morning I saw a slight glimmer of light. Matt Ryan posted on Instagram that fed to my Twitter a short note. A picture of him walking away with his hand raised, saying “We came up short last night and my heart hurts for you Atlanta. Hats off to New England they played a heck of a game. We will adapt, we will overcome, we will #RiseUp again.”

riseup2

What class! What an amazing post! Here I am feeling sorry for myself and wringing my hands like a child, and here he is the LEADER of my Brotherhood saying, he hurts for us. He would have been the Super Bowl MVP. Almost a guaranteed HOF spot with the win that he had earned. Yet, he chose to make his first post to basically apologize (something it took Mike Vick nearly 10 years to do).

It was at that moment that I started to heal.

Nothing will ever take away what happened a few days ago. We will always carry that with us. And we may never get back to the Super Bowl again in my lifetime. But let me share with you some things we will also carry with us…

We just went on the greatest ride in Falcons history. We started the season with yours truly predicting a 9-7 finish (while believing in my heart it was more likely to be 6-10). We had just come of an 8-8 campaign with a growing majority wanting to rid themselves of Matt Ryan. Yet we finished with 56 minutes of knowing we were about to hoist the Lombardi.

That’s right. For 59 minutes, we led the greatest dynasty in Football history. Remember that we never led for one second in the Super Bowl against Denver. Honestly, we never thought we had a chance. And with Eugene Robinson crushing us the night before, most of us started that game saying we were happy to be there.

But this Sunday, we had soundly beaten the Seahawks, destroyed the Pack and A-A- Ron, and for 56 glorious minutes had given the Dynasty of all football dynasties all they could handle. Matt Ryan had his highest completion percentage, QBR, and Y/A of the playoffs. That’s right… better than against the Pack or Hawks. 73% with 2 TD and no INT and a 144 QBR.

Yes, we can dissect all that went wrong in the second half… 5 sacks, not running from the 20 and taking a FG to salt the game, Freeman’s missed block, etc. But I urge you to let everyone in the media do that for you. Let the Saints’ fans, Pats’ fans, and other assholes remind you of the end.

But I want you to stop every once in a while, and remember how you felt. Remember how you felt when Alford jumped a route and left a diving Brady laying as he ran 82 yards for an incredible, improbably pick 6. Remember Grady Jarret (in his 2nd year) wreaking havoc on the Pats and sacking Brady 3 times. Remember Deion Jones stripping another runner to force a drive stopping fumble. And remember one of the most incredible throws and catches you will ever see in football. I figure Matt had no choice and just threw it up and that Julio did what Avatars do… but Matty Ice knows what he is doing almost all the time. That was the best throw I have ever seen him make.

Up until 2:38 left in the game, we had a 92.3% chance of winning the game. Now I know that stings. I feel it too. I know we were all so very disappointed and there is likely nothing anyone will ever say that will make that go away. But every time you hurt, remember this… It took the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history by the greatest QB and greatest HC of all time to beat your Falcons.

It may be little solace. But I smiled today for the first time remembering Alford’s run. I smiled remembering Matt’s incredible pass to Hooper for a TD. I smiled remembering Brady with HIS head in his hands on the sideline. No, we didn’t win it all… but I will be able to remember those moments too.

No other team in the league could have beaten us. It took the greatest dynasty of all time… Over Time… to miraculously beat our Birds.

I hope you will start to find peace with this game. I know it will always hurt, but I refuse to abandon my team. If Matt Ryan in what must be one of the toughest times in his life can reach out to my heart and not talk about his feelings… how can I not reach out to my team and put my feelings aside.

Support these guys. More than any team in Atlanta Sports history… I believe they earned it.

cagership

Cagership.

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1,311 thoughts on “Glimmer of Light

  1. Flo-Ri-Duh

    A link I had on here earlier stated that TD/DQ are looking to upgrade from Chris Chester “considerably”. That means UFA signing since there’s no guarantee Forrest Lamp (OG) will be on the board at #31 – and they probably won’t move up for him in the 1st Rd.
    Guys they are looking at aren’t cheap:
    #1) Kevin Zeitler, Bengals, age 26 and rated by PFF as the 7th best OG in the NFL. I do believe that Zeitler played on the Bengals’ team with Alex Mack a couple of years ago and that may influence his decision to go with the Falcons.
    #2) T.J. Lang (OG), Packers, age 30 – would be less expensive but not cheap and definitely an upgrade pass-blocking. He did have some injuries last year.
    #3) Ronald Leary, Cowboys, age 27 – was on the bench until La’El Collins went down with an injury. Was actually very good when he got his chance. Probably won’t get paid starters money by Cowboys and he wants to start. Leary will probably be the least expensive of these three.

    after the top 3 there is a cosniderable drop off in talent – maybe Larry Warford who has a lot of injuries.

    Reply
    1. Paddy O

      if you let Reed and Jackson go; you could possibly afford Zeitler. Lang is injury prone. Leary is not a top guy. Then, if Brantley and Lamp are both there (most draft pickers over rate OG’s in the draft); who do you select? If I’ve signed Zeitler, I go with Brantley.

      Reply
  2. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Let’s say the Falcons get their MOST immediate need (OG) in free agency. I still think they need another OG in the draft – looking forward to Levitres’ cap numbers (and age) in ’18. Maybe they go OG later – 3rd/4th Rd to groom for the future IF Lamp isn’t there at #31 – looks like he may not be.

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Can’t get likn to come up- 5 guys Falcons should draft: foxsports.com
      #5) Patrick DiMarco (FB)
      #4) Jared Cook (TE), Packers
      #3) Jabal Sheard (DE), Packers
      #2) Dontari Poe (DT), Chiefs
      #1) G.T. Lang (OG), Packers
      * Of these 5 : DiMarco & Sheard

      Reply
  3. John Waynesworld

    Realistically, free agency is the only play to replace Chester.

    We have a QB at the top of his game but with some age. He only has a handful of years left and RIGHT NOW needs the best protection the Falcons can give him, which is a technically-solid veteran Guard with an NFL resume. There won’t be any room on the O-Line for growing pains or inexperienced errors in the coming season. We have to keep Ryan protected equally or better than last season. Veteran help.

    The good news, as opposed to most other years, is that NFL Free Agents will likely want to come play for the Atlanta Falcons this coming season. We have a great shot to repeat a Super Bowl trip and that will attract many good players.

    Reply
    1. Chop Buster

      What are the Falcons not telling us about Schweitzer? He was drafted to replace one of the guards. No one is talking about his progress or lack of.

      Reply
      1. John Waynesworld

        Chop, this is the latest quote I found from Ledbetter….”Falcons coach Dan Quinn said guard Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer are potential NFL starters. Must improve in pass protection.”

        I know it was reported that Garland would get a tender (and that’s real value) so Wes better improve in Camp or he could be expendable. Don’t you know they will bring in some hungry UDFAs for O-Line competition.

        Reply
      2. Flo-Ri-Duh

        Chop – Schweitzer lacks the agility to start in the zone blocking scheme (my opinion). There’s a reason he went at the end of the draft.
        Doubt he makes the final 53…. practice sqaud maybe.

        Reply
          1. The Time is NOW

            My rule of thumb for late round draft picks, particularly OL: contribute by year three. Give your projects time to develop.

            I agree with JWW that free agency is the way to go to replace Chester. Schweitzer will most likely find himself competing with a rookie to be the heir apparent to Levitre. I think Garland, with his versatility, is the top backup at G in 17.

  4. John Waynesworld

    Run Forrest Run! 4.99 in his first 40.

    Being fast on top of the ongoing pub he has been getting for stuffing Bama’s D-Line…He may be a top 20 pick. Scouts are itching to put a solid 1st round grade on O-Line in this draft.

    Reply
    1. Hamad Meander

      I was hoping he would dog it so that he’d be available late second round……I really want Brantley first round and Lamp second. Ain’t going to happen, is it?

      Reply
      1. John Waynesworld

        LOL It seems like right now the “dog” is Leonard Fornette and his lousy 28.5″ vertical jump. He also said he would do every event at the Combine except bench press. Today he has already passed on the broad jump.

        Reply
        1. Flo-Ri-Duh

          Fournette showed up to heavy at 240 lb. – but 4.51 40 is very good for that weight. He doesn’t have to jump that high when he runs the ball so I don’t worry about his vertical.

          Another big RB Perrine ran a 4.66 40 at about the same weight.

          Reply
          1. John Waynesworld

            I always thought the vertical jump was also for measuring explosion from a dead stop, like the broad jump but a different angle. At least that’s why I thought the Offensive Linemen did the drill. They don’t usually jump either.

            In retrospect, I’m surprised that Weatherspoon didn’t hurt himself when he jumped 40 inches while weighing 240 lbs.

  5. Flo-Ri-Duh

    I’ve been looking at who ahead of the Falcons has a HIGH need for OG:
    4th Jags – not taking OG here
    17th ‘Skins – major needs on defense
    22nd ‘Phins – a couple of other needs with a higher priority here
    27th Chiefs – other needs take priority 1st Rd
    31st Falcons – DT, DE, LB may take priority over OG
    ** Bottom Line: Lamp could very well be there at #31 – BUT the Falcons could go defense!
    THAT’S WHY DQ/TD ARE LOOKING AT THE TOP UFA OG’s

    Reply
    1. Hamad Meander

      All things being equal, it would be hard to decide between Lamp and Brantley. With Lamp, you get a 10 year guard who looks to be an awesome addition to the offensive line and would play every down. With Brantley, you get a much needed young player at DT with quickness and size, but DT’s are more rotational. If I were GM and it got to 31, I would probably lean Brantley, not considering free agent additions…..because I feel the DT quality in the 1st round would be more impactful than a 1st round guard. I would only be mad if we don’t get a DT, DE, or OG in the first.

      Reply
  6. Flo-Ri-Duh

    As predicted in The Cage, Falcons put a 2nd Rd tender on Taylor Gabriel (WR) – basically a raise to $2.8 mill for 2017. Gabe made around $500,000 in 2016. Nice bonus! Ben Garland (OG/DT) will get a 3rd/4th Rd tender – not a done deal on him yet. (Leadbelly ajc.com)

    Reply

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