Perhaps Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said it best in a postgame press conference: “There are no words.”
A football team that had the Southeast’s capital city united behind them — and cheering them toward sports glory like Atlanta’s never known — stumbled tragically on the biggest stage. In the wake of Super Bowl LI, some people had plenty of words:
“... the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history,” from the Denver Post.
“One of the biggest choke jobs in sports history ...” declared CBS Sports.
“It was an epic, historic collapse that will never be forgotten,” from ESPN.
The pill is especially sour when what sounds like hyperbole is probably true. After almost 170 combined professional sports seasons, Atlanta still has — unbelievably — a single championship, from baseball in the mid-1990s.
But this year’s Falcons, who’ll have the consolation prize of what’s been called the country’s best NFL stadium next year, succeeded in transcending the gridiron and boosting this city’s civic pride in divisive times—even if the feeling was fleeting.
In hopes it’ll be cathartic, we’ve complied a poll below to let Atlantans vent their feelings on this gloomy day. Maybe on some brighter day this century, we’ll get that Peachtree parade.