Sorry Atlanta fans. That. Was. Brutal. Losing a 25-point third quarter lead? To Tom Brady and the freakin’ Patriots, no less. I mean, ouch.
We don’t mean to rub it in. Take it from Toronto, we’ve been there. More than once, in fact. And sure, we may not know what it’s like to lose in the first overtime in Super Bowl history after leading for 99.9 per cent of the game. But we do know what a soul-crushing loss feels like. And we’re here for you.
So, from one hard-luck sports city to another, here’s a few suggestions for ways for Atlanta fans to process that gut-punch of an L. For whenever they’re ready to hear it.
Give It Time
Right now, Atlanta fans are probably feeling like this. (Or this.) And I totally get it. But you can’t expect to bounce back from a loss like that by the very next morning. That shit lingers. And getting over it takes time. Plan to go through the full five stages of sports grief: denial, anger, bargaining first round picks, cursing Tom Brady, and, finally, acceptance.
Take Comfort in Knowing the Rest of Us Hate This Too
I know right now it probably feels like the entire sports world is gushing over the Patriots. But at this point, rooting for New England is like rooting for the Empire in Star Wars. Is Belichick officially the greatest coach in NFL history? Yes, fine. Is Brady the best QB? I guess. Whatever. Watching the Pats methodically march down the field in OT last night was about as enjoyable as watching a car crash in slow motion. Because it meant we’ll never, ever hear the end of this from gloating Boston fans, the sorest of sore winners.
Put Things in Perspective
You’re not going to want to hear this, but despite what last year may have led you to believe, underdogs aren’t supposed to win it all. That’s why they’re underdogs. So yes, the Falcons had an all-time, video game offense, but their D has been the team’s Achilles heel all season long. The playoffs have a way of exposing flaws, and Atlanta’s simply showed back up at the worst possible time.
Find a Convenient Scapegoat
OK, screw perspective. It’s time to play the blame game. And this epic loss sure as hell isn’t going to fall on regular season MVP Matt Ryan and his 144.1 QB rating. Or Julio Jones and his toe-tapping circus catches. Luckily, outgoing offensive coordinator Kyle Shananan made this one easy by calling pass after WTF pass in the fourth quarter, when Atlanta could’ve just run the ball, controlled the clock and settled for field goals. Which means you’re well within your rights to chase the guy out of Georgia with torches and pitchforks. But if you believe in karma, just remember: he’s leaving to coach the 49ers. Maybe that’s already punishment enough.
Reflect On Happier Times
Yes. This sucks. (It really sucks.) But Atlanta fans shouldn’t let the way the season ended leave a sour taste in their mouths. Instead, it’s important to focus on the positives, wherever you can find them. Like the fact that Ryan may not have been able to beat Brady when it counted most, but at least he stopped Boston’s Golden Boy from capping off another “revenge” season with an MVP award. Or how scary good this team could be with a slightly better defense. And, uh, let’s see… Lady Gaga’s halftime show with the drones was kind of cool, right?
Remember You’re Not Alone
If misery loves company, let us remind you that there’s plenty of other fan bases who’ve been forced to watch in horror as big leads melted away before their eyes. Just ask the Warriors how it felt to blow a 3-1 series advantage. Or Cleveland. Yes, last night was a tough one to swallow. But to be a sports fan is to be part of one big support group. And we’ve all been there. Even Pats fans. (See: “Tyree, David.”)
Stay Off the Internet
This is probably the most important advice we can give: whatever you do, take a break from sports news for a couple days. Get off social media. Avoid that one Boston guy in your office. (You know the one.) Go for a walk. Remind yourself there’s more to life than sports. Like good weather and even better barbecue.
Start Looking Ahead
The football season is officially over, for better or worse (yeah, we know, it’s definitely worse). But it’s never healthy to dwell on the past. That’s why mankind invented more than one sport. The NBA All-Star Game’s coming up, and the Hawks are still in a playoff spot. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting soon (and the Braves’ farm system is stocked). We’re only two months away from the NFL draft. Try to turn the page and move on. It’s time to look ahead, not back.