It was gut wrenching. Your heart sank. You couldn’t sleep. You didn’t sleep well. You thought about the “would haves” the “could haves,” but ultimately you knew there was nothing you could do. The decision had been made and it was one you weren’t ready for. Out of nowhere, everything changed just when you felt that everything was perfect. Being blindsided like that is never easy, but it’s something that we all have to go through and learn from.
What I just described was a relationship ending. That’s how you feel when your significant other is ready to move on and you’re stuck in their rear view mirror. You trusted them and they broke your heart. How will you ever trust again?
Falcons fans, your team cheated on you. They broke your heart in front of everyone, which just makes it worse. It’s one thing to lose to the Bucs in Week One or the Philadelphia Eagles right before your bye week, but it’s another thing completely to lose in the fashion they did on the world’s biggest stage. So when you feel like you just got dumped, you did. And it’s okay to hurt that way.
Some will laugh when I liken the relationship to you and your sports team to a relationship, but that’s exactly what it is. Some don’t like sports and others don’t like it as much as you and will never understand how waking up on Monday morning was one of the worst feelings of your life. They’re entitled to feel that way and you’re entitled to feel the way you do.
When you put so much energy into something, it’s going to hurt to watch it leave. Whether it be a relationship with a boy and a girl, a relationship with a car, or a relationship with your sports team. You’ve invested time watching the game, money buying their apparel and tickets, and energy by going through the ups and downs. The reward is the Super Bowl. You were engaged at that point. You worked hard and fought through some of the bad times and rejoiced during the good times. The Super Bowl was the reward and a championship, something that you and your team had been working towards, was the grandest of prizes. When the Falcons blew a 25-point lead, they left you at the altar. They left you with a sickening feeling in your stomach and you had to wake up the next morning and hear about it everywhere. You had to relive it and you will continue to do that until something else happens that can take you and your team away from the spotlight. Ask Golden State. Ask the Cleveland Indians. You at least have some company in your sadness, but it still doesn’t make it any easier.
The worst thing is how deflated you feel. It’s hard to get excited about any other Atlanta team. The Hawks? We know how that’s going to end? The Braves? They’re still a year or two away from the playoffs? The Falcons? Can you even trust them after this?
I can’t. Not now. And that’s okay.
My Falcons stuff is packed away in a box. Just like I do with all of my old relationship stuff, I don’t want to look at it. Not right now. It’s too hard. I don’t want to remember that Super Bowl. I don’t want to remember the lead and happiness because right now it’s all too sobering. A back-and-forth game where the Falcons lost would have been fine. A blowout loss would have been fine. A comeback that fell short would have been fine. A 25-point lead evaporated due to questionable play-calling and the NFL’s silly overtime rule is the worst way to lose.
Everyone deals with this differently. I’ll distract myself with other things. I have local baseball games to call and March Madness is just around the corner. Others will deal with it and move on. Some will never let it go. However you handle it and however, you feel is justified. A relationship was destroyed on Sunday night and it’s not hard to see why Atlanta fans of all teams have become jaded. I hope it changes, but right now I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to play Madden. I don’t want to see Falcons attire. I want to take some time to get over this and move on. When the Falcons come calling in August and September, I’ll be timid to jump back in. They’ll have to show they’ve changed. They’ll have to show that I can trust them again. Because right now I don’t.
Most of these words are spoken out of hurt. Sure there are plenty of things to look back on and be proud of, but the way it all ended makes it harder to see at this point. Just know you’re not alone. Plenty of Atlanta fans all throughout the state were with you Sunday night and they’ll be with you when you’re ready to trust your team again.
Sports is like a relationship. When you feel like this, it’s okay. Don’t be ashamed of it. Take the time you need and hopefully, you can regain that feeling again. As for me? It’s going to be hard to forgive the past until a Lombardi Trophy is brought to Atlanta.