Many Talented Teams Find SuperBowl For Them Is A Graveyard
Ken Pittman is a talk show host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9am-Noon. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
The 2013 Denver Broncos team might be the best example of a juggernaut NFL regular season teams who ended up crashing and burning like Steve Austin's spacecraft in the 'Six-Million Dollar Man', in Superbowls. Broncos QB Peyton Manning enjoyed his greatest single season which was also record breaking in many passing statistics. 5,477 yards, 55 TDs and only 10 Interceptions.
But that did not matter to the staunch, proud, arrogant defense of the Seattle Seahawks who ended up kicking the crap out of Denver 43-8. A hot mess was made out of one of the greatest performing offenses in NFL history.
Not to pick on the Broncos but John Elway and his 1987 Denver team were expected to trounce the Washington Redskins who were playing with journeyman QB Doug Williams. But the Redskins won Superbowl XVII only five years earlier and brought with them little more than their Superbowl swagger found in some veteran players. Washington won 42-10.
The Buffalo Bills from 1989 -1992 played lights out, the very best football every year, for four years...except in the Superbowl. The AFC powerhouse lost four straight Superbowls by a combined score of 139-73.
Nine days from now, the best offense in the NFL's 2016 season in the (13-5) Atlanta Falcons will take the field against a team that most Americans have been conditioned to be surprised not to see on the Superbowl field, the (16-2) New England Patriots. New England is sporting seven AFC Conference championships giving them berths to their seventh Superbowl since 2001.
The Falcons are fast, talented and possess one of the best Wide Receivers in Julio Jones, since Jerry Rice was on the field. When they take in the crowd, the press and listen to Country music superstar Luke Bryan perform the Star Spangled Banner at 6:18 pm on February 5th in Houston's NRG Stadium, Falcons players will be sneaking peeks across the field to look at the "all-world" Tom Brady and crew sure but they will also find the imposing presence of legendary coach Bill Belichick (201-71 Regular season with the Patriots, 24-9 in the playoffs with 4 Superbowl rings). New England has 'Dynasty' status for dominating the NFL over the last 17 years winning 74% of all their games.
Everyone knows they will not be intimidated or feel overwhelmed by the week long hoopla, media crush, stardom, press conferences, individual life stories aired out on international media and the VIP parties in Houston.
The Falcons have won just 1 playoff game since 2005, and 3 since Brady entered the league and have appeared in only 6 playoffs since 2001 and not since 2012 before this season. So there are not a lot of experienced post season players on this team.
We will see if the 2016 Atlanta Falcons rise as champions, or are the next of many buried in that graveyard of talented Superbowl teams, like those super talented Buffalo Bills of the 90s, the 2013 "unstoppable" Broncos or the 17-1 Falcons of 1998 who found the lights to be just a little too bright to perform as they did up to that point.