NEW ORLEANS — “Embrace the Suck.”
Those provocative words apparently are meant to inspire the Atlanta Falcons as they attempt to rebound from their historic collapse against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI and prepare for Year 3 under coach Dan Quinn.
“Embrace the Suck.”
Quinn showed up at his team’s recent minicamp for rookies and first-year players wearing two black wristbands bearing those words and distributed similar wristbands to all present.
It should be known that Quinn has embraced this old military expression long before now. But in light of what happened Feb. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston, when the Falcons let certain victory slip through their collective talons, now seems as good a time as any for Quinn to introduce this vulgar quip to his football team.
The time has come for the Falcons to create an environment where the suck doesn’t suck anymore.
“Eat a crap sandwich with a smile,” said Quinn when asked to explain the meaning behind the words. “This is going to be hard. Your choice: It’s a victim’s mentality or a warrior mentality. It’s like, ‘I know this run is going to be long, and it’s going to be really hard. But here I go again.'”
This perhaps is Quinn’s unique way of getting the undivided attention of his players and a franchise still in shock from an improbable 34-28 loss to the Patriots after squandering a seemingly commanding 28-3 lead late in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI.
Quinn also is reminding the Falcons to focus on the future and not live in the past, which can be a natural occurrence for both the Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl runnerup year in and year out.
We often use the word “Hangover” to describe the residual effects both teams can suffer in the season following a Super Bowl appearance.
Coaches take painstaking steps with their Super Bowl teams to bury the past, no better example than in the 2010 offseason when Coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints literally had players bury significant memorabilia from their Super Bowl XLIV victory over Indianapolis outside their locker room at their practice facility on Airline Drive.
All that said, I seldom see the word “Hangover” associated with coach Bill Belichick and his Patriots who seem to be impervious to the human frailty that oftentimes plagues Super Bowl teams. Belichick simply implores his players to “Do Your Job.”
Years ago, the late Al Davis coined the slogan “Just Win, Baby!”
Quinn now says “Embrace the Suck.”
Different words, different times, same message.