The Atlanta Falcons‘ chances of sneaking into the playoffs were all but gone when they were battered by the Arizona Cardinals 27-13. To all Falcons fans around the country, it’s time to face the cold, hard facts. What was supposed to be a Super Bowl year instead turned out to be a catastrophic one.
The Falcons’ 2013 season is all but over and at this point, their motivation from here on out should be playing for their pride and respect in general. Fans will defend their team, stating that injuries were a huge reason to the decimation of a team that was predicted to be one of the best in the NFL heading into the 2013 campaign.
What fans won’t admit is that those injuries only exposed weaknesses that the Falcons have always had. The only reason the Falcons were able to hide these ginormous holes in their team was because of the superb plays of their skill players. As soon as the Falcons lost one or two key guys, it created a black hole as it eventually sucked the life out of a team that just could not overcome such adversity in the end.
What started out as minor injuries quickly turned into serious health concerns that was eclipsed when Julio Jones underwent season-ending foot injury after being knocked out of the New York Jets game. The Falcons experienced the domino effect as player after player was going down.
With a 2-5 record, the Falcons are currently third in the NFC South thanks to a winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that is surprisingly experiencing more issues than the Dirty Birds at the moment. In their latest loss, the Falcons’ chances of making it to the playoffs went from slight to almost zero, as they still have to play some of the top teams in the NFC.
At this point of the season with nine games remaining, including five possible playoff teams and the top two in the NFC today, the Falcons will be playing for their pride and emphasizing the team’s character rather than worrying about wins.
It’s hard to imagine that a team that was one play away from making it to the Super Bowl has hit an all-time low like the Falcons have, but they still have a bright future as fans will have to remain patient and wait for another year. With the defense unable to stop anybody and an offense that is severely limited by injuries, the Falcons will have to dig deep and find a way to go out the right way.
We are taught that winning isn’t everything, and that we will learn more about ourselves in defeat and become better. For the Falcons, they owe it to themselves and to their fans to go out the right way. They will have two options: compete and go down with a fight, or play with their heads down and already accepting defeat.
Nobody wants to lose, but losing a game where you give it your all will not only salvage this teams’ progress moving forward, but the Falcons will maintain their pride.
Its time to accept that their season is all but over, but that does not mean the Falcons have to go out as losers. Competing and playing hard in the darkest hours even when all hope is lost is how a true winner should act. Their record may show a losing season, but they will control in how they will go out.
Pride and respect are the two things the Falcons should be fighting for, and tough times like these will show whether or not the Falcons could ever be champions in the first place.