Heartbreak and the Atlanta Falcons have been synonymous over the years, and nothing epitomizes that more than 28-3 in Super Bowl 51. The Falcons were cruising to a victory in that Super Bowl before Tom Brady, and the Patriots pulled off an improbable comeback to beat Atlanta in OT. Those are the types of losses that you never get over.
Four years before the heartbreak in Super 51, Falcons fans dealt with another crushing defeat. This time in the NFC title game, at home, against the 49ers in 2013(2012 season). In that game, the Falcons, who had the best record(13-3) in the NFC, jumped out to a 17-0 lead and led 24-14 at halftime. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they would not score another point and would lose 28-24 to Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers.
Hall of Famer and former Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez remembers that game all so well and believes the 2012 Falcons gave him his best chance to win a Super Bowl.
“We were balanced,” Gonzalez recently said about the 2012 Falcons. “We had John Abraham on defense. Obviously, the offense was off the charts with me, Roddy(White), Julio(Jones), Matt(Ryan), Michael Turner in the backfield, and a really good offensive live. So, yeah, it was the best opportunity. We just came up a little short. ”
The 12-time Pro Bowler discussed some of the things that went wrong in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers.
“It was one of those things where that game could have went both ways,” Gonzalez said. “We were up 24-10(24-14) at halftime or something like that. I don’t think we scored after halftime and it isn’t because we weren’t moving the ball. We were moving the ball, but just bad luck. It’s really weird.
“I looked at the game one time, and one of the snaps went right through Matt’s(Ryan) hand. I remember Harry Douglas, we had this great call where he’s wide open, and he trips out of nowhere on his own feet, which he never does that. Roddy(White) is running a route one time, and he rounds it at the top, and he never rounds it. He always comes back. He’s an All-Pro receiver, and the ball gets intercepted. Harry(Douglas) catches the ball but falls down, and it would have been a touchdown right there, and all this kind of stuff happened in the second half. It was just a fluke.”
According to Gonzalez, who spent 17 years in the NFL, things were just not meant to be for the 2012 Falcons:
“The 49ers were supposed to be there,” he said. “That’s where we got Colin Kaepernick. Maybe it was all meant to be. That’s the way you gotta look at it and say, ‘hey, I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and I’m happy.'”
Before that 2012 season, Gonzalez had not won a playoff game, but 2012 marked the first time Gonzalez would win a game in the postseason, and while he did not win a Super Bowl, Gonzalez did get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last weekend, so fortunately for him, he will be immortalized forever.
However, for Falcons fans, the heartache continues.
Listen below as Gonzalez talks the 2012 Falcons: