Blowing a lead has become the fashionable trend in sports over the past year. It started in the 2016 NBA Finals when the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s been eight months and people still make “Blew a 3-1 Lead” joke because teams keep blowing leads and the internet is a place where things never die. On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. The 3-1 jokes immediately popped up. But is 28-3 worse? TO THE TAPE!
Falcons: The Falcons went up 25 points with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter. The Patriots offense needed three touchdowns, a field goal, and a two-point conversion to tie (in the end, they needed two two-point conversions due to a missed extra point). The Patriots defense needed to concede zero points. The Falcons had a 98% chance to win the game. All they had to do was protect the football and milk the clock the a bit. Instead, they turned it over and tried to pass a lot while the defense failed to stop the latest Patriots receiver that they plucked from obscurity. There are 32 teams in the NFL. Some of them have been around for longer than most of us have been alive. Only five teams, prior to Sunday, in history have comeback from down 25 or more points. That includes regular season games. Blowing a 25-point lead in 23-minutes is so difficult that there’s not even a good analogy for it.
Warriors: The Warriors didn’t blow a single game like the Falcons did. They weren’t up 40 with 23-minutes left in Game 7. They blew three games. They had three chances, two of which were at home, to beat a team that they had already defeated three times, and they couldn’t get it done. A week earlier, the Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 3-1 lead against the Warriors, and nine teams prior to that rallied from a 3-1 deficit in NBA. So, while blowing a 3-1 lead is difficult, it happens slightly more frequently than blowing a 25-point lead.
Falcons: One game. The biggest game of the season. And it was over. They didn’t get two more chances to win the championship. They choked away a 25-point lead and that was the end of their season. But it gets worse. The Falcons may have had a chance if they won the overtime coin toss. But the Patriots won the toss and Tom Brady ensured that the best offense in the league didn’t get a chance in overtime. Not only did the Falcons blow a huge lead, they didn’t even get a chance to salvage things in overtime. The Falcons had never won a Super Bowl and Atlanta only has one major sports championship in their history. They have more Golden Globes than sports titles.
Warriors: They won the championship the previous year, and most of their fans have only been around for two years anyway. So, they couldn’t have been too upset.
Falcons: The Falcons weren’t the favorite. Despite their high powered offense, they were going up against the greatest coach of all-time, armed with the greatest quarterback. The Falcons were a very good team, but the Patriots were the best team in the league in the regular season and have been the best franchise in the league for the last 10+ years. They still should have won, but at least they lost to a pair of GOATs.
Warriors: They were best team in regular season history and had the first ever unanimous MVP at the helm. They were up against the second best player in history, but the Warriors were the superior team. They lost Draymond Green for one game, but had him for the other two, and had two games at home. The Warriors had a chance to go down as the greatest team of all-time. But they blew a 3-1 lead.
Falcons: The Julian Edelman catch will haunt Falcons fans forever. It should have been an interception, instead, it was the greatest catch in Super Bowl history, and it led to the Patriots game-tying touchdown. Matt Ryan’s fumble and every offensive play after The Julio Jones Catch won’t be fun to watch, but Edelman’s catch is the iconic moment that will have Falcons fans hating every single white receiver until the end of time.
Warriors: The Steph Curry behind the back pass to the front row became a fun joke, and Kyrie Irving’s three has worn out the replay machine, but LeBron’s block is a poster in the visiting locker room at Quicken Loans Arena. But only when the Warriors come to visit. It was not only a great in-game moment, it was a historic moment in pettiness.
Falcons: Uhhh. Too aggressive? Facing Belichick and Brady? Trump’s America?
Warriors: Steph totally wasn’t 100% and Draymond got suspended. Also, the games were fixed/rigged for money.
They both blew leads that should not have been blown.