CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has watched Super Bowl 51 in its entirety three times.
“That was enough,” a laughing Ryan told Sporting News following a players-only workout Tuesday at the University of Miami. “It was probably one or two times too many.”
Unfortunately for Ryan and his teammates, more viewings of the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history are imminent.
Ryan knows that reviewing the Patriots' 34-28 overtime win is inevitable with the Falcons slated for a road rematch during the 2017 regular season. The date won’t be known until the NFL schedule is announced later this month.
From a Falcons standpoint, a trip to Foxboroughlater in the year could be more advantageous than playing the Patriots in Week 1.
At least that’s how one of Atlanta’s NFC South rivals felt after opening the 2016 season on the road for a Super Bowl 50 rematch.
Leading into that contest, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera publicly bemoaned the fact Carolina didn’t get a Week 1home game despite being NFC champion the previous season. Rivera also was unhappy about having one week to prepare his team after the preseason finale while dealing with the “mad scramble” of final roster cuts and setting the practice squad compared to the 10 or 11 days given to the NFL’s 30 other squads before their opening matchups.
Carolina then suffered another loss to Denver when kicker Graham Gano missed a last-minute field-goal attempt. Panthers safety Kurt Coleman said the sting of that defeat on the heels of losing to Denver in the Super Bowl set the stage for a 6-10 season.
“It was almost a hangover effect,” Coleman told co-host Gil Brandt and me earlier this year on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I know we didn’t want to talk about it at the beginning of the season because we were trying to press forward. But really, going from the Super Bowl in February and the first game even before the actual technical start of the NFL season was with the same team you just played, all you could think about was the same team you just played.
“I think for us, especially the way we lost that game in Denver, it kind of stuck with us. We weren’t able to put it in the rearview mirror.”
ESPN recently reported that a Falcons-Patriots opener was unlikely because of Rivera’s complaints about Carolina suffering a competitive disadvantage. Ryan, though, says it “doesn’t matter” when the Falcons play New England.
“It’s like any schedule, right?” Ryan said. “We don’t have a choice. We’ll play wherever (the NFL wants) us to go.
“I think whenever we get to that week we’ll do the same thing we’ve done the past couple of years: That’s try to make it as normal as possible week to week. That (Super Bowl video) will be part of our breakdown for sure, but it’s only one part. We’re going to have a few different guys, too, and so will they.”
By the time this week ends, Ryan and more than 40 of his Falcons teammates will have gathered in South Florida to get a head start on Atlanta’s official offseason workout program set to begin Monday at team headquarters. That’s when the process of leaving behind memories of losing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl will begin in earnest for the entire franchise.
“I think the more you dwell on it and you think about it too much, the more it lingers,” Ryan said. “It is what it is. We’ll move forward and learn from it.”
Even if it means having to take a step back when readying to face the Patriots.
Alex Marvez’s interview with Matt Ryan will appear Wednesday morning at sportingnews.com.Alex can be heard from 7-11 p.m. ET Tuesday through Thursday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.