Johnny from Newcastle, England

Suddenly, I don’t feel so bad about the 2014 NFC championship game. How do the Falcons recover from that?

They’ll recover the same way the Packers did, which is to say going back to work and doing what they did to get to where they were. It’s different for fans. They don’t have to shift gears immediately and begin preparing for the combine, doing player evaluations to prepare for roster moves, etc. Fans can only deal with the hurt of what happened. Coaches and players have to put this behind them and move forward or they’ll be left behind by the competition, which has already put 2016 behind it and has moved on to what’s ahead. I honestly believe that following a loss such as the one the Falcons suffered last night, being a fan is a more difficult job than being a coach or player.

Steve from Plainfield, WI

I can’t imagine how Falcons fans are feeling this morning. All I could think of was glad this is happening to the Falcons and not us. The big question this morning: How do you think the Packers would have done against the Patriots, had they made it to the Super Bowl?

You can’t imagine? Really? I can, and I won’t torture myself with the question you’re posing. My mindset to what I saw last night is this: Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. Only he has done what he did yesterday, and he did it under the brightest lights in all of sports. He is, in my opinion, incomparable.

Giuseppe from Parma, Italy

Vic, my hat is off to the Pats organization. Their flexible, pragmatic approach within the confines of the salary cap, etc., has set a new standard. It shows the value of respecting parameters, yet, being creative within those parameters. Sort of nothing ventured, nothing gained, as long as you stay within today’s limits. Makes certain other organizations’ rigid, by-the-book approach look dated.

The Patriots are the definitive team of the salary cap era, but they’ve had an advantage over every other team: They’ve had Tom Brady. They didn’t win before him. Will they win after him? The answer to that question will further define the Brady era.

Luke from La Crosse, WI

Previously, the last six times in the Super Bowl, when the No. 1 scoring offense has played the No. 1 scoring defense, the team with the No. 1 defense won. Now that number increases to six of the last seven. Interestingly enough, when the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, they had the second-ranked scoring defense and an eighth-ranked scoring offense.

OK, I guess, but very little about yesterday’s game makes me think about defense, and I could say the same about this postseason in general. Today’s league is about offense. I regard defensive stats in ways relative to offense. Did the quarterbacks play well? That’s always the No. 1 question. Yesterday, both quarterbacks were outstanding. The difference was crunch time. One took his game to a higher level in crunch time.

Pete from Holly Springs, NC

What the heck happened in the last 1.5 quarters and overtime of the Super Bowl?

Tom Brady happened.

Geert from Old Windsor, UK

Vic, what do you reckon the Falcons Insiders Inbox equivalent would look like this morning?

It would look similar to my inbox on January 19, 2015. There would be anger, hurt, frustration, finger-pointing, pleas for help, great despair, sleeplessness, hopelessness, forced hope and surrender. Football is America and America is football. This game is of critical importance to our emotional well-being. Only time can heal a broken heart. It healed us, but not completely. It’ll be the same for Falcons fans.

Doug from Eugene, OR

I thought we saw the NFL at its finest in this game. Tremendous skill, outstanding effort, exceptional individual performances and suspenseful ending. I feel like this will be long remembered in the annals of NFL history. Do you get that same sense?

We saw the new NFL at its best. The last team with the ball won. That’s the new NFL.

Vincent from Seattle, WA

Vic, Matt Ryan achieved a passer rating of 144.8, but his team still lost. Does this Super Bowl harken back to the fact football is the ultimate team sport? Everyone has to do their jobs in order to win.

That’s not the statement yesterday’s game made to me. The statement I get is yesterday’s game is Tom Brady’s greatest moment. I don’t know how many more of those a man of his age can be expected to produce. If this was the last, it will have been the greatest and it will have earned him the title of the same.

Nick from Seattle, WA

Vic, what are your thoughts on this year’s Hall of Fame class?

I like it. There will be pushback by some traditionalists on Jerry Jones, but I’m not one of them. Yeah, at times Jones hasn’t been leaguethink, but he’s pushed the revenue envelope in ways that have grown the game in a positive direction. Pro football would not be what it is today if it weren’t for Jones’ influence on it.

James from Walla Walla, WA

I get it that the Falcons choked when it mattered most, but the league seriously needs to look at its overtime rules. I feel like too many overtime postseason games are decided by a coin flip. A system in which each team gets a chance to possess the ball would make things a little more even. Thoughts?

The Falcons had plenty of opportunities to possess the football. Allowing 31 unanswered points and losing shouldn’t be blamed on the overtime rules. Frankly, under the current rules, I think the second team to have the ball in overtime can have an unfair advantage if it’s trailing by three points: There won’t be any punting, which effectively gives the offense an extra down.

Ben from Perth, Australia

Vic, what do you think was the moment in that Super Bowl that cost the Falcons the game?

I think it was the sack that put them out of field goal range. The Falcons got caught between wanting to run out the clock and trying to stay aggressive on offense. I think they needed one more run; one more pass play might’ve beat them.

Jay from Omaha, NE

If you covered the Falcons, what would you say to their fans today?

I would tell them to let the hurt wash over them as quickly as possible, so they can get it out of the way and begin focusing on what is a bright future. They have a strong roster of young players, and the franchise is moving into a magnificent new stadium. Dan Quinn is a coach for the future and the Falcons are a franchise of the same.

Nick from Asheville, NC

When will the NFL adopt the collegiate rules for overtime?

I don’t favor the collegiate overtime rules. They turn a 20-20 game into a 60-59 outcome. I think the NFL overtime rules are fine. If they are to be changed, the only change I would recommend is a full extra quarter, but I wouldn’t favor that format for the regular season because it would increase the players’ exposure to injury.

Deniz from Munich, Germany

So, prevent is clearly not the best way to play defense?

As I’ve written in the past, prevent is as much a state of mind as it is a scheme. I didn’t see a prevent strategy. The Falcons used pressure with four to build a 28-3 lead, but they didn’t get pressure with four during the Pats’ rally. Same strategy, different result. The only time I can remember seeing the Falcons blitz was on a key third-down play during the Pats’ rally, and Brady converted with a big pass completion from near his own goal line. Yesterday’s game wasn’t about strategy. It was clearly a case of player, not plays. Plays don’t beat Brady. Brady beats plays.


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