It’s just been that kind of year. First, LeBron James sprinted the full length of the court and chased down a streaking Andre Iguodala for the weak-side block. Next, Kyrie Irving stepped back behind the arc to drain The Shot, take out the 73-9 Warriors, and deliver a championship to the hard-luck city of Cleveland after 52 long years. This October, the Chicago Cubs broke the curse of the Billy Goat and 108 seasons of misery, forcing the last out through an epic Game 7 in Cleveland.
For Clemson, in January, Deshaun Watson went over the top for 420 passing yards and three touchdowns to take the National Championship away from the Alabama Crimson Tide. Now, the Atlanta Falcons march into Houston to take on a long-running Patriots Dynasty making its seventh trip to the Super Bowl (nine total in franchise history) in 15 years, winning four.
For many, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick already established themselves as the greatest of all time at their respective crafts — to the point where winning another Super Bowl ring seems all but a formality. These Patriots are especially fired up in light of the Deflategate scandal and Roger Goodell doling out a four-game suspension to Brady.
On the opposing sideline is an Atlanta club that went 11-5 through the regular season, while repeatedly fielding questions as to whether or not they are actually for real. This Atlanta franchise made its one and only trip to the Big Game in 1999, taking a 34-19 beatdown from the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII.
After the Dirty Bird era, the Falcons were good for making the playoffs, getting popped in the mouth, laying down, and making way for the likes of the Harbaugh 49ers, Packers, and Seahawks to march right into the Super Bowl. Against this backdrop, it would make perfect sense for a Atlanta franchise to come out of nowhere and win Super Bowl 51. For the five following reasons, we expect this Big Game to continue the trend where down is up and up is down.
This is the year of the underdog.