The National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons have beat out basketball’s Golden State Warriors and baseball’s Cleveland Indians for the most historic collapse in professional sports after losing in last weekend’s Super Bowl LI.
After being ahead of the New England Patriots by 25 points, the Falcons quickly fell apart as the Patriots came back to win in what ended up being their largest margin of victory out of all of New England’s five Super Bowl wins.
In fact, when the Falcons were winning by just eight points with under five minutes left to play, they had a 96 percent chance to win the game, and yet somehow still managed to lose. While it is impossible to neglect the talent and poise shown by the Patriots, especially quarterback Tom Brady, in those final moments, it was a statistical fact it was the Falcons’ game to lose.
With so little time left in the game at that point, the obvious option for the Falcons would have been to run the ball and run down clock, securing a potential field goal and getting the Falcons their first ever Super Bowl victory. Instead, the Falcons chose to put the ball in the hands of their quarterback, NFL MVP Matt Ryan, and failed to make any sort of progress.
The following touchdown for the Patriots then led them to tie the NFL record for the most two-point conversions in Super Bowl history with a total of two. That eight-point score then sent the game into overtime for the first time ever in a Super Bowl, where the Patriots scored on the first drive and won the game.
It was the Falcons game to win at halftime when they were leading 21-3, at the start of the fourth quarter when they were leading by 19 and even when they were up by eight with less than five minutes left. With the betting odds in their favor and the game in their hands, the Falcons lost the Super Bowl in historic fashion.