Going down? Falcons’ coaches stuck without elevator after Super Bowl

Several Falcons assistant coaches were angry after the game for -- among other things -- the elevator not being available to take them down to the locker room. (Jeff Schultz / jschultz@ajc.com)

Several Falcons assistant coaches were angry after the game for — among other things — the elevator not being available to take them down to the locker room. (Jeff Schultz / jschultz@ajc,com)

HOUSTON — I’m sure most of you don’t want to spend any more time reviewing the carnage of Sunday’s Super Bowl collapse against New England.

Some are calling it a choke. As much as I hate using that word, when a team leads 28-3 in the third quarter and 28-9 with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation and has a chance to put the game away with a field goal with under four minutes remaining and still loses — well, it’s hard to argue against the “choke” word.

For my column on 34-28 overtime loss, click here.

But this is how bad things went for the Falcons. Several of their assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Richard Smith, got stuck upstairs when the elevator never came to pick them up and take them down to the locker room afterwards. You can see them standing by a bank of elevators in the photo above.

Here’s what happened:

— When the game ended, the assistants stepped out of their coaching box and went to the elevators. As a general rule, elevators are held for coaches before media — or fans seated in luxury boxes — can use them. But that wasn’t the case this time. The elevators were on other floors taking fans.

— After more than five minutes, the coaches were told it might be best to walk down. So they descended a staircase and soon found themselves walking in an NRG plaza with fans, outside of concession stands, as several New England fans were shouting and celebrating their team’s win.

— The group waded their way through the crowd for about 50 yards, then somebody shouted for them to hook back because an elevator would pick them up from that floor. So they all walked to the elevators and waited. It was another several minutes before an elevator came, but not before all had vented to stadium employees and Shanahan let out some expletives. Shanahan eventually walked away to lean against a wall and cool off. In total, it was at least 20 minutes from the time the coaches waited for their first elevator before they reached the ground floor.

Understand, Shanahan wasn’t in the best mood anyway because of the loss, which happened in part because of his fourth-quarter decisions, calling two ill-advised pass plays in obvious running situations that resulted in sacks (and one fumble). (See game column for more detail.) That opened the door to the Patriots’ comeback.

The Falcons obviously wouldn’t have made it to the Super Bowl without the success of Shanahan’s offensive scheme. But they lost this game in part because of him.

For more click here.

Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes. All episodes also can be downloaded and heard on iTunes or via WSBRadio.com.

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50 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Spring training and new hype start in a couple of weeks. Thank goodness for that. The Falcons lost, The Crimson Tide lost, both in the final seconds of the game.....I should be in mourning(still am a little bit), but I have to keep trying to convince myself that it's just a game(although at Alabama it's not "Just a game") The way I see it, there were two plays in the Falcons loss that turned the game, and you could feel it when it happened......the catch by Edelman and the sack of Ryan. The catch by Edelman was Edelman's fault and the sack of Ryan was Ryan's fault....a great play and a stupid play. How did the Falcons go from putting 28 pts. on the board, on one of the best defenses in football to not being able to get a first down on 3rd and 1? They have the lead and control of the game and then they get that "deer in the headlights" look. Why??? They had timeouts left.....why didn't they use one to discuss what they should do in that situation?All of the "what ifs" won't change the outcome. It boils down to poor coaching, poor execution, and an opponent that refused to lose.

Slip Kld
Slip Kld

I think the Russians are to blame. 

Zapp
Zapp

Here's is the most important point in the entire game.  The coach has a habit of sitting on the lead, and this time the offense didn't respond when they needed to score again.  They marched to the Patriot 25 yard line for a chip shot field goal, and should have run the ball 3 straight plays to run clock and then kick the 3 points to secure the game.  They allowed their QB to throw which ended with (penalty and then a sack), so on those play calls the game was lost.  If anyone says different, they just don't understand football!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Zapp: "They marched to the Patriot 25 yard line for a chip shot field goal . . . ."

______________

Nah, it's even worse than you think: It was the 22-yard line.

Roymus
Roymus

Maybe there’s a silver lining here.  As a result of this historic choke, can we start fresh in the new stadium by losing that insipid and nausea-inducing “Rise Up” slogan?  Maybe next year our fans can come up with something themselves like they do in other cities, instead of having it be force-fed to us like a bunch of baby birds (hey, that metaphor works on so many levels!).  


While we’re at it, as we move into SunTrust Park let’s get rid of the chopping and chanting for the Braves, too.  I’ve been annoyed by that for over 25 years now.  The whole thing was started by Deion Sanders, who was ripping off the Seminoles (Deion played for FSU ,remember).  It’s unoriginal and easily mocked by other fans…often mocked, I might add.


Who’s with me on this?

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Roymus I agree. "Rise Up" and "Dirty Birds" are degrading. Both belong on the streets with protesters that seem to protest anything that they decide is against what they stand for.

Been there
Been there


“calling two ill-advised pass plays in obvious running situations”


Jeff: That’s exactly why Shanahan is such a great play caller. That’s why he’ll be the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and you and Mark Bradley will remain beat writers for the AJC sports department for another 20 years.




dawg4u
dawg4u

@Been there I don't think there's much job security in SF.  He's basically walking into a hellish situation.  Just ask Chip Kelly.  The niners have a track record of success over the years so they probably won't be the most patient of teams for a head coach.  The talent level plus the Kaepernick qb situation make this a huge challenge for Shanahan.  I hope that both Schultz and Bradley remain here for awhile.

CoronaGT
CoronaGT

He didn't need to be a great play caller in that situation. He needed to put the game away by going up by 2 scores with what would have been less than 3 minutes left. Instead, he decided to get cute. Quinn is the CEO of the team and has to share some of the blame by not telling his subordinate to run the ball 3 times and if they didn't get a first down, to kick a FG. I don't care how much confidence he has in his coordinator, there is too much at stake and he needed to take charge. And Ryan could have checked off the plays at the line to do the smart thing. Shanahan is the most culpable but all 3 were at fault. While I am no fan of Bellichick, that is a mistake he would never make.

JenkinsFamily
JenkinsFamily

Coaches had to walk through fans and media.


Oh, what a shame. That must have been difficult...............(pause for sarcasm).....

russfromrex
russfromrex

good bye and goodriddance to shanahandjob

Joyce Bracy
Joyce Bracy

Omg !!! Stop they played a great game , should be no shame in that game. It was great.

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

People Please it's a business, that just soaked millions from the hard working public. You don't just turn off at halftime. The only thing we found out to day is the Falcons are bad actors. Two game is the last days of the Georgia dome made more money than Atlanta going to Dallas. The media sold Brady all day you had to see it coming just like pro wrestling, stick to the script

T Bone9760
T Bone9760

To most of us- Shanahan was more into trying to impress the 49ers fan base than win a game.  He got into coaching because of his Dad- and those are the coaches who fail- See the Ryan brothers.  They fail due to a self aggrandizing view of themselves.  Shanahan should be fired today - I know he is taking the 49ers job- but fire him today to send a signal to the next snot-nosed kid who thinks he can outsmart the NFL.  Horrific job.  Quinn by the way looks like a d-coord only- not a head coach- Quinn should have forced the Falcons to run the ball for the field goal (and to take time off the clock).  I would also fire Quinn.  For all those clowns saying it can happen next year- ask Dan Marino.    Huge fail.  Arthur Blank and that dorky GM Demitridork forgot to find competent and non-selfish coaches.  

Mora-less-Petrino
Mora-less-Petrino

Can Shanahan immediately! How in the hell do you screw up an easy FG attempt? Run the ball, keep the clock moving or make New England burn their timeouts. Thousands of high school coaches could have gotten ATL to the finish line, but the boy genius turns into the village idiot at the critical moment!

Why do we make the emotional investment in ATL teams? If they make the playoffs we know it's going to end with a kick to the groin.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Mora-less-Petrino

Too late to can him.

He's gone. 

Will be interesting to see how he does in SF.

Why the emotional investment? Good question. In my case, it's simply an addiction; has been since '66.

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

What happened to the Falcons reminds me of what happened to Alabama. When your offensive coordinator has his head in his next job, he generally screws up his present one.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@traderjoe9

Same thing happened to FSU after Richt accepted the Dawgs' job. 

2001 Orange Bowl: Oklahoma 13, FSU 2.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Read on another sight that Freeman is saying it wasn't his job to pick up the blizter on that sack.  Shanny is saying it was. 

58Supersports
58Supersports

Why is it that all Atlanta teams choke and can't win big games? Falcons, Hawks and Braves always choke... 

EightBurros
EightBurros

Tom Brady: G.O.A.T.

shanahan and ryan: goats

TideDawg
TideDawg

It's the same old story. Underdog comes out in the first half and plays above their capabilities, get a big lead, get excited, smiling and laughing on the sidelines. Then they go in for halftime. Something happens, all of that adrenaline is gone when they come back out for the second half.....they've got nothing left. They don't quit, they just don't have anything left. They play as hard as they can but without that surge of energy they have lost a step and that's when NE stepped up and took the game away. That's the one thing that I feared the most for the Falcons and it happened. They were as good as NE but lacked the experience of a 4 time Super Bowl winner. NE had Brady, experience, and they never felt like they were out of it. They weren't!!


If Atlanta ever gets back to another Super Bowl I hope by then they have dropped that stupid ''RISE UP'' slogan.

Sade Watkins
Sade Watkins

Stop trying to make stuff up Ajc you know Lady Gaga made them lose cause she confused everybody with that performance \U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

Biggest play of the game was Jake Matthews hold that took us out of field goal position. Regardless, 3 straight dive plays and our all Pro kicker woulda just kicked a chipshot field goal to put it away. We managed to snare defeat from the jaws of victory. 

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

28-3 late in the 3 quarter? and they could not hold on ? Blank had to change his pants after the game

fun601
fun601

just as Jennifer implied I'm shocked that a mother can earn $5888 in 1 month on the computer 

. read review.............  http://bit.ly/2iKWY1m 

LOSERVILLE UNITED FC
LOSERVILLE UNITED FC

YALL THOT THE FLACONS WOULD WIN THE SUPPER BOWEL??? HAW HAW HAW HALE NAW!!!!

Ric1957
Ric1957

Great year! So unexpected! Bright future! Great plays on both sides. The game was surely winnable for us. Didn't make the plays when we had to Pats did. Thank you Falcons and Coach Quinn!

THE GOAT TB12
THE GOAT TB12

Parade is Tuesday if Arthur wants to come up and dance ha ha ha

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@THE GOAT TB12  'Slip n Slide being built for AB and his lady to get to the sidelines quicker next year.  lol  Stop the madness AB. 

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

Who didn't see this coming?  This same thing happened in many of the regular season games...the Falcons only played the first half and in the second half they floundered allowing the other team the opportunity to make things interesting.  Is it poor player performance or poor coaching...or is it both?

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

Brady and the White Boyz flat outplayed us in the 4th Quarter.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Falcons will be forever known as the biggest choke artists in the world.

slydawg
slydawg

Good. They didn't need to go to the locker room because they failed the players with bad strategy.... What the hell possessed those clowns to try and win the game defensively???

Well it wasn't all coaches. Japan Collins allowed Lil James White to cause him to over pursue and miss tackles and to do that same plant right, slide left move. It's a tendency a high school senior could have picked up....

Give Trufant his money.

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

@slydawg Jalen Collins has proven in every game that he's useless.  My 92 year old Father could beat Collins on pass routes and score.  Why is this clown even on the Falcons?

Mora-less-Petrino
Mora-less-Petrino

 Don't give Shanahan a chance to resign. Fire the dumb*** now!

Mora-less-Petrino
Mora-less-Petrino

The elevator going up to their brains must have been stuck too! Stuck on stupid! 

You would think they would have learned after getting outcoached in the KC game.