This was an exciting football season to be an Atlanta Falcons fan. After battling through a tough season, improving with each game, then steamrolling through the playoffs, the Birds found themselves in only their 2nd Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, the other being 1999 (which they lost). Our Falcons faced the juggernaut New England Patriots, led by legendary QB Tom Brady, seeking his 5th Super Bowl ring in seven appearances. A true “David vs Goliath” matchup.
The Falcons played stellar football, on both sides of the ball, entering the half up by a whopping 21-3. Within three quarters of play, Atlanta had amassed a lead of 25 points at one point, an unprecedented achievement against this Patriots squad. No team in Super Bowl history, in fact, had ever run up that kind of score on an opponent, with yet another quarter to play.
Then “the wheels came off.”
The Patriots found something deep within, made several key momentum-shifting plays (and got a few bad calls go their way, arguably), and in a little over 15 mins of play, came storming back, posting 31 unanswered points, also unprecedented in Super Bowl history. Brady and the Pats tied the game up 28-28, with 3 seconds left on the clock, sending the game into overtime, another Super Bowl first.
When the Patriots won the coin toss, electing to receive, I knew the game was over. Our defense had played valiantly the entire game, but there was no stopping Brady and crew at this point. They drove, they scored, and they won, 34-28.
No team in Super Bowl history had ever amassed such a sizable lead over an opponent, then lost it all, and thus, the game. It was disheartening for Falcons fans.
As I reflected on the game, what happened to the Falcons reminded me of how life often happens with us. Things can be rocking along, in our relationships, our work, etc., then momentum shifts. It might be sudden job loss, cancer news (both of which I can identify with), fracturing of a relationship, death in the family, any number of events. The tidal wave of adversity crashes over us, devastating everything we worked so hard for. We go from being on top of the world, to that lonely walk back to the lockers. Have you been there? Are you there now?
I’ve leaned into this quote from Jesus Christ, so packed with truth- “Peace I give to you, My peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives, will I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
God our Father is with us in the deluge, will carry us through, and will be there on the other side, to pick us back up, help us start again. I have found that comforting.
The Falcons got swamped, as do we sometimes. The Falcons will #riseup, as will we, when we are in our Father’s hands.
You may be overwhelmed, but you need not be overcome.