You really have to give the Atlanta Falcons a respect fist bump at this point - despite being relentlessly ball-busted for going on four months now, not only are they embracing the suck, but they also refuse to do the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” tango when anyone asks them about “Well, what if you’d done (pretty much anything that would’ve iced the game when the Dirty Birds had a win percentage of 99.8%)?”
Must be those Southern manners.
And while pretty much any Patriots fan worth their Brady jersey was well aware that the New England offense was missing their best receiving threat in Rob Gronkowski, the Atlanta Falcons had an equally devastating loss of their own on the defensive side of the ball - Pro Bowl and $69 million cornerback Desmond Trufant.
If you’re not too familiar with Desmond, it’s because he generally seems to roll by the mantra that “a rich man doesn’t have to tell you he’s rich” when it comes to his skills on the field. Trufant doesn’t run his mouth, he just kind of does his thing and lets the Richard Shermans and Aqib Talibs of the world talk to whoever sticks an iPhone in their face about whatever’s grinding their gears that week.
SI’s Jonathan Jones caught up with Trufant this week and had to ask him about whether he could’ve stopped Julian Edelman’s Mr. Clutch catch that kept New England grinding away in the fourth quarter, and in a reply that’d probably make Richard Sherman’s head explode, he basically just said “I dunno. Maybe?”
Here’s what he actually told SI (with Jones’s question included for context):
What if the Pro Bowl corner—two inches taller than Alford, who could only tip Brady’s pass—had been stalking Edelman? Might Brady have even tried Trufant there like so many other quarterbacks decided against the past two seasons?
“I don’t really run it like that,” says Trufant after saying he might have been in coverage on that play. “I just know for a fact I could have made an impact, however it could have been. I know the guys were playing great. The DBs were playing great and making plays all over the field. But like you said, it does run through my head like I could have done this or that or I could have helped us on this play, but it is what it is. I’m just growing from it.”
Pretty classy response, in all seriousness - would anyone blink if Desmond just said “Hell yeah, I could’ve stopped him”? Of course not, that’s just what corners do. Instead Trufant just goes with the “Yeah, I would’ve had an impact on the game”, which is pretty much as humble of a response as a Pro Bowl defensive back not named Malcolm Butler has ever given about anything.
Fortunately, the football gods have smiled on us and we won’t have to wait too long for a Super Bowl grudge match - the Falcons ship up to Massachusetts for a Week 7 Sunday Night Football royal rumble that Atlanta’s surely thankful wasn’t scheduled for Week 1 when New England is dropping banner number 5.