The Week 7 rematch between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons at Gillette Stadium is one of the most highly anticipated games on the NFL’s regular-season schedule.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, whose team suffered one of the most crushing defeats in Super Bowl history at the hands of the Patriots three months ago, can’t wait for Oct. 22 to come.
“Look, I think any time you play a team and you come up on the losing side, the competitive side of you wants to be back in that game, on the field,” Dimitroff said Thursday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” “You want to be competing for the win, of course. We’re looking forward to it. Our opportunity to play them this season will be there, and I think that’s an opportunity for us to continue to rise to the challenge. And again, we like where we are. I like where we are as a young team overall.”
Making their first Super Bowl appearance since 1999, the Falcons blew a 25-point third-quarter lead in a 34-28 overtime loss to the Patriots. In the first 50 Super Bowls, no team had come back from more than a 10-point deficit to win.
Despite that historic loss, Dimitroff, who spent six seasons scouting for the Patriots, said his Falcons are confident as they prepare to defend their NFC title this season.
“I think we have a confidence about us — I don’t think it’s an arrogance at all — I just think there’s a real interesting confidence,” Dimitroff said. “Quite honestly, at the back end of the playoffs and the Super Bowl, there was a cool element of naiveté that was good for us. I thought we weren’t overthinking, we were going in to play football as I thought we would. I like going into this season with a little more age but some youth, as well.”
History is not on Atlanta’s side. The last team to lose a Super Bowl and return to the big game the following season was the Buffalo Bills, who lost four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994.
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