New England

Super Bowl Reminders Abound Ahead of Pats, Falcons Rematch

The score 28-3 will forever live in infamy for the Atlanta Falcons.

For the New England Patriots it's a shining symbol. That's the 25-point deficit they overcame this past February on their way to posting the largest comeback win in Super Bowl history. In the first Super Bowl that went to overtime.

For the Falcons it represents the seemingly insurmountable lead they squandered on the NFL's biggest stage.

As the teams prepared for Sunday night's rematch, their approaches were as different as the feelings they left the field with eight months ago.

The Falcons are coming off back to back losses and having blown a 17 point lead to the Dolphins, as they come into Foxboro for the NBC Sunday Night Football showdown with the Patriots.

The Patriots (4-2) tried their best to downplay the historic victory, which has spawned countless internet memes, commemorative T-shirts, and endless jokes at the Falcons' expense.

"We've been given really highly strict rules that we are not allowed to talk about that game, so you're not really going to get any information from anyone about that,'' said tight end Rob Gronkowski, who sat out the game following back surgery late last season. "I'm just looking forward to this week.''

James White, one of many heroes in helping New England secure its fifth championship ring, was equally coy.

"I put the same pressure on myself every week, no matter who we're playing,'' he said.

The Falcons (3-2) have no desire to relive that night, of course, though they are aware of its presence as they head into New England. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn acknowledged the topic has come up on a few occasions since his team trudged off the field in Houston.

"Maybe three or four times,'' he said.

After a grating loss like that, quarterback Matt Ryan said, ``it's always going to be a part of you.''

"That's every athlete, right?'' he said. "There's things throughout your life that motivate you to be the best player that you can be, that get you out of bed in the morning. For sure, from a big-picture standpoint, you use all those things as motivation.''

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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