A good portion of the Falcons' brain trust came from the New England Patriots' management tree -- an underrated subplot to last year's crushing Super Bowl defeat. While general managers have less to do with week-to-week competition, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is looking forward to their Oct. 22 matchup against Bill Belichick in Massachusetts.
"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 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.
"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. Quite honestly at the back end of the playoffs and the Super Bowl there was cool element of naiveté that was good for us. I thought we weren't over-thinking, 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."
While I said it before at the combine, it's worth repeating: The Falcons have handled this stunning defeat way better than expected. Even the Seahawks, a team whose culture helped breed current Falcons coach Dan Quinn, sputtered a bit in the months following the goal-line debacle against New England.
In taking the defeat head on, Quinn and Dimitroff have done their best to erase one of the lowest points in franchise history and turn it into a positive. Their star quarterback is just 31 and their star receiver, Julio Jones, is only 28. The Falcons loaded up on defense during free agency and the draft.
It's trendy to predict a Panthers-type Super Bowl hangover with Atlanta this season, but in the meantime, it's interesting to watch the team's power players do everything they can to keep it from happening.