To nobody's surprise, more than a few Atlanta Falcons are still smarting after their unbelievable 34-28 overtime loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
"That's like a scar you'll see forever,"Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman told ESPN. "You'll always remember that scar. It's about, 'How can I shake back?' In life, you've got to always learn how to shake back and have another elite year."
It amounts to a healthy dose of athlete-speak, but what else is Freeman supposed to say: I can't shake the loss and plan to gallop for less than 300 yards next season before retiring?
Still, Freeman played a role in New England's 25-point comeback when his missed block of Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower led to a pivotal sack of quarterback Matt Ryan. Even today, the running back said he wouldn't change a thing about the game.
"Nothing," Freeman said. "No play. Even the mistake I made with the missed block. When you look at a football game, you're talking about four quarters. You're talking about the best guys against the best guys on both sides of the ball. Mistakes are going to happen. If you're perfect in the NFL, something is not right. I don't know anybody who's perfect.
"My mistake is a scar. I'm going to learn from it. I'm going to get better from that. That's how I look at it."
Freeman reiterated his intense desire to get back to the Super Bowl and finally understand what Tom Brady and his Patriots teammates felt after the win.
"It's peanuts to me. You just move on from it," Freeman said. "But until you win the Super Bowl, ain't nothing else going to feel better than winning that Super Bowl. I guarantee it. I don't care if I get 1,000 yards, 10 Pro Bowls. If I don't win that Super Bowl, I'm going to always remember that one Super Bowl we lost."