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Roddy White spent 11 seasons playing wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. He was released in March of 2016 so he wasn't part of Atlanta's Super Bowl run. He was actually in Las Vegas during Super Bowl LI to cheer on the only NFL team he ever played for...and to gamble. After all, he spent $100,000 that weekend, which included a $40,000 bet on the Falcons to beat the New England Patriots. Needless to say, he was a little upset with how the game turned out. More specifically, the majority of his anger was focused on one individual – Kyle Shanahan.
Shanahan is the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers now, but at the time, he was the offensive coordinator of the Falcons. Many have criticized his aggressive playcalling at the end of the game that contributed to the Patriots overcoming a historic deficit and eventually pulling off the unbelievable victory in overtime.
"I'm glad I wasn't a part of that team because I probably literally would've fought him," White said in a podcast interview with WSB-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
When the Falcons got into field goal range with a 28-20 lead in the closing minutes of regulation, White thought the victory was in hand. "I was like, 'That's it. Game's over. We're going to have a parade,'" White said. "I'm going to fly back to Georgia. We're going to have fun."
Everyone knows the rest.
"You destroyed a dream for a city," said White. "It's bigger than me. The city of Atlanta needed that championship and you had it. Arthur Blank needed that championship and he deserved to win that game, with everything he's been through. It was finally our time to win and it just hurt me that we didn't get it done."
While White places the majority of the blame on Shanahan, who he played for in 2015, he also blames the other coaches on the team for not challenging his playcalling at the end. "You have a kicker in a dome (in Matt Bryant) and he don't miss," While said.
During his introductory press conference, Shanahan responded to the accusations that he blew the opportunity in Houston. "We played that game how we played the entire year and I thought I called plays in that game the way I had the entire year," Shanahan said. "Doesn't mean I'm always right. Doesn't mean they're always going to work, but I promise you I prepare as hard as I possibly can. I always do what I believe is right with our coaching staff and the players and then you live with the consequences.
"Yeah, it's going to be hard living with that loss. Every play that didn't work, I regret, as always. But, I can deal with it because I can look at myself in the mirror and know I did what I thought was right at the time and that was the most important thing to me. I didn't change because of a circumstance. I did what I thought was right, but whatever happens, if you do what you thought was right and you believed in that because of the preparation you had, then you should be able to live with the consequences."