BOSTON (CBS) — Roddy White owns the Falcons franchise record for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns — records he set during his 11 seasons played in Atlanta from 2005-15.
Though White did not play last season after getting released in March, the Falcons remain close to his heart. And that much was clear in his comments about the work done by now-former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in the Super Bowl loss to New England.
“I’m glad I wasn’t a part of that team because I probably literally would’ve fought him,” White said of Shanahan on the “We Never Played The Game” podcast.
(Worth noting: Shanahan’s first year as offensive coordinator in Atlanta coincided with White’s final season in Atlanta.)
White was critical of the play calling that led to the Falcons turning a first-and-10 at the Patriots’ 22-yard line into a drive that ended with a punt.
“[Midway through the third quarter] I was just like, ‘Man, listen. We just need to run the ball and we’ll be good.’ I said we don’t even have to throw a pass the rest of the game, we’ll be fine,” White said. “And then we fumbled the ball while throwing it deep on third-and-1, and I’m like, this ain’t good, because every possible thing that had to happen for New England happened in a quarter-and-a-half. Like they had to have quick turnarounds and they had to have short fields and they had to have turnovers, and they got all those things like back to back to back to give them an opportunity to win the game.”
White — like most viewers — thought the game was over when Julio Jones made his acrobatic toe-tapping catch along the sideline in the fourth quarter.
“When Julio caught the ball at the 22-yard line, I literally jumped out of my seat and was like, the game’s over,” White recalled. “This is it. We’re going to have a parade. I’m flying back to Georgia. We’re going to have fun. I made money on my bet. Everything was good! And then, we run the ball and we lose one yard, and then we decide to throw a pass. We take a sack. And then we get a holding call. So all in that, it was just like, I could see it just falling apart at that point.”
White said that if he got the play call for a pass play in the specific situations which Shanahan called it, he would have done what was necessary to prevent it from happening.
“I told Julio I would’ve jumped offsides,” White said. “I said, ‘When you heard the play call coming out of the huddle, you should have went out there and jumped offsides. Just come back to the huddle and regroup.’ Because at that point, they would have just ran the ball. I mean, it’s second-and-16. You’re not going to throw it then. Or if you throw it, it’ll be a quick gain. Which I thought if you were going to throw any passes, it would be quick gain. It wouldn’t be anything that you could literally take a sack on. But that was my train of thought.”
White sees Super Bowl LI as a major missed opportunity for the Falcons franchise.
“It’s so hard to get to that point, it’s so hard to reach that point, and to not finish through the line, that’s what you preach. That’s Dan Quinn’s objective: finish, finish, finish, finish,” White said. “You destroyed a dream for a city. This is way bigger than me. The city of Atlanta needed that championship. They needed that championship, and they had it. It was right there. Arthur Blank needed that championship. He deserved to win that game, through everything he’s been through, through all the coaching staffs that we’ve been through. … It was finally our time to win and it just hurt me that we didn’t get it done.”