By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Bill Belichick’s famous “We’re on to Cincinnati” press conference has taken on a life of its own ever since the Patriots throttled the Cincinnati Bengals later that week and rode their momentum to a Super Bowl championship in the 2014 season. Nowadays, “We’re on to [insert word or phrase]” is practically synonymous with putting recent failures in the rearview mirror and focusing on the present.
The latest prominent sports figure to borrow Belichick’s phrase? Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Ryan was asked during Falcons OTAs on Thursday about the Falcons’ stunning collapse in the second half and overtime of Super Bowl LI, and said in no uncertain terms that they have moved on from their historic defeat at the hands of the Patriots.
“We’re on to 2017,” said Ryan, via the Falcons’ official website. “You know, you learn from it, like we did. You deal with it, like we did. And then you move forward and you start preparing to try and be the best football team that this group can be. And that’s where we’re at.”
Ryan’s comments echo those of Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, who said last week that the Falcons were “strengthened” by the Super Bowl loss and are supremely focused on the 2017 season. But Falcons head coach Dan Quinn – who, as a reminder, was also the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XLIX – hasn’t sounded so focused, saying in March that he’ll never get over the Super Bowl loss and refusing to admit the Falcons’ play-calling mistakes at the end of the game.
In what should come as a shock to precisely no one, Belichick has been taking the same approach with the Patriots, even though they were on the winning end of the Super Bowl.
“It’s a new team, so we have a lot of new things,” said Belichick on the first day of media availability at Patriots OTAs. “Everybody’s starting all over again. I’m starting all over again. The coaching staff is starting all over again. The players are starting all over again. It’s a new year. We’ve all got a lot of work to do, but we’ve done it before, haven’t done it before – doesn’t really make any difference. It’s still a new season, a new group to work with. We’ve all got to earn each other’s trust, and the only way you do it is to go out there and do it. There’s no shortcut to it.”
It remains to be seen how well the Falcons rebound from their devastating Super Bowl loss. But one thing’s certain: they’re taking a better approach than the Seahawks.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.