By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — In case you’ve been living in a mine shaft for the past eight months, the Patriots and Falcons played a decently memorable Super Bowl in February. The rematch is Sunday night in Foxboro. That’s why some people seem to be talking about the game a little bit.READ MORE: North End Fitness Center Joins List Of Businesses Requiring Staff, Customers To Be Vaccinated
Just don’t expect the two teams to say anything.
Falling right in line with the Belichickian mantra “Ignore The Noise”, the Patriots head coach has apparently imposed a complete restriction on any and all talk of the “rematch” of Super Bowl LI. That’s how Rob Gronkowski described it to reporters on Wednesday.
“Well, we’ve been given really highly strict rules that we are not allowed to talk about that game, so you’re not really going to get any information from anyone about that, so I’m just looking forward to this week,” said Gronkowski when asked what he can take from the Super Bowl to learn about the Falcons. “They look good on film. They’re a fast team, a physical team and it’s going to be a tough game coming this Sunday night.”
Belichick adhered to his own stringent rules when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday, swatting down any and all questions about last year’s Falcons that the Pats faced in the Super Bowl.
“I don’t really care about what some other coach did some other year,” said Belichick. “Like right now we’re getting ready for the Falcons, Coach Sarkisian’s offense, Coach [Marquand] Manuel’s defense and Coach [Keith] Armstrong’s special teams under the direction of Coach [Dan] Quinn. That’s who we play this week. That’s what we’re getting ready for. What somebody else did some other year – it’s really not that relevant right now.”READ MORE: Newbury Street To Have 3 Car-Free Days In August
The Falcons appear to have similar restrictions, based on head coach Dan Quinn’s comment to New England reporters this week. He admitted that the team has talked about the Super Bowl, but now he’s looking to avoid framing Sunday night as a rematch of that game.
“The biggest thing to say was you don’t get to replay games, and you don’t get to go replay the Super Bowl. We lost last week, and you don’t get to go replay the Miami game,” said Quinn. “One of the sayings we have is ‘the only fight that matters is the one you’re in.’ So that’s where our focus is. … We don’t want to go in the rematch world because we’ve learned our lessons and you don’t get to apply them until you’re back in them again. If we keep looking back in the rear-view, we’re not going to be where we want to be.”
Quinn’s remarks about the “rear-view” may raise eyebrows, especially to those who watched the Falcons blow another lead last week against the Dolphins. The Falcons continue to be a shaky fourth-quarter team at best since their historic Super Bowl collapse, so if the team has moved on and isn’t thinking about February, they’re not doing a great job proving that.
However, Matt Ryan and the Falcons actually have a good recent track record in regular-season prime time games. So there’s still a chance they show up and do what they really should do against the Patriots’ low-ranked pass defense, and that’s light them up. If they can’t, then they may be permanently damaged from that loss in February.
Just don’t try to ask them about it.MORE NEWS: Your 4 Community: Cradles To Crayons
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.