Are Georgia Sports Cursed? Because It Sure Does Feel Like It

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Are Georgia Sports Cursed? Because It Sure Does Feel Like It

Free to Soar: Atlanta Falcons football quarterback Matt Ryan is one of the players that first experiences the end of the infamous Falcons curse.

Free to Soar: Atlanta Falcons football quarterback Matt Ryan is one of the players that first experiences the end of the infamous Falcons curse.

AJC

Free to Soar: Atlanta Falcons football quarterback Matt Ryan is one of the players that first experiences the end of the infamous Falcons curse.

AJC

AJC

Free to Soar: Atlanta Falcons football quarterback Matt Ryan is one of the players that first experiences the end of the infamous Falcons curse.

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Any sports fan knows the sayings: “No lead is safe,” “It isn’t over till the fat lady sings,” and “Anything can happen.” These sayings don’t fit any better than in Georgia sports. At this point, a Georgia sports fan might feel better about being down by 14 points in the 4th quarter than being up. At least that way, they won’t have to be pulling their hair out at the end, while the other team makes the inevitable “miracle comeback” to break our hearts. Why does this keep happening? And what did we do to deserve it?

28 to 3. A score so notorious, anyone who knows anything about Georgia sports instantly recognizes it. The Atlanta Falcons were beating the Patriots 28 to 3 in Super Bowl 51 with just under 5 minutes left in the third quarter. What happened next keeps every Falcons fan up at night. Tom Brady and the big bad Patriots scored 31 unanswered points to come back and beat the Falcons. I myself am not even a Falcons fan — I have the burden of being a Lions fan and, no, I don’t want to talk about it — but I could still feel the pain of an entire city when Patriots running back James White crossed the goal line to stun the Falcons, 34 to 28. A collapse like this has never been seen before on such a stage, and of course it happens in Atlanta, of all places. The Falcons never really recovered from this, with an ugly playoff loss the next year and then completely bottoming out the next year, sputtering to what is currently a 4 and 9 record and a lost season.

Not only does Georgia football teams blowing leads in big games happen in the NFL, but it happens in college, too. Lucky us, right? Last year, the Georgia Bulldogs were putting the hurt on Alabama in the 2018 National Championship game. The offense was rolling, and the defense was making Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts look like he didn’t know what sport he was playing as they jumped out to a 20 to 7 lead. So what did Alabama coach Nick Saban do? He took a risk and threw freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa into the game. It paid off. The Tide stormed back and ended up beating the Dawgs 26 to 23 in overtime. Tyler Simmons was onsides.

Georgia fans thought it couldn’t get any worse. We were wrong. In this year’s SEC Championship game, Georgia again jumped out to a 28 to 14 lead over the Tide, and Tagovailoa was playing the worst game of his life. Then, he got injured, and Jalen Hurts came back into the game. The same thing happened again. Hurts led Alabama to a comeback win over Georgia, 35 to 28. The same game, but the narrative had flipped, with Jalen replacing Tua. You can’t make this stuff up.

The rest of Georgia sports is just as weird. The Hawks are just bad. The Braves are a good, young team, but they haven’t won anything yet. Atlanta United got it done — and we can be glad about that. But consider: The franchise is just an MLS expansion team that was formed in 2017.  In fact, the only other championship an Atlanta team has won in the last 35 years was the Braves’ World Series in 1995, which also came among 4 losses in the October Classic. So while two years of winning on the soccer pitch feels kind of nice, how much will that really do to numb the pain felt by lifelong Atlanta fans?

Maybe I’ll go ask a Falcons fan.

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