Former Falcons receiver Roddy White wasn’t a Falcons receiver in 2016 due in part to his failure to accept not getting the ball as much as he wanted it in the Kyle Shanahan offense. As White tells it in the aftermath of Super Bowl LI, however, White would have not wanted the ball at all when the game was on the line.
Appearing on the We Never Played The Game podcast with Jeff Schulz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Zach Klein of WSB TV, White teed off on Shanahan for not dialing up three straight runs once the Falcons had the ball first and 10 on the New England 22 with an eight-point lead and less than four minutes in regulation.
“I was like, ‘That’s it. Game’s over. We’re going to have a parade. I’m going to fly back to Georgia. We’re going to have fun,” White said regarding his reaction to the catch from Julio Jones that made a championship seem inevitable.
“I’m glad I wasn’t a part of that team because I probably literally would’ve fought [Shanahan],” White said.
Of course, that’s one of the reasons White wasn’t part of the team. Although fisticuffs never occurred between Shanahan and White (as far as anyone knows), White has made his views on Shanahan clear after he was released last year. White’s agent even claimed that Shanahan forced the team to choose between player and coordinator. In July, White claimed that Shanahan wasn’t truthful about White’s role during the 2015 offseason, breaking the news that White would be used only after training camp opened.
So it’s no surprise that, of all the people who could be blamed for the collapse, White has opted to blame the team’s now-former offensive coordinator.
“You destroyed a dream for a city,” White said. “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.”
But whose fault is it, really? Everyone knew Shanahan would be leaving the team after the Super Bowl. Some (including Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy) would say that head coach Dan Quinn should have intervened, ordering Shanahan to deviate from the way things had been done all year and embracing situational football, taking at least three points, going up by 11, and keeping the Patriots from scoring twice in the closing minutes of the game.