Roddy White spent his entire NFL career, from 2005 through 2015, with the Falcons before they unceremoniously parted ways with him last March by cutting him at the start of the offseason. So in some ways, we wouldn’t have blamed White for rooting against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. After all, would you want to spend a decade with an organization and then see them enjoy their most successful year immediately after you left?
But as it turns out, White was cheering hard for his former team to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl earlier this month. He remains good friends with ex-teammate Julio Jones, and he even had plans to attend the big game before he decided to watch it in Las Vegas instead. And during an appearance on the We Never Played the Game podcast on Tuesday, White said it’s actually a good thing he’s not on the Falcons anymore. Because while speaking about the team’s epic Super Bowl collapse—the Falcons blew a 28-3 third quarter lead to lose 34-28 in overtime—he said he would have flipped out if he was still affiliated with the organization.
White was particularly miffed about the play-calling that was done by then-Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (Shanahan has since accepted the heading coaching job with the 49ers). He didn’t like the fact that Atlanta decided against playing it safe at the end of the game when they were in position to kick what likely would have been a game-clinching field goal. And White said that, had he still been on the team, he would have fought Shanahan over it.
"I’m glad I wasn’t a part of that team," he said, "because I probably literally would’ve fought him."
White went on to blast all of the Atlanta coaches for blowing the opportunity to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. White—who admitted he bet $40,000 on the game on the podcast—ripped them for not getting the job done.
"You destroyed a dream for a city," he said. "It’s bigger than me. The city of Atlanta needed that championship, and you had it. [Falcons owner] 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."
White also said that someone should have stepped in and asked Shanahan to rethink a few of the calls he made during the Falcons’ fateful fourth quarter. Specifically, White wishes Atlanta would have run the ball more and burned some clock so that New England wouldn’t have had enough time to stage their massive comeback.
"As a coaching staff, you’re on the headset," he said. "Nobody said, 'We’re going to run the ball three times.'"
White isn’t wrong about anything that he said. But he’s the Falcons’ all-time leading receiver and will likely have his jersey number retired by the team at some point in the near future. So it’s kind of crazy to hear him go off on the Falcons’ coaches like he did during his appearance on the podcast. You can listen to his entire interview here.