As columnist Jeff Schultz noted Monday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New England's legendary comeback victory in Super Bowl LI doesn't happen if the Atlanta Falcons don't kickstart it with several bad play calls and worse execution while struggling to maintain a late lead. So if you're a fan of adding insult to injury, you're going to love what happened to assistant coach Kyle Shanahan and his colleagues after the Falcons crushing defeat.
Workers at NRG Stadium failed to hold an elevator for Atlanta's coaching staff after the game, leaving them stranded twice on their way down to the locker room postmortem. Usual practice at NFL stadiums is to set aside an elevator for the respective coaches of each team, but that didn't happen this time. NRG Stadium has 11 elevators, but not one of them was set aside for Falcons coaches.
The first delay happened at the coaching box level, where a group of seven of eight coaches waited "more than five minutes" for an elevator to come. It never did, so they were advised to take a stairwell, which let the coaches out at a lower level amid a sea of fans, many of whom were Patriots supporters whooping it up. After that, the coaches were told after a 50-yard trek to make a u-turn for another elevator that surely would pick them up on that level. So they did, and they waited. And waited.
It was another several minutes before an elevator came, but not before all had vented to stadium employees and Shanahan let out some expletives. Shanahan eventually walked away to lean against a wall and cool off. In total, it was at least 20 minutes from the time the coaches waited for their first elevator before they reached the ground floor.
It sounds like Falcons coaches won the Super Bowl Of Indignity, if also only that particular Super Bowl. And it's not like this was the first rodeo, err, Super Bowl for NRG Stadium, which also hosted a Patriots win in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Stadium workers must have gotten caught up in the revelry of the moment. That or they just didn't like Shanahan's play calling down the stretch and didn't think he deserved a quick elevator to the ground level. It would be fun if that were what happened, so let's just go with it.