Roddy White: Falcons players were frustrated with play calling in Super Bowl
Kyle Shanahan experienced some growing pains in his first season with the Falcons in 2015, and Roddy White has been openly critical of the former offensive coordinator for it. It’s no surprise, then, that White puts much of the blame for Atlanta’s meltdown in Super Bowl LI on Shanahan’s shoulders.
In an appearance on the “We Never Played the Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and Zach Klein this week, White joked that he probably would have fought Shanahan in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl if he was still with the Falcons. He later elaborated in an interview with TMZ.
“You don’t have to be one of the smartest people in the world to know you have one of the league’s best kickers,” White said. “You should run the ball three times when you catch the ball at (your opponent’s) 21-yard line. It’s just common sense. You don’t have to be a football genius to know that.”
White was referring to the acrobatic catch Julio Jones made in the fourth quarter with the Falcons leading the New England Patriots 28-20. Had they simply run the ball three times after that, Matt Bryant would have had a great look at a field goal to make it a two-possession game with not much time remaining. Instead, the Falcons tried a couple of drop-back passes and went backwards. They ended up out of field goal range, and the rest is history.
When asked if he has spoken with current Falcons players who were “dumfounded” by Shanahan’s play calling, White said that would be a fair way of putting it.
“Yeah, they’re like hands up in the air like, ‘What are we doing? What are we trying to get done at this point in the game?'” he explained. “It’s just frustrating.”
When you see some of the things White said about Shanahan after the veteran receiver was released, you might reasonably conclude that his opinion is biased. That said, there’s no question Shanahan deserves some of the blame for the Super Bowl loss. Tom Brady deserves credit for completing the most incredible comeback in NFL history, but conservative play calling could have put the game on ice. Shanahan got too aggressive and it ended up costing his team.