Creating Optimism after a Crushing Defeat

Super Bowl 51 — a matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons — is considered one of the most exciting Super Bowls the NFL has seen in a long time. The Falcons seemed to be blowing out the Patriots and were up by 25 points before superstar quarterback Tom Brady mounted a historic comeback which resulted in a Patriots overtime win. The Falcons coaches, owners, fans, and players are understandably reeling from their collapse on the biggest stage.

The Falcons are a surging team with an energetic young coach, but their youth and inexperience lead to their downfall in the Super Bowl. Instead, the Patriots and Brady won their fifth super bowl in the last 15 years. In his article for Sports Illustrated online, analyst Jenny Vrentas asks the question: How does a team move forward after such a devastating loss? Here I will go over some of the ways a sports organization can boost morale after a heartbreaking loss.

Rewind best parts of the season:

In the case of the Atlanta Falcons during the 2016 season, the team had an incredible season before their loss in the final game. Their quarterback, Matt Ryan, won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award as well as putting together one of the best playoff runs for a quarterback the NFL has ever seen. From a public relations standpoint, it is important to remind fans of the amazing work done all season and to thank them for their support. This creates and reinforces fan loyalty despite what is a trying time for the fanbase. A simple highlight video of the best moments from the journey to the Super Bowl can go a long way.

Announce New Player or Coach Additions:

When a team has enough success in the NFL to make it to the playoffs, it understandably creates a desire from other teams for their players and coaches. It is impossible for a team to make the Super Bowl and not have any personnel turnover. In the case of the Atlanta Falcons, they lost a very crucial member of their staff in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The best offensive coordinators are poached every year for head coaching jobs, and this is what happened with Shanahan when he took the head coaching position with the San Francisco 49ers.

Losing a vital part of a coaching staff leads to further unrest among fans of the Falcons. This public relations obstacle, if dealt with correctly, may result in a morale boost among the fanbase. The Falcons decided to hire Steve Sarkisian, the offensive coordinator of powerhouse college football program Alabama. Falcons social media team promoted the hire immediately.

Appreciate Loyalty and Inspire

The Falcons created excellent social media posts after their terrible defeat in the Super Bowl. To thank the loyal fans of Atlanta for a historic season the social media team developed some video messages. Video highlights and messages not only strengthened existing fans of the organization but also opened up the opportunity for new fans.

Here are three of their Tweets that I feel will resonate with their audience in an impactful way:




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