The “Dirty Birds” are back.
The Atlanta Falcons are Super Bowl-bound for the first time in nearly two decades, and all that stands in between them and championship glory are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Nothing’s ever easy, right?
Fortunately, the Falcons come into Super Bowl LI in Houston with the highest-scoring offense in football (33 points per game), but naturally, they’re going up against the top-scoring defense with the Patriots, who allowed just 15.6 points per contest in 2016. Something's gotta give.
But the Falcons aren't just the proverbial unstoppable force. Sure, Atlanta relied on offensive stars like Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel to get through the NFC—but defenders like Sean Weatherspoon, Keanu Neal, and Adrian Clayborn played a big part in Atlanta's success, too.
That grind started way back in training camp for the Falcons, but in reality, the players have been preparing their entire lives for this moment. The workouts after a long day of practice. The extra reps when they were too tired to keep going and just wanted to go home. The hours in the weight room when no one was watching.
Here’s how 11 players on the Falcons got ripped for the 2016 season and helped the Falcons make it to the Super Bowl and (stay tuned for tomorrow's edition, when we feature Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and the most shredded players from the New England Patriots.)
11. Sean Weatherspoon, Linebacker
10. Tevin Coleman, Running Back
9. Levine Toilolo, Tight End
8. Eric Weems, Cornerback
7. Terron Ward, Running Back
Yeah, he's jacked:
6. Taylor Gabriel, Wide Receiver
5. Mohamed Sanu, Wide Receiver
4. Adrian Clayborn, Defensive End
3. Keanu Neal, Safety
2. Julio Jones, Wide Receiver
1. Devonta Freeman, Running Back