With the news earlier this year that the Atlanta Falcons had hired Randy Couture to lead a new effort to improve team conditioning, I was wondering. Are the unsung Falcons simply out performing their opponents because of their off season conditioning?
While sitting with my wife, I had mentioned that the article. Being a big MMA fan and an avid follower of the 'The Ultimate Fighter' I had always been amazed at how poorly former NFL players performed in the ring. They just gassed out and got beat out. Two seasons ago, 3 former NFL players were amongst the heavyweights. All of them performed poorly at first until their conditioning was improved. Then they really started doing well in the Octogon. When I read that Couture was training the whole team, my statement was "We're going to the NFC championship game!" My wife looked at me unconvinced. I told her that many NFL games are really decided in the 4th quarter when the fitness of one team overcomes their opponent.
To be honest, the game against Pittsburg didn't exactly prove my point, but ever since then the Falcons have managed to find a way to win: especially in the 4th. They've won game after game after game due to 4th quarter performance. Some say heroics, but I really think it is their conditioning. Early game? No advantage. Against well conditioned athelete? No advantage. But against whole teams? Totally advantaged to the Falcons.
What do you think? Did the improved conditioning of MMA training off-season enable the 4th quarter domination we see week-in and week-out?