Save the Super Bowl hangover talk.
It's payback time.
You can't stop the Atlanta Falcons, writes Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne. And second-year linebacker De'Vondre Campbell is jumping into the conductor seat to ensure the train isn't derailed this time around.
One bit of Dunne's piece stood out:
Campbell can invigorate the defense, but he also knows true revenge starts with the quarterback. One year prior, Cam Newton sulked at his Super Bowl postgame press conference—and his team proceeded to sulk all of the next season. A 17-2 team finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs. Campbell's not shy. Those Panthers "felt sorry for themselves" in 2016, he says, because Newton set a tone.
"I did not like that, man," Campbell says. "You're the quarterback of this franchise. You lost. Get up there. Be a man. And talk about it. You can't get it back. There's nothing you can do about it except go up there and be a man about it. … He's the captain of the team. They sulked so much that it definitely affected them last year if you ask me."
The Panthers took on the personality of their QB.
The Falcons will, too.
Newton smiled and dabbed his way to an MVP award and a Super Bowl appearance in 2015, but came crashing back to Earth last season. He completed an abysmal 52.9 percent of his passes, averaging just 6.9 yards per attempt. His total touchdowns dropped from 45 to 24.
The Panthers as a whole were woeful. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in Week 4 against Carolina put up 503 passing yards and 300 receiving yards, respectively — a feat achieved for the first time in league history.
If a highly-motivated Campbell has anything to do with it — and he will — then the Falcons aren't going to cry over spilled milk.
Atlanta's Scorched Earth Tour is set to begin, and yes, there will be blood.