'It's a miserable feeling'
Levy says Reeves will recover, but it will take time
Posted: Monday February 01, 1999 03:36 AM
Levy suggests that examining how the Falcons handle the loss will show Dan Reeves how to facilitate the team's recovery AP
EDITOR'S NOTE: Marv Levy, who coached the Buffalo Bills to four
straight Super Bowls and lost all four games, analyzed Sunday's game
between the Denver
Broncos and Atlanta
Falcons for The Associated Press.
By Marv Levy for The
Myself and Bud Grant are the only men in
the world who know exactly how Dan Reeves feels.
And believe me,
it's a miserable feeling.
I walked off the field at the Super
Bowl four times without ever knowing what it's like to win the game, and
each time you can't believe the feeling.
You go in with high
hopes and relish the idea, and you never think you won't win. And then, all
of the sudden, you've been defeated and don't know if you'll ever get
I know what a terrible feeling it is. There's no feeling
of despair I ever had that impacted me like losing those games. You bounce
back after a couple of weeks, but at that moment you feel worse that you
I felt worse after losing those games than I did
after losing my job in Kansas City.
What I saw were five reasons
why Denver won the game:
- It went according to
form in that the best team won. There was no question about that. The
Broncos were stronger, and it was obvious they were the better all-around
- Atlanta's one chance was to win the turnover
game, and it didn't. Not even close. One of the things often missed when
discussing turnovers is what happens after you get one. Atlanta got the
first one but did nothing -- missed a field goal. Denver did something with
its turnovers. Atlanta was plus-20 on turnovers during the regular season
and the Broncos were plus-11 in the playoffs. So that was biggest thing
that did not go according to form, and Denver exploited it to the hilt.
- Denver was vastly superior on pass defense to anything I
expected. I though they were suspect at the corners, but Darrien Gordon came up
with two interceptions.
- Denver's uncanny ability to get that
early lead. That's what helped it get the turnovers later, and that's made
Atlanta play as though it was desperate.
- When Atlanta
committed to stopping the run, the Broncos didn't go after the corners,
they went after the soft middle. The Falcons had their linebackers closer
to line, and they were stepping forward with every run fake. That made them
vulnerable to quick passes over the middle, which John Elway employed with
great effect. And trying to stop Terrell Davis left the
Falcons open to the biggest play of the game, that 80-yard bomb.
I'll never know exactly how Mike Shanahan felt, but I can offer some
insight into what Reeves' next few days will look like.
did with the Bills was like a five-step program:
mourned for about 10 days. I'd just be miserable, lay in bed and pound the
pillow and scare my wife.
- We'd own up to what happened, look
at where we are and how we can improve.
- Recognize the good.
If I'm Reeves, I look at the way we came back in the Minnesota game, and
I'd look at how we handled this loss.
- Form a plan, decide
what we're going to do about it. You can't just keep lying there in a fetal
- Act. You don't just form a plan, you go out and do
the hard stuff.
It'll be tough for Reeves in the month ahead.
It's hard to out to dinner, because people come up to console you and you
don't even want to hear about it.
There's a tendency to want to
become reclusive, but you can't do that. You eventually have to get back to
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