Ex-Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White believes he could have saved his former team from Kyle Shanahan's questionable play-calling that played a role in their 25-point collapse to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
"I'm glad I wasn't a part of that team because I probably literally would've fought him," White told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jeff Schultz while on the 'We Never Played the Game' podcast.
White took exception to Shanahan's play-calling, specifically the decision not to run the ball three times after Julio Jones put Atlanta in field-goal range to go up two scores late in the contest.
"You destroyed a dream for a city," White said. "It's bigger than me. The city of Atlanta needed that championship and you had it. (Team owner) Arthur Blank needed that championship and he deserved to win that game, with everything he's been through. It was finally our time to win and it just hurt me that we didn't get it done."
It's not the first time White has had beef with Shanahan. The 11-year Falcons receiver took issue over his usage under the ex-Falcons OC in 2015, before he was ultimately released by the team last offseason.
White, who struggled to get separation from cornerbacks in his final NFL season, said he rejected offers from some teams -- specifically Tennessee and Tampa Bay, where familiar coaches were on the staff -- because he felt like they were out of contention or his role would be minimized. White told Schultz he stopped working out in mid-October when it was clear he would no longer play.
Let's get back to the Super Bowl talk. Now that the NFL has essentially retired White, the receiver claims he would have jumped offsides after hearing the play call on second-and-11 in field goal range -- a play that resulted in a sack.
"I told Julio I would've jumped offsides," White said, not jokingly. "At that point, it's second-and-16, you know they're going to run the ball. Or they'll throw quick game (quick pass off a three-step drop). It wouldn't be anything you can take a sack on."
Setting aside the fact that every coach in America is gouging their eyes out thinking about receivers manufacturing a penalty because they disagreed with a play call, White's assessment forgets that the Falcons did throw a quick pass on third-and-23 that still resulted in a holding call.
White -- who did admit the Falcons would have a better chance to return to the Super Bowl if Shanahan had stayed in Atlanta -- placed most of the blame on the OC, but said someone else should have spoken up when a pass was called.
"As a coaching staff, you're on the headset," he said. "Nobody said, 'We're going to run the ball three times.'"
Presumably the only person who could have spoken with that sort of power is head coach Dan Quinn.
It's easy for anyone outside the locker room to retrospectively rip Shanahan for failed play calls that weren't executed on the field. The new 49ers coach admitted he'll live with those calls the rest of his life, but doesn't regret playing aggressive.
Shanahan might not regret anything, but Falcons fans, like White, will question his decisions for eternity.