The Atlanta Falcons are attempting to overcome a brutal Super Bowl collapse and once again contend for a championship.
To do so, they may lean on a key philosophy imparted to them by, not another football team, but world-class cycling team Team Sky.
According to The Ringer’s Kevin Clark, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has become a Team Sky fanatic after meeting the team’s GM Sir Dave Brailsford through a sports leadership program. A cycling fan himself, he jumped at the chance to spend some time following Team Sky and its leader Chris Froome at the Tour de France in 2016.
Dimitroff told Clark that he’s not in awe of many athletes, but Team Sky blows him away for its attention to detail.
According to Clark, Team Sky goes above and beyond in its preparation and search for any tiny advantage. The team’s philosophy is one that the Falcons have adopted: get 1% better at something every day and it will eventually mount to a massive gain.
According to Clark, Sky is intense in its preparation. They put their jerseys in wind tunnels to see which parts are causing resistance. They sometimes bring their riders’ mattresses on the road so they don’t change their normal sleeping position. They painted the floors of their bike trucks white so they can see dust that could accumulate on parts and cause mechanical issues. All of it is worthwhile when you’ve won the Tour de France three years in a row.
Nutritional and technological advances are next for the the Falcons as they try to get ahead of the curve in the NFL.
“When I look at athletes in the cycling community, I feel like they are so far ahead,” Dimitroff told Clark.
The Falcons are 1-0 to start the season and only time will tell if their run to the Super Bowl last season was the beginning of an era or a flash in the pan. But in a copycat league often hardened in its ways, the Falcons’ search for outside-the-box inspiration could pay off.
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