Mike Smith hasn't hit the mental reset button. It's too early. The Falcons' coach won't even sit in front of the television out of fear there will be mention of a certain football game to be played Sunday, although he did make an exception the other day.

"I watched Gator Boys with my daughter," he said. "I watched them wrestle a 13½ foot alligator."

The Super Bowl is Sunday. Smith and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff won't be watching. Both arrived in New Orleans this week for their annual round of radio interviews but both will depart well before the game.

Smith plans to spend the day with family and maybe hit a bucket of golf balls. Dimitroff said, "I'll probably go to a get-together . . . and watch the commercials."

This is a different kind of pain.

Last season the Falcons were easily handled in their third straight playoff loss to the New York Giants and sparks flew from the owner's forehead, leading to some serious off-season analysis. The loss to San Francisco in the NFC championship was different. The Falcons seemingly were on the way to the Super Bowl but fumbled leads of 17-0 and 24-14, had two turnovers in the second half, saw a comeback fall 10 yards short of the end zone and lost 28-24.

It was all set up for the Falcons. They collapsed.

It was a similar script to the game the week before against Seattle, except for a cardiac rally pulled that one out.

Dimitroff says he's "still trying to figure out" why the fizzles occurred. "We don't have an answer. There will be a lot of discussion this offseason to determine the reason why it's happening."