‘‘You think it’s going to be easy,’’ he remembered.
It’s not, of course.
Fourteen years later, McClure is still waiting for his first trip to the big game.
‘‘I tell the young guys on this team that we have to take advantage of this opportunity,’’ he said, ‘‘because it’s not a given that you'll be in this position again next year.’’
McClure has gotten this close to the Super Bowl only one other time. During the 2004 season, when he was snapping the ball to Michael Vick, the Falcons came up one win short, losing at frigid Philadelphia in the conference championship game.
Now, as the lone holdover from that team, McClure is back for another shot.
With his 36th birthday right around the corner, he doesn’t want to let it slip away again.