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Stand up for the team!

Curt Matern

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When I moved here in 1973, it was with great delight that I could have a city team to support. At the time, I was living in N.J., and we really didn't have a team to get behind. New York had their teams, but they weren't ours.

As you all know, this team has probably had more bad seasons than any other in the history of the NFL. Yet, despite that, I have found that, year after year, it's been a thrill to be a supporter of this team. I've been through it all. Sitting through the chill of Monday Night Football at the old stadium. Watching Bartkowski, Andrews and the rest. Billy "White Shoes", Van Note, etc. I love these guys. Lately, being in the house when the Dome is rocking? Goose-bumps.

It's almost inconceivable that the things that have befallen our team this year have occurred. I mean, really. Vick, the injuries and now Petrino. ****. I've been around during years when our team was really beaten down, but never, ever anything like this!

My heart goes out to Arthur Blank. I met him once, when he was courting Warrick Dunn to come to Atlanta. I tune pianos for a living, and he was having a very nice dinner set up at a local Atlanta hotel. He didn't have to have anything to do with me, but he did. I spent a few minutes talking to him about being an Atlanta Falcons fan, and he was extremely gracious. He's a good man, and a good team owner.

I used to tune the piano for Rankin Smith for a number of years, over at his house on Harris Trail. Met him a few times. My impression was that he was a jerk, and that he didn't really give a **** about how the Falcons represented our fine city. Mr. Blank wants so very much to give this city a great team. He deserves our respect.

Mr. Blank and the Falcons need our support now more than ever. This team needs for us to stand behind them and cheer them, and come to their aid. Can you imagine another team in recent memory being so beaten down? Can you ever remember when a coach so callously deserted his players? I can't. It's no secret that he was a lousy coach during his time here, and that the players didn't mesh with him. I've never seen such a thing as what has happened this year. And this goes back 34 years! Hindsight will say that this hiring was a huge catastrophe, but it looked good on paper. Who knew that this man would be such a hideous mistake? Yet he was, and that is that. We have had bad coaches before, but never such as this. He has set the Falcons back at least five years. Good riddance.

I know that most of the things that had befallen him were not his fault, yet he could have taken the high road and served this team, and this city, proudly. He could have led them bravely and with integrity. He could have rallied the team and rebuilt and inspired them to a higher level. Instead, he cut and ran. I don't care what his life becomes at Arkansas, to me he is a coward and a liar.

Please, Arthur, please find somebody who can truly turn the tide. I've been waiting a long time, and beg you to get a quality coach. In my heart of hearts, I yearn for a guy like Cowher to take over the reins and bring this team around. Of all the guys out there, he's the real deal. Spend the money, do whatever it takes, but get THE GUY!

Atlanta has always been a fickle sports town. I remember going to Falcon's games during the eighties when there might only be about 5,000 fans in the stands! Imagine that!

However, we are a grown up city now, and this is our team. They are beat up, depressed and lost. I'm not gonna give up on them. They are my team. I love them. I'm going to be out there cheering, no matter what, and I'm not going to leave my seat until the game is done.

Go Falcons! I love you guys. You will get a quality coach, you will find your way, and you will make this city proud. I, for one, believe in you. We don't need to spend fruitless moments finding fault in our guys. Now, like no other time in the franchise, we need to stand behind them.

Falcon fan. FOREVER!

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