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How many of us would have faired better than Arthur Blank?


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Dale Carnegie says in his classic How to Win Friends & Influence People, "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving." He also quotes Henry Ford: "If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own."

If there is one thing that I have learned over the last couple of months, it's that negativity and criticism solves nothing, but rather creates more problems. In my opinion, Arthur Blank and Rich McKay have taken way too much criticism for the state of the team.

The way I see it, is that the Falcons have an owner that they should be proud of. Look at the circumstances of the situation. This is not to say that Arthur Blank has not made his share of mistakes, but who doesn't!? Even further, many of the circumstances that has the team where it is now was beyond his direct control and almost unimaginable.

So let's put ourselves in his shoes for a moment. What could we have done that was better? Hindsight, my friends, is 20/20. Arthur Blank brought a winning GM to this team in Rich McKay, who has proven when the right coach is in place, he will work with them and build a consistent winner. So far, the right coach hasn't been in place, which is the reason that some of his draft picks haven't faired as well on this roster. With that still, the drafting has been much better under McKay than it was under Reeves. Please keep in mind that the average life of an NFL career is 2.5 to 3 years and that about 255 players are drafted each year. That is 765 players every 3 years cycled into the league, not including UDFA's that catch on. Not every one is going to make it.

At the time McKay arrived, Atlanta had it's franchise QB in Mike Vick. There were and probably always would be debates about whether the team could win a Super Bowl with Vick and his style, however the simple fact was that Atlanta won at a far greater percentage with Vick than without. In Mora's first year, the Falcons went to the NFC Championship Game with him.

So what would you do as an owner and GM? The Falcons gave Vick a contract extension to lock up a young, dynamic QB who had just led them one step away from the Super Bowl. One can argue that this was too much money, and maybe so, yet still Vick was an icon in the league. Had he continued to rise and hit the Free Agent market, he would still have been paid ransomely. And for the most-part, the fan-base loved Mike Vick.

Add to that the state of mind of a franchise that is one-step from a Super Bowl... how do we get over the top? The obvious answer is to add veteran talent, which McKay attempted to do. However, the injury bug hit, and the team regressed as did the coaching staff with it's failure to adjust.

Fast forward to today. A team built around a unique QB has fallen apart, mostly because the string of events that happened with that QB in the off-season. Bobby Petrino was hired for Mike Vick. He wasn't the right coach, anyway, but walking out like he did is what put a black-eye on the franchise. If Vick is still here, and this team wins more games, does he walk out? Not likely. Jim Mora was fired for his failure to capture Mike's talents and translate that into consistent success, mostly due to the part of his coordinator hirings in my opinion.

When we take into account the circumstances at the time of each decision, a more-fair judgment can be made. Lest we forget the circumstances this season are unlikely any in the history of the NFL!

What I see in Arthur Blank is an owner who truly wants to win, and is doing everything he possibly can to make it happen. There are stumbling blocks in life for all of us. We don't cruise through life without falling down sometimes. The important thing is to get up and keep going. Failure is only failure when we quit!

This is where I see the positive in all of this. Out of our lowest moments in life usually come our greatest successes. Through all of this turmoil, we have found out what type an owner we really have: a man of integrity, class, dedication, purpose, drive, and commitment. He's not selling the team. he's not walking away. he's LEARNING and MOVING FORWARD in his commitment to bring to this fan-base something it desperately desires - a consistent winner. This is the type of owner we should adore! How many of us would have done better, made all the right decisions, built a Super Bowl champion in 5 years? Don't answer that right away... just think about it. Now how many of us would have the courage to face the music and continue that commitment with the rash of events that happened in one tumultuous season?

This off-season may be the most important in the history of this team, but there is an owner here that has made it his business to leave no stone unturned to bring a winner here. I stand behind him.

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Very well stated and right on target. If people would step back for a minute and look at Blank doing exactly what he said he was going to do and that was leave no stone unturned. All of a sudden there are so many people critical of every whisper of a candidate that comes up and I am absolutely certain that most people had not heard or known much about them previously. That is a part of the lazy american culture. The less informed the stronger the opinion. The great part of the american culture is being completely overlooked. The pioneering spirit which says stop worrying about failure because there are usually set backs but the only true failure is either quitting or never trying at all.

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phattywankenobi (1/10/2008)
Very well stated and right on target. If people would step back for a minute and look at Blank doing exactly what he said he was going to do and that was leave no stone unturned. All of a sudden there are so many people critical of every whisper of a candidate that comes up and I am absolutely certain that most people had not heard or known much about them previously. That is a part of the lazy american culture. The less informed the stronger the opinion. The great part of the american culture is being completely overlooked. The pioneering spirit which says stop worrying about failure because there are usually set backs but the only true failure is either quitting or never trying at all.

Blank is going to succeed. He doesn't know failure. Atlanta may even turn out better than they would have been through these turn of events.

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Fans have a right to be critical of their team and the bone-head things an owner does. Look, no one's advicating shooting the man. He's a big boy, trust me. A. Blank doesn't need anyone shedding a tear for him. But the fact is, responsibility lies at his door ultimately, and he's taken none of it...bad luck, injuries, didn't know Vick was a thug, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah. He's the one that fired Reeves, He's the one that fired Mora, He's the one hired Petrino. He's the one that turned a blind eye to the building Vick-inevitability.

All of these are meer symptons of the underlying truth....succeeding in the NFL is a lot harder than selling hammers. and it takes patience, consistency and sticking to ones principles. Not booting someone as soon as things start getting ugly, or morever, unpopular (the A. Blank cryptonite). Example: Cower, cower, cower. He had HORRIBLE years in Pitt. He said and did numberous stupid things in the press, but did they fire him? No. Because they were behind the principles that the man brought to the game, good years and bad.

IMO..if ARTHUR doesn't change his management style, his approach to running the organization, then we my friends can expect a number years of extra doses of the same, just with different flavors and different names associated with the characters.

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Nativebird (1/11/2008)
Fans have a right to be critical of their team and the bone-head things an owner does. Look, no one's advicating shooting the man. He's a big boy, trust me. A. Blank doesn't need anyone shedding a tear for him. But the fact is, responsibility lies at his door ultimately, and he's taken none of it...bad luck, injuries, didn't know Vick was a thug, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah. He's the one that fired Reeves, He's the one that fired Mora, He's the one hired Petrino. He's the one that turned a blind eye to the building Vick-inevitability.

All of these are meer symptons of the underlying truth....succeeding in the NFL is a lot harder than selling hammers. and it takes patience, consistency and sticking to ones principles. Not booting someone as soon as things start getting ugly, or morever, unpopular (the A. Blank cryptonite). Example: Cower, cower, cower. He had HORRIBLE years in Pitt. He said and did numberous stupid things in the press, but did they fire him? No. Because they were behind the principles that the man brought to the game, good years and bad.

IMO..if ARTHUR doesn't change his management style, his approach to running the organization, then we my friends can expect a number years of extra doses of the same, just with different flavors and different names associated with the characters.

Now THAT is a good post! As a fan that watched the BUCS go through some of the most ridiculous moves over the last 31 years I agree 100%! It wasn't until Dungy got here in '96 that we finally started changing things. The whole "lambs to the slaughter" attitude of "Let's not blame the owner for all the ridiculous moves that have been made" is exactly what helps the madness continue. Fans that show their displeasure by voicing their opinions are going to be heard eventually. The whole "To err is human to forgive is divine" doesn't work in football. In everyday life? ABSOLUTELY! But, not in football.

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I grew up in the Tampa Bay area and endured exactly what you described from the very beginning. As much as I wanted NFL football finally in the area, I just couldn't get behind the team and therefore stayed a big-Falcon fan. Ultimately the Bucs made the changes and the rest is history...alas, I was long gone for Atlanta by then.

At least Arthur does write the checks...that's a start...but he needs to write them from the owner's box, not the sidelines. Rookie owner. Billionaire that wants a new sandbox.

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Nativebird (1/11/2008)
Fans have a right to be critical of their team and the bone-head things an owner does. Look, no one's advicating shooting the man. He's a big boy, trust me. A. Blank doesn't need anyone shedding a tear for him. But the fact is, responsibility lies at his door ultimately, and he's taken none of it...bad luck, injuries, didn't know Vick was a thug, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah. He's the one that fired Reeves, He's the one that fired Mora, He's the one hired Petrino. He's the one that turned a blind eye to the building Vick-inevitability.

All of these are meer symptons of the underlying truth....succeeding in the NFL is a lot harder than selling hammers. and it takes patience, consistency and sticking to ones principles. Not booting someone as soon as things start getting ugly, or morever, unpopular (the A. Blank cryptonite). Example: Cower, cower, cower. He had HORRIBLE years in Pitt. He said and did numberous stupid things in the press, but did they fire him? No. Because they were behind the principles that the man brought to the game, good years and bad.

IMO..if ARTHUR doesn't change his management style, his approach to running the organization, then we my friends can expect a number years of extra doses of the same, just with different flavors and different names associated with the characters.

Johnnybuc (1/11/2008)

Now THAT is a good post! As a fan that watched the BUCS go through some of the most ridiculous moves over the last 31 years I agree 100%! It wasn't until Dungy got here in '96 that we finally started changing things. The whole "lambs to the slaughter" attitude of "Let's not blame the owner for all the ridiculous moves that have been made" is exactly what helps the madness continue. Fans that show their displeasure by voicing their opinions are going to be heard eventually. The whole "To err is human to forgive is divine" doesn't work in football. In everyday life? ABSOLUTELY! But, not in football.

JB... you hate to love us don't you ;)

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