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Atlanta Falcons: Cellar Dweller to Championship Contender


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Early in 2008, Arthur Blank and Rich McKay made two crucial moves which would forever change the Atlanta Falcons.

First, they hired former New England Patriots director of college scouting, Thomas Dimitroff. Then, along with Dimitroff, they hired Mike Smith, former defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From there, this revamped front office made two more moves in the following months that would start the transition that we see today. They signed Michael Turner, free agent running back from San Diego and they took Matt Ryan 3rd overall in the 2008 draft.

I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I feel it's important to bring up these moves before I get to my main point. These changes shaped the Atlanta Falcons franchise in a way that had been tried many times before, but failed each and every time.

In 2008, they stunned the NFL going 11-5 and making it into the playoffs. The team received accolades such as GM of the Year, Coach of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year, but, ultimately, they fell short and started preparing themselves for 2009. In the words of Mike Smith, “It's a process.”

In 2009, the Falcons suffered many injuries to key players including Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Peria Jerry, William Moore and Brian Williams, but still managed to finish the season 9-7. Although it was little consolation to the players and coaching staff, it was the first back to back winning seasons in the history of the organization. A history which stretches all the way back to 1966, the longest such streak in all of professional sports.

The Falcons began 2010 with high aspirations again. They tasted the playoffs in 2008 and they wanted more. They're well on their way to achieving that goal. By beating the Green Bay Packers, they've put themselves atop the NFC with a 9-2 record.

This marks their 3rd winning season in a row, a far cry from your father's Falcons. In 44 years, the Falcons have 12 winning seasons. Three of those over the last 3 years. This new regime has brought change to the Atlanta Falcons in every facet of the organization.

You likely won't hear about these consecutive winning seasons for the Falcons, but ask any fan, it's a big deal. For a team who was a perennial bottom-feeder, the Atlanta Falcons are putting their name in the hat as one of the NFL's elite. All they need to strengthen their argument is a ring and this team seems to be on the path to do just that.


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It is a big deal. Atleast to us...We went many years without seeing a consistent winning football team and now we have it!! FINALLY

About time.

I think it is a big deal for any fan. Posting 3 consecutive winning seasons means you are not a fluke team that only gets north of .500 when the schedule is easier. It builds the fans' faith and confidence in the team.

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I applaud the way that Mr. Blank has evolved as an owner.

He started with MV7 as his QB, and attempted to build the team around him. He made a couple of questionable moves. One was when he pushed to get Peerless Price, thinking he would be the #1 receiver that Vick needed. Sadly, Price hated "us all". The other was hiring Mora. I think he wanted to put his stamp on the team and made a statement by firing Reeves. Mora went 11-5 with Reeves' team, then regressed from there.

Then, he hired Quittrino. At the time, even though it was a questionable hire, Blank was still trying to develop Vick. He wanted an offensive minded coach, and if not for Dog Gate, who knows what might have happened?

But now, as the article says, he has gone with intelligent football minds and has removed himself to the background as far as football decisions go. I admire that. Thankfully, he's not in the same category as someone like Snyder, who just won't learn and refuses to change his approach. The result is a strong, sound and winning franchise.

Kudos to Arthur Blank.

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