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Put on my binoculars

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I have a heavy heart. The sting of Saturday's game is still banging around in my 4-chambered life machine. But my gut remains optimistic and steadfast.

To the people that are reading this; I'm 34 years old, a life-long Falcons fan. I first played football in 1983, all the way up to my sophomore year in college when I blew out my knee. My first football experience wasn't something I can remember. It was 1980, at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, the NFCCG with my mom and Dad. I was a little tot, and told later in life that my seat was given up for a man to sit there as I was held in my mom's arms.

Am I establishing credibility as a Falcons fan? Maybe. What I'm really doing is letting y'all know that the name on the front of the jersey is so much more important to me than the one on the back. I love this team.

I love this city! Born and raised here, I support every team of this city. But I've always viewed football as THE SPORT. It's the game. Sure, I loved watching Nique, Spud, and Rivers work their magic on the court. I remember the only reason to go to AFC Stadium outside of football season was to watch the Braves. And when I say Braves, I mean Dale Murphy. Ok, maybe to hear the announcer say "now batting atting atting (the PA system used to echo back then), Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuce Benedict enedict enedict!" Hey, there were 5 to 6 thousand people in the stands back then. Whatever they could do to keep us there, they'd do it. That was back when if it rained, you got a double-header the next day. And if you brought your ticket stub, you got two watch two games for the price of one. And in the Braves case, it meant two losses! Yay! But I didn't know any better.

I had the privilege, and I do mean privilege, of going to a ton of Falcons games. My dad isn't rich, but he too played football in college and loved the sport. So his love became my love. I have followed this team since before I can remember. This was before the days of transplants moving into Atlanta for work and bringing their fanaticism with them.

Although I wasn't old enough to remember 1980, or the Gritz Blitz, I do remember 1991 and Mark Richt/Redskins. I remember the 1998 season. I remember Vick.

What I don't remember, is a solid platform. It always seemed to be a gimmick. I never questioned why Deion was let go, when he was Mr. Atlanta. Leading the league in triples for the Braves (with less than 200 AB's), and rocking the new-built dome with returns and interceptions. And I didn't understand why he got into a slap-fight with Rison when he was playing for the 49ers, and I and my family were sitting in row 15 on the goal line watching this happen.

I was a kid. We were awful. The best part of many, many games was the fat 96 rock guy getting up and dancing to Elvis while the cameras put him on the big screen. I'm not kidding, that was sometimes the highlight of games.

All the nostalgia aside, I'm older now. I look back in retrospect and realize that it wasn't a coincidence. Deion left because we didn't pay him. We didn't succeed because our ownership was awful.

But now it's not. It's a guy that wants to win. Some call me a Vick hater, but that's not true. When Blank bought this team, I didn't think twice about it. But when he signed Vick... to the biggest sports contract EVER, I was EXCITED. My father was excited. My friends were excited. This CITY was excited!

I liked that. It made me like the guy before he ever took the field. But I digress, that's a touchy situation, and one in which I don't want to get into.

The real point of bringing that up is I was a young man, and I had seen this kind of aggressive signing before... with Ted Turner. The Braves were the hot ticket in this town. Competing... winning... it was new to me. That 1995 World Series was so sweet. It was so huge. It was... awesome (for a lesser word).

And I saw that same thing brewing with the Falcons. I've never been more pumped.

Fast forwarding... we beat Green Bay *IN* Green Bay. C'mon people. That was our moment. I remember it like yesterday. It was all going to happen!

And then it didn't.

And then the humiliation set back in.

And it hurt. It hurt real bad.

Now it's time to put on the binoculars, and see it in my perspective.

It's that same owner, that owner that wants to win. But it's not about one player anymore. Granted, that one player was bigger and more merchandised/advertised than any player I've ever seen with an Atlanta uniform on (including Hank Aaron). But in this day and age, it's about the team.

Yeah, I stand behind Matt Ryan. But I have so much faith in the ORGANIZATION now. Too Legit To Quit and Deion are behind me. Vick and the experience are behind me. M&M and Chuck Smith are behind me. Bartkowski, June Jones, Dan Reeves, Heyward are behind me. They are not forgotten, but are fading as a memory.

I've never been so confident in the organization as I am now. We've had the coach one year. We've had the QB another year. We've had the swagger yet another year.

But we've never had it all in the same year.

I know this last playoff game hurts. It hurt me big time.

But please... put on the binoculars. Look ahead, just one more time. This isn't the same ol' Falcons. Do you not share the same sentiment as I do? We're not going to cut our foundations. We aren't going to go to a losing season next year.

We're going to get better. It's what we have been doing for the past three years. It's not going to stop. It's going to get better.

I believe it's going to get better with the same heart, gut, and brain that has been devoted to this team for over 30 years. It's not being a homer. I am older now. I am wiser now. And I truly believe in this team.

Flame on if you must, Falcons brethren. But I think this team has nothing but potential. They want what we want. After a loss like this, they won't tuck tail like the Rankin Smith family. They will, pardon the phrase, RISE UP. They will add another piece. They will improve.

They will give us what we and they want: a trophy.

And if you don't believe that, it's your prerogative.

But if they do deliver this city a Lombardi, I ask you just one question, a rhetorical question; think that would be enough?

I don't. I think that if/when we win a championship, the next year will be focused on winning another one.

And truth be told, a dynasty is something I don't know how to handle. Yet, I'm willing to learn.

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+1 brother, I needed that as it helps my pain a lot!

I'm slowly coming around after letting my anger take over saturday night. We're getting there!

Thanx again.

Trust me bro, I'm right there with you. This isn't an inspirational post to get rid of the pain. The pain is right there.

I just wanted to shed some light on the situation that some can't see because their eyes are closed.

+1 back atcha

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