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Ok…So……Let’S Review The Situation Here


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Peyton...my hat is off to you,man...incredibly well-considered assessment of the state of this franchise and its history....we are no longer an embarrassment and regardless of playoff losses in the past 2 appearances(can't believe I'm even thinking we would need to apologize for making the playoffs and failing), a FALCONS fan can sport the colors with PRIDE....Rome was not built in a day to borrow a bit of a worn out truism...I'm excited every week now and as a fan, I'm not afraid of ANY other team in the NFL....

If other teams are choose not to fear or respect the FALCONS,they do so at their own peril...because we can hang with anyone in this league...

well....not so fast there

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I'm a relative newbie to Falcon fandom. I came on board in 2008 for reasons some of you already know, and I have to say, my timing couldn't have been better. But that doesn't mean I haven't known suffering.

I grew up in central Ohio and became a fan of the Bengals in their first season, 1968. I owe the Bengals a huge debt of gratitude for teaching me that living and dying with a pro football team is a sure-fire recipe for a slew of miserable Mondays and frequent looks from the significant other that say, "God, men can be such idiots." I'm pleased to say that it only took me four decades to get my priorities in better order.

So I'm not a die-hard fan anymore. I'm mostly a student of the game, a guy who can appreciate great play (and pathetic play) no matter who's on the field. But even if I didn't have a Falcons connection, I'd be drawn to this team. The head coach is the epitome of class. His staff is a dedicated, hardworking, talented group - there's not a d-bag in the bunch. Ownership is committed to winning (just try sometime to be happy with a team owned by Mike Brown). The front office is making four right moves for every misstep. There are great folks working at every level of the organization. And it all translates to success on the field.

I don't need a Superbowl win to be happy. I don't even need a winning season, but those are going to come along with regularity anyway because when you have an organization and people who do things right, success follows.

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I come to the board every day, you know, because my work is slow (government workers lol), and I want to get hyped about my team this year, and I see a lot of unhappy people on the board lately, worried about 3rd quarters and 3rd down percentages, noodle arms and porn staches, as well as other unsavory things, and I want to reach out and give everybody a hug and tell them “Everything is going to be OK.”

I want to tell you a story. First I want you to close your eyes. Wait…I guess you are reading this, not hearing it… so don’t close your eyes. But concentrate real hard on what you are reading cause it’s important that you remember.

The year is 2007. The Falcons have just hired Bobby Petrino, who is going to bring in his offensive genius and finally maximize the weapon that is Michael Vick. Only problem is…….Michael Vick gets in trouble…………and he ends up going to prison, humiliating himself, the franchise, and the city of Atlanta in the process.

It also turns out…..that Bobby Petrino is a royal pr1ck and not suited for the NFL personalities whatsoever. He immediately turns the Falcons locker room into a toxic workplace and nobody, and I mean nobody, is a happy camper. It doesn’t help that the Falcons are counting on Joey Harrington to save their season. Nice guy…..but not a starting QB in the NFL.

The 2007 season just turned into humiliation after humiliation. In the shadow of the Vick tragedy, and I don’t think it is a stretch in the football world to call that a tragedy, Joey throwing a pick 6 in the first quarter of the first game, Prater missing chip shots weekly that could keep the Falcons in the game, the Falcons incompetently blowing a 1st and goal from the 1 against Tennessee with an opportunity to tie, DeAngelo Hall with a thoroughly embarrassing melt down against the Panthers, and so on and so on and so on.

This epically humiliating season is magnified by 3 prime time national television performances, which the Falcons lose by a combined 59 points, with a 31-13 Thanksgiving defeat against the Colts being the best performance.

And as a final humiliation (or so we thought) for the downtrodden Birds, 24 hours after the last of these humiliating national TV appearances, a 34-14 home thrashing at the hands of the hated rival Saints, they watched their first year coach go on national TV with all those hicks in Arkansas and do that stupid Pig Sooey cheer.

The Vick and Petrino ordeal had devastated the franchise. Not only did the Falcons not have their handpicked head coach or franchise QB, but most of the franchise’s best players were getting old and washed up or wanted out.

So at the end of the 2007, a very poor Atlanta Falcons team lost a Pro Bowl RB, a Pro Bowl TE, and a Pro Bowl CB who was just entering what should have been the prime of his career.

So….let’s review: It’s the end of 2007. No franchise QB, No coach, No Pro Bowl RB, no Pro Bowl CB, no Pro Bowl TE, no good will, no prospects, nothing. Oh yeah, and a crippling twenty something million cap hit for prison dude.

In comes Bill Parcells to save the day? Chris Mortensen reports that Bill Parcells says he is going to take the job as VP of Operations of the Atlanta Falcons. Wait…no…he was just squeezing some more money at out of the Dolphins. Another kick in the gut.

The situation at that moment in time was just a microcosm of the entire history of this franchise. Every time throughout the history of the franchise that it looked like something good was going to happen, you could count on that there was going to be a new and long sustained depression of the franchise.

Home field advantage in 80? Epic 4th quarter meltdown against the Cowboys.

Get a wild card birth in 82? Great, now you are going to be pathetic losers for the next 8 years.

Glanville’s Gritz Blitz bringing us some glory in 91? Awesome, now we are headed directly back to loserville and watching our former star (Deion) humiliate us.

Jeff George and the Red Gun making it exciting in 95? Enjoy that, because he is going to humiliate the coach on national TV next year, and the team is going 3-13.

Our Shining Moment in 98? We don’t even have to wait to 99 for our humiliation this time, Eugene takes care of that the night before the Super Bowl, and the team folds in the big game. If that wasn’t bad enough, the franchise RB effectively ends his career the next season with a knee injury and the team goes 16-32 over the next 3 years.

Then there was the promise of number 7. He was going to end the dark ages for Atlanta.

Big win in Lambeau in 2002? Tragic broken leg in 2003, and the team folds.

NFC Championship appearance in 2004? Awesome. 2005 and 2006 are especially painful because there is no logic to the epic meltdowns of the team in both of those seasons. They just folded like a cheap suit both years.

They lost to terrible teams. 1-8 Packers. The Lions. The Cleveland Browns at home.

Those years included two horifically embarrassing home losses to the Panthers, where they beat us with the wild cat in one year and just plain beat down a team that had quit in the other.

Which brings us to 2007 - 2008. Make no mistake about it, people regarded this franchise as dead.

Blank brings in Thomas Dimitroff and the organization hires Mike Smith. Most of us fans have never heard of either guy, and I’d say there was some doubt about surfer dude and the anonymous Mr. Smith.

They sign Turner, an obvious signing the franchise needed to make, and they draft Matt Ryan with the 3rd pick.

I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that most of the fans hated that pick at the time.

The Falcons were the consensus worst team in the NFL in the preseason of 2008. All analyst at NFL.com picked them to go 3-13. They started 32nd in ESPN’s power rankings and all 13 ESPN Analyst picked the Falcons to finish last in the NFC South. Dr. Z said the Falcons would win 1 game and Peter Schrager picked them to go 0-16.

The perception of the Falcons was so low that they opened the season as 3 point home underdogs to the Detroit Lions, the team that actually did turn out to be the worst team not only of the season, but probably in NFL history.

Well, things didn’t go like all those “experts” thought they would. The Falcons had that magical season and if John Kasey would have missed a FG on week 17, the Falcons would have been the number 2 seed in the playoffs and probably would have ended up with home field throughout. D*mn it Kasey!!

So…..here we are, 3 and a half years later, about to complete our 4th straight winning season and probably see our 2nd consecutive playoff appearance and 3rd playoff appearance in 4 years (all 3 of those will be firsts, obviously).

The team is not perfect. The coaches make calls sometimes that aggravate me, the players sometimes do stupid things, TD makes moves that seem weird or risky to me.

But I sure do enjoy that every year now we aren’t talking about our draft position, but instead we are debating whether or not our team can make it to the Super Bowl. For the 3rd straight year we are having that discussion without feeling like homerlicious idiots. And I like that.

40-19.

This team doesn’t do any of the things that the aggravating teams of the past have done. They win games against inferior teams with historic proficiency, they almost always win games when they lead at half time, and with very very few exceptions, they don’t get blown out against anybody.

It’s a different world we live in now as a Falcons fan, and I quite like it.

So when I see somebody say they are “disappointed” or “pissed” or calling for somebody’s head because the team only won by 10 points instead of 20, or the team “doesn’t step on the throat”, not only do I disagree with them, but it makes not a bit of freaking sense to me in the world.

So…if I am defending Matt Ryan or BVG or Coach Smith or even Mike Mularkey and you ask me “Are you really happy with mediocrity?” I am going to think of what this franchise has been in my life, and I am going to tell you that if this franchise is mediocre, then you are d*mn right I am.

So....that's all I wanted to say.

A-mudderuckin-men sir.

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Great read.

It's a great reminder to stay positive, and to trust and support the team no matter what happens..

No matter what, things have been far worse, and that is something this fanbase should come together around, and use to lift the support for the team. Good thing to get some perspective at times.

So next time a fan is down on the team, give him a hug and remind him of the pains that were, and the fact that we are in a much better place now - grab a beer, stand up and scream your lungs out in support of the Falcons! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Cause things are good, and will be good for a long time. We've got to enjoy it!

Thanks, Peyton! What a great post..

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Great read.

It's a great reminder to stay positive, and to trust and support the team no matter what happens..

No matter what, things have been far worse, and that is something this fanbase should come together around, and use to lift the support for the team. Good thing to get some perspective at times.

So next time a fan is down on the team, give him a hug and remind him of the pains that were, and the fact that we are in a much better place now - grab a beer, stand up and scream your lungs out in support of the Falcons! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Cause things are good, and will be good for a long time. We've got to enjoy it!

Thanks, Peyton! What a great post..

Thanks for the compliment. I really didn't make this post to tell others how to feel, not at all. It's just that when I would say I thought the franchise was on the right track, I'd get a lot of comments like "Are you happy with mediocrity" or "So....you are fine with one and done in the playoffs."

The Falcons may indeed go one and done in the playoffs this year, and that would be a bummer. Winning in this league is hard.

I'm just really happy that the Falcons are in the mix every year now. It's a neat change.

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Thanks for the compliment. I really didn't make this post to tell others how to feel, not at all. It's just that when I would say I thought the franchise was on the right track, I'd get a lot of comments like "Are you happy with mediocrity" or "So....you are fine with one and done in the playoffs."

The Falcons may indeed go one and done in the playoffs this year, and that would be a bummer. Winning in this league is hard.

I'm just really happy that the Falcons are in the mix every year now. It's a neat change.

You didn't come across as trying to tell others how to feel, so don't worry about that..

Sometimes i understand that people want the best right away, but that just happens very very rarely in this league.. One cannot hope for that, and absolutely not demand it. Also, what I take from your post is this: "You have to remember where you came from, in order to make sense of where you are now". That applies pretty well to this team, and our fans.

I can understand that many fans want Lombardies, and I do too. I can even understand that some people want some changes with the team, if the arguments are sound.. I have stated my position about MM as well.. But we all want the same thing - a successful Falcons team. But we cannot become impatient in waiting for that goal (however one defines success), which is why we need a thread like this to remind us. This is football, and everything can happen - it does every year in different ways no one could predict. The Falcons are winning consistently, which puts us in the thick of it every year with an opportunity to go for the Lombardi. And that is a great thing in itself, and as you point out, also a very underappreciated thing.

Those opportunities are hard to come by in this league, and when we don't take advantage of them (like vs GB last year) a lot of people become impatient, which can lead to this underappreciation.. And that is why we need to remember the tough years to put things in perspective. As a fan, it is easy to want it all, but hard to wait for it - that is just the way it is.. I think that is especially true when a team has a history of mediocrity (and worse) like the one this franchise has had. But that is why we need posts like this - to balance the line of expectations, and to stay positive.

We are a good team, and we will be for years - we need to enjoy the ride.. Thats why we are fans really.. Thats not saying we cannot call for improvement, but we just need to know where we have been, in order to understand, and appreciate, where we are now.

Once again, great post.

Edited by niels petersen
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Bumping in honor of the Falcons making the playoffs for the 2nd straight season for the first time in history. As I've said several times in this thread, I'm absolutely stoked about rooting for a team that is in the mix each and every year.

Now let's see if our boys can do some damage when they get there.

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