Sunday’s game between the San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons had verifiable entertainment value! The Falcons brought back the 1966 black jerseys with the white pants! They even brought back the old school logo! The team signified the ocassion by using the hashtag #BringOutBlack! The atmosphere surrounding the tailgate parties as absolutely lit!
As the game approached its entertainment apex in the fourth quarter, I watched thousands of self-proclaimed Falcons fans stream for the exits. When Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw an interception to San Diego’s Denzel Perryman, fans were disgusted and headed for the MARTA train. More fans departed as Chargers kicker Josh Lambo tied the game at 30. Later, thousands of Dirty Birds threw in the towel when Falcons kicker Matt Bryant missed a potentially game-winning 58 yard field goal in the final seconds. At that point, the game was tied at 30 and headed to overtime.
I had one simple question: Why leave? The game isn’t over yet!
If you call yourself an Atlanta Falcons fan, you’ve been to the games through the Steve Bartkowski era. You danced with Deion Sanders and Andre “Bad Moon” Rison during the Too Legit 2 Quit era (my favorite era of Falcons football by the way). You were inspired when you watched the Michael Vick Experience. You currently enjoy the stability of Matt Ryan’s leadership to this point. The question remains: Why leave early?
The responses I’ve heard on sports talk radio and read on social media have been unconscionable. They range from, “I knew this team will disappoint me” to “Same ole Falcons,” to “They just won’t get right.”
Yet, if the team is winning games everyone will shout from atop Stone Mountain, “I have been a ride-or-die Falcons fan since I entered the world at Grady Hospital!”
The inconsistency is maddening.
The margin of winning in today’s NFL is smaller than it has ever been. 80 games this season have had scoring margins within 7 points or less, in the 4th quarter! That’s the most in NFL history through the first seven weeks of an NFL Season. Yet, some Fans willingly throw in the towel when the game is far from being decided!
I offer a solution to those fans that throw in the towel and give up on their Falcons: Ask the Falcons, “What have you done for me lately?”
Here is what the Falcons have done:
The Atlanta Falcons lead the NFL in total offense (3,035 total yards from scrimmage), yards per game (433.6 yards per game) and points per game (32.3). Quarterback Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 2,348 passing yards, tied with Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger with 16 passing touchdowns (Drew Brees has 17) and leads the NFC with a 113.6 quarterback rating. Even with their three losses to Tampa Bay, Seattle and San Diego (all three aren’t cupcakes), the Falcons still lead the NFC South with a 4-3 record.
If you’ve jumped on the Falcons bandwagon, don’t jump off yet. Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers will be the biggest game of the season. So much so, FOX and the National Football League decided to move the game from 1:00pm to 4:25pm to accommodate the national audience. I know what some of you are thinking: Packer fans will come near and far to watch the game, I’ll sell my ticket! I can fetch big money!
Don’t do it! Reconsider! Don’t turn the Georgia Dome into Lambeau Field South! America will be watching!
If there’s more green and gold than red and black in the stadium this Sunday, the internet assassins will come for the Dirty Birds! Then the talking heads on ESPN will make the same tired jokes about Atlanta sports fans! Show up and Rise Up Falcons fans!