Truth be told, some of that disappointment stems from just having watched the Georgia Bulldogs go down in almost a similar fashion. In less than a two month span, fans of the Bulldogs and Falcons have come just yards short of reaching championship games.
Talk about heartbreak. There are divorces that end better than what fans of these two teams have had to endure.
Nevertheless, like the Bulldogs, the Atlanta Falcons had a great season. They finished 13-3, earned the number-one seed in the NFC and won their first playoff game in their last five tries. As has been said many times before, the Falcons spent the whole season being doubted by analysts and writers everywhere. Yet Sunday after Sunday, Atlanta rose to the occasion. Even in the playoffs, facing a hot Seattle Seahawks team with a bandwagon bigger than that circle that was around the moon the other day, Atlanta overcame Seattle and their own miscues and landed in the flew into the NFC title game.
gainst San Francisco, Atlanta looked and played like the better team for the first half. However, in the end, the will of the 49ers was simply too much. Let’s be clear here, the Falcons did not lose to a slouch; they lost to a team who was a play or two away from being in the Super Bowl last year. They lost to a team with a stingy defense and with one of the most talented offensive rosters in the entire NFL. Let’s be clear about this as well, the NFC championship was a good game. Atlanta played some of their best football and surprisingly was able to move the ball against a really good defense.
Falcons’ fans have not been kind but then again, we’re talking about a city that is known for not supporting their teams unless they are winning; just ask the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks. Both of those franchises have seen their fans support them in good times and kick them to the curb when it gets rough. Of course, there aren’t many moral victories given in sports, but it should be noted the sustained success Atlanta has experienced in football is something they have not seen over their 66-year history.
This is the team who traded Brett Favre, who let Deion Sanders go, who was embarrassed by Eugene Robinson and suffered from the Michael Vick scandal. To quote Langston Hughes, “Life ain’t been no crystal stair” for the Atlanta Falcons, however, as of late you now have to include when you talk about top teams in the NFL. The fans should be appreciative of that fact, especially in a city that is mostly known by athletes for its variety of strip clubs.
Yes, the Falcons lost. Yes, they have many questions to answer during the off-season in terms of player personnel but this is a good team. Instead of being bandwagon riders, Atlanta natives need to become true fans. Part of the reason traditional powers such as the 49ers or even the Dallas Cowboys remain relevant is because of the support of their die-hard fans.
After all, it was not very long ago when those very same 49ers who Atlanta lost too where losers. Besides, it could have been worse – they could have been the New Orleans Saints.