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Bill Reader, deputy sports editor at The Seattle Times, puts a spin on the tired traditional “city vs. city” story by examining the respective pop culture benchmarks of his city and Atlanta rather than arguing about traffic, parks and airports.
(He still couldn’t resist getting in a couple shots at our weather–Seattle is one to talk–and Ted Turner, but we’ll that slide because he name checks MLK Jr., Jimmy Carter and the Starlight-Six Drive-In Theatre.)
Among Reader’s categories are “Best movie set in city” and “Current hitmakers.” That makes sense because each city has been featured in some famous flicks and is home to important music movements. But Grunge is dead while hip-hop is forever, so Atlanta’s rappers trump some dude named Macklemore.
Reader also has a category called: “Most bizarre housing crisis involving a prominent local athlete.” That’s really just an excuse for him to bring up Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (RIP) burning down Andre Rison’s mansion, which is fine because
FLOWERY BRANCH — Here’s a look at how the Falcons run defense matches up against Seahawks run offense.
Falcons starters: Weakside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (114 tackles), middle linebacker Akeem Dent (79 tackles) and strongside linebacker Stephen Nicholas (led team with 116 tackles).
Falcons key reserves: Linebackers Mike Peterson and Robert James.
Seahawks starters: Running back Marshawn Lynch (1,590 yards, 11 touchdowns) and fullback Michael Robinson.
Seahawks key reserves: Robert Turbin and Leon Washington.
Matchup to watch: Dent vs. Lynch
The Falcons gave up 123.2 rushing yards per game during the regular season, which ranked 21st in the league.
The Seahawks, powered by Lynch and his “Beast Mode” style, rushed for 161.2 yards per game, which ranked third in the league.
The Falcons played a lot of nickel and dime packages this season. They
Matt Ryan is 0-3 in his career in the playoffs as his #1 seeded Falcons host the Seahawks in an NFC Divisional playoff matchup. CineSport’s Noah Coslov and The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter discuss.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is under intense playoff pressure
OTHER RECENT STORIES
View from Seattle: Seahawks busting myths?
By MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is sticking to his pledge that he’s “95 percent” certain he will retire after the season.
That means Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Seahawks, his 260th when including the playoffs, could be his last in the NFL.
“It’s one and done if we don’t win, (so) for me, this could be it,” he said. “There is no tomorrow. There is no saying, ‘We’ll get them next year.’ It’s about going out there and finishing on the right note.”
Gonzalez, 36, is winding down a career that’s still going strong. He recently was voted to his 14th
FLOWERY BRANCH — In his first playoff game in the NFL, Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter helped Jacksonville post a monumental victory.
On the way to the AFC title game, Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith, helped the Jaguars post a 31-29 victory over Pittsburgh on Jan. 5, 2008.
Koetter was quick to note that with the victory the Jaguars became the first team to beat the Steelers at home twice in the same season.
Things went downhill for Jacksonville after that big win. They lost to Tom Brady and New England 31-20 on Jan. 12, 2008 and haven’t made it back to the playoffs. Smith would move on and become the Falcons’ head coach.
Koetter later followed, joining the staff last offseason. He’s now preparing for his third playoff game and hasn’t been a part of the Falcons’ recent playoff failures.
“This is what you play for,” Koetter said. “This is why you’re doing it, to
Who: Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler
What: NFC wild-card game, Falcons vs. Packers
When: Jan. 4, 2003
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
Score: Falcons 27, Packers 7
What happened: The Falcons punched a hole in the Lambeau Field mystique.
The way people were talking, the Falcons might as well have stayed in Atlanta.
Certainly the Falcons, a team from a Southern city that played in a dome, couldn’t win at Green Bay in January. This Atlanta team, with flashy quarterback Michael Vick and losers of three of its past four games, wouldn’t be the opponent to sully the Packers’ 11-0 playoff record at Lambeau Field.
If any of the Falcons thought the same, Crumpler said that changed when the team got to Green Bay.
“For some reason, it wasn’t very cold in Green Bay,” he said. “Once we were able to get over that, we were able to focus on the game.”
Until that day, the closest the Packers had come to losing
Big Boi figured it was his duty to go to ESPN’s studios and defend the Falcons.
So the Atlanta hip-hop legend, whose real name is Antwan Patton, showed up on ESPN’s “First Take” program this week and declared: “The Super Bowl has got to come through Atlanta.”
“I’m here as an ambassador,” Big Boi said. “We are ready.”
When host Skip Bayless cited the Falcons’ recent playoff failures and asked Big Boi why he thought it would be different this time, he cited the “spirit of the city.”
“It’s about the city and the energy the city has got right now,” he said. “Atlanta is turned up.”
Big Boi, however, said Falcons’ players should shun certain entertainment options before the game.
“As long as everybody stays out of Magic City and Diamonds of Atlanta, we are going to be good,” he said, referring to two of the city’s famous strip clubs. “Wait until Monday to go. Everybody stay home.”
Big Boi suggested that Magic City should have “Seahawks night”
The Seahawks, in need of a kicker after Steven Hauschka was placed on injured reserve this week, ended up signing long-time veteran Ryan Longwell.
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune writes that Longwell’s career can come full circle if he can make a big kick for the team he rooted for as a kid:
RENTON — All Ryan Longwell has to do now is kick the winning field goal in this Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons to make the story complete.
The previous Sunday evening, he was sitting on his couch in Orlando, Fla., thinking about the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon that he and his wife were scheduled to run this weekend.
A day later, he was at the Virginia Mason Athletic Complex where he was among four players trying out for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
On Tuesday, he was introduced as the new kicker for the Seattle Seahawks, replacing the injured Steven Hauschka, who was placed on injured reserve
There are plenty of tickets available on the secondary market for the NFC divisional playoff game between the Falcons and Seahawks on Sunday at the Georgia Dome but the team is warning fans about counterfeit tickets.
The Falcons issued the following guidelines today: