Arthur Blank on the money with Super Bowl analysis

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

The folks at the Buckhead Business Association luncheon got some prophetic information from Falcons owner Arthur Blank last Thursday at the Atlanta Historical Center.

While Blank was clearly still coming to grips with the Falcons’ early playoff exit, one of the fans asked him for his Super Bowl prediction.

Here’s what Blank had to say:

“A lot of it is who is playing well at the end of the season.

“If the Patriots had gotten past the Jets, I would have bet on the Patriots because of their quarterback, personally. I don’t like to bet against the Steelers and they have a great quarterback. He’s not the prettiest quarterback, but he knows how to win. His record in the playoffs is outstanding. They are a strong choice and the Packers are playing very well. Chicago has a very good team, they have a good defense, their quarterback is excellent, but he can make mistakes. The quarterback for the Packers makes fewer mistakes. It wouldn’t shock me if we see a Packers vs. Steelers Super Bowl.”

Blank discussed several local topics of concern at the Buckhead Business Association.

Lolita B. Jackson, an executive from Georgia Power was installed as the BBA’s president. It was noted that she’s the first African-American female to head the powerful and influential civic minded organization. My man Caesar C. Mitchell, the president of the Atlanta City Council, was also in the building.

Here’s the Falcons story on Blank, but he spoke on other Falcons and football topics and I’ll share those here:

ON THE RISE UP COMMERCIAL: “You will see reflections of this campaign over the next few years. It will be evolving and changing somewhat.”

ON THE PLAY 60 COMMERICAL: “One of the reasons we were selected to do the PSA commercial that you’ve all seen, the Play 60, which is the NFL effort to deal with childhood obesity. It’s the one where I’m in tune and everybody else is not. .  . I’ve taken so much heat from my wife and children for that commercial because I’m obviously the only one that’s not in tune with everybody else.”

SKY IS NOT FALLING: “(Falcons coach Mike Smith) has said, ‘the sky is not falling.’ We are going to learn from this. We are going to get better from this. We have to put it in context of the body of work over the last three years and we have to be sensitive to people about doing that as well.”

FANS HAVE STOOD UP: “I could not be prouder of the way our fans stood up for this team and for this franchise since I’ve been the owner of this franchise. Over a nine-year period of time, we’ve had two games that were not sold out. That’s a tremendous credit to you in supporting this franchise. I want to thank you on behalf of the franchise and the players.”

(He didn’t rip the fans for leaving early.)

ON DISAGREEMENTS: “Disagreements – we do have them. But they are done respectfully. But overall, we are all moving together.

ON THE NFL’S LABOR SITUATION: “Yes, I think there will be football in 2011. We continue to work as hard as we can. We had an owner’s meeting here in Atlanta on Tuesday of (last) week. I had a smaller meeting, a dinner with the commissioner on Monday night, with other owners as he arranged small owner meetings as he continues to pull the ownership together.

“The owners are looking forward to having a successful conclusion to the bargaining process . . . We want a healthy league. A healthy league for all of the stakeholders. That’s starts with our fans, includes our ownership, our players, everybody that is connected to the NFL, our media partners, etc.

“My view is that we are in these negotiations. I’m hoping they will accelerate. The Commissioner is prepared to go 24/7. The commissioner and the negotiators that are involved are ready to do whatever it takes. Throwing themselves in the room, throwing away the key and have them feed them food under the doors, whatever it’s going to take . . . we need to get the NFLPA to step up with the same sense of urgency to make that happen.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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40 comments Add your comment

Alpha 9

January 24th, 2011
5:35 am

RMikel58

January 24th, 2011
5:45 am

Arthur Blank i thought you were in tune with the commercial and i didnt expect you to start dancing and bobbing your head…. Your the owner and i wouldnt expect that but you did smile as did Coach Smith.
There are no answers for the early departure from the playoff’s but Greenbay was a hot team coming in and very confident after beating Philadelphia.
If we keep John Abrahams another season its my hope that we get a better DE, also i think a TE possibly a veteran at that spot to replace Tony Gonzalez should be an option.
We need 2 very good CB’s on defense and a more active Safety the LB’s played great i thought.
We really need a RB to compliment Michael Turner. Turner is way too slow with no cut back ability or break away speed and lacks vision before hitting holes. Need a RB that has those accolades a rookie or vet.
WR- gotta get a very good WR so that it will take pressure off Roddy White. Yeah his numbers will drop but the it will help the team .

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falCANTS4ever

January 24th, 2011
6:31 am

2 funny Mike…they ran that ‘bus’ commercial into the ground…i support the kids getting exercise, but……geeze…gonzo is good for another year of 40 catches at 5yds a pop…and turner is good for another year of 200 carries at 2.9yds a pop….and Matty Melt…who knows?

Marcus

January 24th, 2011
6:31 am

Alright …lets trade some Home Depot shares for a speedy RB, a bookend DE, and a developmental TE (man, I wish we had snagged T. Beckum or A. Hernandez when we had the chance.)

Larry

January 24th, 2011
6:44 am

Mr. Ledbetter,

Arthur Blank was stating the obvious and the same talking points everyone was about the final four teams. There is nothing special about Arthur Blank predicting the Packers and Steelers in the Super Bowl when so did most people!

As for Ms. Jackson, when people like you learn to recognize one’s accomplishments without the outdated and unnecessary reference to their sex or race we can move forward with gender and racial equality in this world. If you and others in the media can resist this temptation it would certainly help. Otherwise, you’re simply perpetuating the problem; the same problem we must constantly read and hear about because of the race of a certain former Falcon QB.

Did Ms. Jackson achieve this because of her sex or race, or was she selected because she was the best possible candidate; if it was BECAUSE of her sex or race, it was newsworthy to reference this!

I think it is past time that for all of the HUMAN race that are legal citizens in this country for to be referenced as “Americans,” and stop qualifying it unless for medical purposes!

A Real Man

January 24th, 2011
6:49 am

RMikel58 wrote:

“Arthur Blank i thought you were in tune with the commercial and i didnt expect you to start dancing and bobbing your head…. Your the owner and i wouldnt expect that but you did smile as did Coach Smith.”

Dude, stop kissing butt and man up! Women run from dweebs like this into the arms of real men!

Falcons Chic

January 24th, 2011
7:52 am

Larry, let it be. There’re times when I enter a room and men butcher my last name to be Secretary and I never was one, hightailing it off to law school to avoid it. It is, what it is. Sometimes they are reminding the other sub-brains, not you.

That being said, I love the Play 60 commercial and the fact that Falcs were in it. Thanks for reeling in Gonzo for another year, Mr. B. After last week’s “recent unpleasantness,” I’m trying to rally forth in the off season which is a really sad state of affairs. Off season? NCAAs, hockey & basketball. That’s all I have to look forward to until… TRAINING CAMP.

falCANTS4ever

January 24th, 2011
7:56 am

i wonder what the catch phrase will be next year….’Rise Up’ didn’t get it done…maybe ‘Don’t Leave Early’….

Greg

January 24th, 2011
8:04 am

Great job Mr. Blank. I think you are one of the best, if not the best owners in NFL. You care about your fans, team, and organization. What I love about you is the fact you are down to earth. The average person can relate to Mr. Blank. But with all this said, Mr. Blank, you must act on free agency and the draft. Teams in the NFC like Dallas, Philadelphia, N.Y. Giants, Tampa Bay and New Orleans are going to be out for desperate next year. I say this for the reason teams either did not make the playoffs or the reason they exited the playoffs. Atlanta has to be smart in free agency and the draft. We have to fill the missing pieces. From a season ticket holder point of view, we need a speedy WR, a DB to assist Abraham, a excellent cover guy, a running back to change speeds with Turner, and a tight end to replace Gonzales. We can accomplish this by the draft and free agency. I really do like Champ Baily or Asomugha, Nnamdi. I love V. Jackson or T.O (ok M. Floyd). TE can come from draft. I love DeAngelo Williams (we let Peppers go, do not let this guy go). I love Houston from Georgia to assist Abraham. I know this is a wish list, but whatever moves the Falcons make, they must be smart ones. Also, our offensive coach did a great job, but we need to mix up our play calling, more screens, draws and WR or slot reverses. One play that I have seen gone from NFL that Petyon Manning ran was naked bootlegs when you are down by goal line..element of surprise. Also, if Big Ben can run options and scramble at times, so can our QB. Go Falcons. I can’t wait to next season.

BirdDog

January 24th, 2011
8:12 am

Gentlemen, please get the labor situation worked out. You are all very wealthy men, both owners and players. Put your egos aside and work out a compromise ad you will all still be very wealthy in the end. Thank you.

Greg

January 24th, 2011
8:13 am

Amen to that BirdDog

Larry

January 24th, 2011
8:18 am

Falcons Chic,

I respectfully disagree, Madam!

I believe the unnecessary and over-used expression of “African-American” serves to segregate and differentiate Americans versus Dr. MLK’s dream of desegregation, equality and togetherness. It is simply a more sophisticated version of “black power” and if we are to achieve a global “human race” of peace and harmony “letting it be” will not serve this purpose.

After the civil war, it has taken decades to restore this country to unity (still not totally there) and stop referring to one as the confederacy and one as the union. If desegregation and gender equality is to have any integrity then we must resist any temptation to compromise such integrity. Ironically, by feeding this we are, in fact, enabling it!

Besides, other than the first “native” Americans who first crossed the land bridge to our continent, we are all (fill in the blank)-Americans anyway so just what exactly is the point? Should I be referenced as an “Irish/German/Cherokee Indian-American?” Anyone legally born in this country is an American…period!

Greg

January 24th, 2011
8:26 am

stop it…we all are Atlanta Falcons fans

Larry

January 24th, 2011
8:29 am

Greg,

A paragraph is a useful reading tool, to wit:

“Great job Mr. Blank. I think you are one of the best, if not the best owners in NFL. You care about your fans, team, and organization. What I love about you is the fact you are down to earth.

The average person can relate to Mr. Blank. But with all this said, Mr. Blank, you must act on free agency and the draft. Teams in the NFC like Dallas, Philadelphia, N.Y. Giants, Tampa Bay and New Orleans are going to be out for desperate next year. I say this for the reason teams either did not make the playoffs or the reason they exited the playoffs. Atlanta has to be smart in free agency and the draft. We have to fill the missing pieces.

From a season ticket holder point of view, we need a speedy WR, a DB to assist Abraham, a excellent cover guy, a running back to change speeds with Turner, and a tight end to replace Gonzales.

We can accomplish this by the draft and free agency. I really do like Champ Baily or Asomugha, Nnamdi. I love V. Jackson or T.O (ok M. Floyd). TE can come from draft. I love DeAngelo Williams (we let Peppers go, do not let this guy go). I love Houston from Georgia to assist Abraham.

I know this is a wish list, but whatever moves the Falcons make, they must be smart ones.

Also, our offensive coach did a great job, but we need to mix up our play calling, more screens, draws and WR or slot reverses. One play that I have seen gone from NFL that Petyon Manning ran was naked bootlegs when you are down by goal line..element of surprise.

Also, if Big Ben can run options and scramble at times, so can our QB. Go Falcons. I can’t wait to next season.”

Greg

January 24th, 2011
8:37 am

Good point Larry..thanks!

Smiling Jack

January 24th, 2011
8:42 am

WOW! JUST WOW!! Larry. Now if we could only get everyone else saying “Americans” we would be a giant step closer to achieving national unity. But, then there would be educated American, uneducated Americans, poor Americans, rich Americans, beautiful Americans, ugly Americans, skinny Americans and fat Americans…..I haven’t the answer,s, but I’m with you over this African American bit. Why cannot they be Americans like the rest of us?

By the way, I love those Falcons….Go Falcons!

ATL Fan

January 24th, 2011
8:53 am

Here is a Theodore Roosevelt quote especially for Larry:

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.

This is just as true of the man who puts “native” before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance.

But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English- Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian- Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American.

Addressing the Knights of Columbus in New York City

12 October 1915

Navigator

January 24th, 2011
9:07 am

Look at the best franchise owner of all time, the Rooney family. They never went to the sidelines or fired coaches on the spot, and they waited 40 years to win their first championship, but their support for their franchise and coaching staff was never wavering. Now they have a chance to win their 7th superbowl, so maybe our owner can learn something, it doesn’t always happen in 9 years, maybe not 19 years. He has brought some good management, but he should slide back to being the owner and not the face of the franchise.

Larry

January 24th, 2011
9:08 am

ATL Fan,

I love it! Thanks!

ATL Fan

January 24th, 2011
9:17 am

Since we usually get one big signing in the off-season, who would be the best? I think re-signing Grimes is a must. This may make another big name signing more difficult.

I would love to see Asomugha here to complete the secondary. However, I think our need of a DE appears to be a more urgent.

We have many areas to improve in: #2 WR; pass rush (2nd DE and up-the-middle push); 3rd cornerback; speedy RB (like a healthy Jarious Norwood).

Question marks: Will Sam Baker live up to 1st round draft status? Or will fellow 1st rounder Peria Jerry become that push up the middle we need? Will a second year in the defense be what Dunta Robinson needs to be our #1 corner? Is it time to give up on Norwood ever being healthy? Can Sidbury be that needed DE pash rusher?

With the O-line getting older, Baker may move and give way to a better “blind sider” protecter.

Free agency and draft will be able to help in some of these areas, but it’s unlikely that we will be able to plug all the holes. All teams have holes, it’s up to the coaches to keep them from sinking the ship.

ATL Fan

January 24th, 2011
9:17 am

Thought you might Larry; you’re welcome.

Columbus

January 24th, 2011
9:23 am

That picture looks like it was taken with a cheap cell phone…..

Greg

January 24th, 2011
9:27 am

ATL Fan, I agree 110%

concernedfalcon

January 24th, 2011
9:51 am

I hope we do not have 2011 season, unless there are major upgrades to defense with a average offense, we do not stand a chance anyway next season.

True Falcon Fan

January 24th, 2011
9:53 am

You can bet on it by 2020 – The games will be played in North ATL, just outside of 285!!!!!!!

Greg

January 24th, 2011
9:59 am

The Packers has the Cheese Heads and Pittsburgh has the terrible towels. Atlanta Falcons needs to invent a signature item. Any suggestions!
We as fans must become creative and support our Falcons 100%. We as fans must look at ourselves and adjust our attitudes.
After we lost to GB, all the GB fans moved down closer to the field. I stayed about 20 minutes after the game clock struck 0:00. I understood why Falcons fans were hurt and some wanted to try to beat the traffic. I wanted to take it in, I wanted to hurt, I was angry, but all these feelings and the GB fans cheering only made me want to support my Falcons more. It was like a funeral of a love one..the loss hurts for days but the pain ease as goes by. My point is, the past is the past, we must look toward the future and this starts with free agency, draft and fan support.
I bleed Falcons Red!
Yes, I am a fan that knows we have GB on the calendar next year. They come to our house again. I also know we must prepare for each team one at a time.
For the 2011-2012 season, we as fans need to come out stronger. I already started off by requesting better season tickets seats for next year. Falcon players, fans and organization, you have my support. We need to protect our House next season and feed off our great season and quick exit playoff.
Go Falcons!!!!

Sick & TIred Of Being Sick & Tired

January 24th, 2011
10:00 am

I still don’t understand why folks are still harping on the Falcons’ fans leaving early in the blowout game. Hell…..the Patriots’ fans did the exact same thing. I for one am glad that we had a great regular season (13-3), but at the same time, I, along with some of my closest friends left a little earlier than usual to start the after-game tailgate party since it was going to be the last one for the season and we continued to support the team while listening to the rest of the game from the gulch parking lot enjoying great liquid spirits and food without the high prices charged in the dome. They already had our money so what’s the point????

For all of you that are railing against hyphens…..maybe if America and its wonderful AMERICAN CITIZENS HAD HISTORICALLY TREATED ALL OF ITS CITIZENS LIKE AMERICANS (or started NOW treating its citizens like Americans without all the biases) then probably none of this would have occurred in the first place, e.g., the folks who felt the need for the hyphens. BTW…..I agree that it can be perceived as divisive but so can all the name calling in the political arena, and/or all of the posturing based on social/religious agendas, etc. It’s funny how some folks get all caught up in some things while wanting to totally ignore others that are more significant and definitely cause more divisiveness in this country…..WHY IS THAT??????…….

Now back to the article topic….I’m glad that Blank purchased the Falcons from the Smith Family (the perennial jokes of the NFL) and he continues to make strides. This team is definitely headed in the right direction along with the coaches, players, front office, etc. The majority of the games this year were exciting and entertaining football games and I will continue to support the team!!!!! GO FALCONS!!!!!

done

January 24th, 2011
10:28 am

Mr Blank…can you buy the Braves, Hawks and Thrashers too?

Birdthethird

January 24th, 2011
10:32 am

I like Mike Tomlin’s quote today after the AFC Championship game:”We were playing to win, we weren’t playing not to lose.” In today’s NFL you have to make up for sub-par talent with sheer unpredictability and “wileyness”. Mike Smith will take a risk, one Mike Mularkey will not. “I wanna be like Mike [Tomlin]!”

Greg

January 24th, 2011
10:38 am

Amen Birdthethird….WE PLAY THE GAME TO WIN.

I still give Mularkey credit. Next year, we will see if he adjust. He did help us get to 13-3.

Joycee Banicheck

January 24th, 2011
10:56 am

Is Dunta Robinson’s hair made out of a fire resistant material? Just wondering because he got torched all season and yet his hair never got shorter…

Dwayne

January 24th, 2011
11:45 am

Dunta’s hair meets the FAR 25.853(a) for flame retardant products. All such hair products must meet this requirement thanks to Micheal Jackson’s Pepsi incident.

hbcuclassics

January 24th, 2011
3:08 pm

2011 HBCU Draft Board – WRs (1-5)

1. Raymond Webber 6′2, 218 WR Ark-PB
AP/FCS All-American, Walter Payton Award Finalist
led NCAA 101 rec. 1,429yds 10TDs 129.9ypg.
only receiver w/ more receptions is Jerry Rice.
Coach: Monte Coleman (don’t be stupid on this one)

2. Ricardo Lockette, 6′3, 199 WR/KR FVSU
2009 DII 200 Meter Champion
23 rec./232 yds. 4.39-4.41/40yd. dash
Mentor: Terrence Mathis – track guy

3. Ronnie Childs 6′2 195 WR Albany State
BASN All-American, All-SIAC, SIAC Champ 11-1
45 rec./ 22ypc./12TDs – (all he does is catch TDs)

4. Jeremy Franklin 6′3, 199 WR/KR JC Smith
3x All-CIAA, JC Smith All-time leading receiver
55 rec/823 yds/5 TDs – fierce, beats up DBs.

5. Larrone Moore 6′0, 185 WR/KR Delaware St.
25 rec. 450yds 4TDs, 18.8ypc – another track guy
2x Maryland 4A 100m champ, 55m Maryland State champ
4.29-4.36/ 40yd dash (has Deion-like speed)

http://www.hbcuclassics.com

RobbE33

January 24th, 2011
3:48 pm

Thanks, Arthur, for making the Falcons a respectable NFL franchise, for changing the culture of the locker room, for bringing in players of high character and coaches with long-term goals.

Open Minded

January 24th, 2011
4:45 pm

Mr. Blank,
If you need a better deal with the Ga Dome to be able to spend max. on the best players…please go get it done. If you cannot get them to budge, then go to the public and let us know, we’ll help bring the pressure you need.
A championship team will lift the entire state, we need to work on these things together if necessary.
We want a champion, let us help!

hangman

January 24th, 2011
5:49 pm

RMikel58 … in your wish list to AB, you should add a BIG nose tackle and DC. We need to put pressure up front & in the middle for the D to work better.

Falster

January 24th, 2011
9:49 pm

falCANTS4ever
January 24th, 2011
7:56 am

i wonder what the catch phrase will be next year….’Rise Up’ didn’t get it done…maybe ‘Don’t Leave Early’…. but maybe something like “Who, Who Dat (Seahawks) Say Dey Gonna Beat Dem Former SuperBowl Champs! :)

Waffle House or Bust

January 24th, 2011
11:38 pm

So was that picture taken with your phone dude?

Falcons Chic

January 25th, 2011
1:45 am

Well said, Larry. I defer. You too Birdman.

I do like the idea of starting our own tradition be it a bandana tie, bandana head thing, or something NOT bandana. Maybe a whizzer sound thing like the kids receive at birthday parties to hit 115? When we went to Africa this summer, I noticed a lot of folks sported colors woven into their dreds for their favorite soccer teams. It was instructional to be there after the futbol contest for the centuries. (So glad I didn’t have to look at those orange uniforms in real time.)