Yahoo! Falcons to Super Bowl; Richt hammered again

Three more games for the locals this weekend. You get one item for each. Don’t be greedy. . . .

FALCONS

Just a little "Dirty Bird" flashback.

Just a little "Dirty Bird" flashback.

This might come as a surprise, given that the Falcons have played only four games this season and they’ve never posted consecutive winning records. But there’s tangible evidence that Atlanta fans are thinking about the Super Bowl.

Just stumbled on a story on Yahoo!, which not surprisingly makes Yahoo! central to the story (and that’s the first time I’ve had to type an exclamation point twice in one sentence).

According to (wait for it) the “Yahoo! Buzz Index,” Atlanta and Chicago were the top two cities for searches for, “Super Bowl 2010,” coming off last weekend. Apparently, the Falcons’ 45-10 win over San Francisco prompted fans to let their minds wander a little bit. The Bears actually were off last week, so Chicago fans presumably just had a lot of time on their hands. Regardless, it’s ironic that the Falcons and Bears play each other Sunday in the Georgia Dome.

Now, here’s where the whole, “Well, if we’re Yahoo! searching it than it must be true” concept falls apart. The city with the third-most Super Bowl searches was Los Angeles, which doesn’t even have an NFL team.

By the way: I’ll save you a search. The Super Bowl is Feb. 7 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Here’s a link to a countdown clock on SuperBowl.com.

Are you making plans, or do you think we should wait at least until after the Bears game?

GEORGIA

We've seen this look a lot lately.

We've seen this look a lot lately.

The Georgia-just-ain’t-Georgia story has become a hot topic in several media outlets. But would you have thought to compare Mark Richt’s situation to that of former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville? I would not have, given that Auburn was looking to get rid of Tuberville ever since school officials secretly met with Bobby Petrino behind an airplane hangar in 2003 (before Tuberville went 13-0 in 2004)

But here’s some interesting — and stinging — analysis from Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News:

Put it on Mark Richt’s coaching tombstone. He was Lane Kiffin’s first SEC victim.

So this is what the beginning of the end looks like.

It looks like the second coming (and going) of Tommy Tuberville, another nice guy who finished his otherwise productive tenure by finishing last.

No one expects Georgia to finish last this season, though the Bulldogs will find it difficult to win even the B flight of the SEC East.

No one expects Richt’s tenure to end this season, either, but these things tend to follow a pattern.

A popular coach becomes unpopular gradually, and then suddenly, and no one can foretell exactly when the slow descent will pick up enough mass and speed to become a runaway snowball.

No doubt Richt has accumulated enough good will to survive another disappointing season, but let’s just say it would be in his best interest for his Bulldogs not to lose to Florida 36-0.

He makes some good points.

I’ve never written that Richt’s job should be in trouble, only that the team’s direction can be questioned right now and that whatever he was doing before isn’t working now. But the criticism of the program and the coaching staff this season has grown to a level I haven’t seen in the 20 years that I’ve lived here. Some of that is because of Richt’s success. He won two SEC titles and raised the expectation level. This is the downside of that. Your thoughts?

GEORGIA TECH

Tech sells out the UGA game, but many are Dog fans.

Tech sells out the UGA game, but many are Dog fans.

This isn’t an item off the wire, just an editorial minute: The Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech is not sold out yet, and that’s beyond disappointing. The Jackets, who are ranked 19th and have a chance to go to a BCS bowl if they can work their way into the ACC title game, are hosting the No. 4 team in the nation on a Saturday night on national television — and they can’t sell out the game?

Dean Buchan, assistant athletic director for media relations, said just over 1,000 tickets remain for the game. “We expect it to approach capacity. It could sell out but it will depend on the walk up.”

I’m aware of all the factors, including the economy. But to not sell out a stadium of 55,000 by the Friday before a game of this magnitude is stunning.

340 comments Add your comment

Student

October 16th, 2009
1:08 pm

Notice that a full bobby dodd stadium includes about 25,000 Georgia fans

Karma Police

October 16th, 2009
1:14 pm

Jeff, please never show that Dirty Bird dance again. The football Gods punished Atlanta for 10 years after that season. The football Gods punish all silly dances and songs. (See Ickie Shuffle and that horrid Houston Oiler song.)

Hillbilly Deluxe

October 16th, 2009
1:14 pm

This is my required daily page view and post.

Wreckin & Thrashin

October 16th, 2009
1:16 pm

Sorry Jeff… you got fooled too…. that’s an infamous photo-shopped picture of the last GT-Auburn game. There were a lot of Auburn fans even in the real picture, but the stadium wasn’t that orange.

Paleeeze

October 16th, 2009
1:18 pm

Sounds like the typical Georgia Tech reputation – It takes the visiting team to sell the stadium – and they want to talk trash about Georgia – Little gnats, get some respect!!

Pitbull

October 16th, 2009
1:18 pm

It pains me to say it but when I see UGA play and then watch GT, the GT players have more discipline than the UGA players. For example:

1 The GT players toss the ball to the ref and run towards their bench when they score rather than celebrating like they have never been in the end zone before.

2 The GT offensive line players block their assignments and open holes. UGA linemen look confused as to whom to block.

3 The GT defensive backs stay with their assignments. UGA defensive backs were barely in the picture when UT receivers made Crompton look like Johnny Unitas.

4 The GT players stay with their units and their position coaches on the sidelines getting ready to go back into the game. I saw UGA players dancing for crowd behind the bench in one game this year.

5 The GT players seem determined to win. The UGA players look like they are playing scared and are hanging on.

6 The GT players do not make many penalties. The UGA players make stupid penalties that cost them wins.

It is all poor coaching. Coaching preparation for this season should have started with conditioning drills last February. The coaching staff needs to get the players on the same page with improved position coaching and an actual game plan for the week’s opponent.

Has success made the coaches and players at UGA lazy in their preparation and play? They sure do not appear focused enough to win. And that is on the head coach. I love him, but he needs to get their attention and if that means getting pissed off then that is what he needs to do.

The coaches are not his friends. They are his employees. The players are not his friends. They are student athletes that need to be taught the self discipline and position techniques to compete on the field.

Also, Evans needs to quit loading the schedule. The players are exhausted.

Mark

October 16th, 2009
1:18 pm

Richt, like Gailey and Dooley, rode the coat tails of a superior defensive coach (Tenuta and Irk)to keep games close so his conservative offensive philosophy could win close games. Now, without the defense to hold up their end, we are seeing that his offense is just not capable of running with the SEC. With Greene and Shockley – along with a great defense – he could win the close games. Not anymore —

Burdell

October 16th, 2009
1:19 pm

There is more red in that picture than was left in Sanford Stadium at the end of the game last November, that’s for sure.

I agree Schultz, what a sad state of affairs that we can not manage to sell out the game tomorrow…even with the questionable double press release yesterday about the ticket “scam”! But the tickets available are the returns from VT….you don’t ever see that mentioned anywhere.

GO JACKETS!! BEAT THE HOKIES!!!

Jaded Jacket

October 16th, 2009
1:20 pm

Not sold out yet? I’m a season ticket holder and I’m ashamed of my fellow Tech fans. Sad!!

Mean Dean

October 16th, 2009
1:21 pm

GT fans should be embarassed about the lack of interest in their football program. Ashamed.

UGA fans should get realistic. You lose MS and KM to the NFL and you expect your team to be great. Having said that, Richt MUST make some major changes on his staff at the end of the season. I love Richt. He’s a Tony Dungy-type guy who recruits well and wins. And I hope he’s at UGA for a long time. But he’s got to dump Martinez at least, otherwise it’s going to get ugly.

JT

October 16th, 2009
1:22 pm

It is surprising that the VT game isn’t sold out, but that’s one of the differences between GT fans and SEC fans. Personally I prefer watching big games on TV because you miss so many details when you’re actually at the game. I do remember students camping out for tickets every time we had a ranked team at home, and I assume they still do. I know the objective is to make money, but maybe Tech should consider giving out more student tickets as our alumni aren’t the type of people who set aside an entire day on their weekend for football.

Native Atlantan

October 16th, 2009
1:29 pm

Richt wanted to play “buddy ball” and is now paying the price. The D has gotten steadily worse since Van Gorder left leading to Martinez at DC and the hiring of John Jancek.

It seems the other teams D knows what Mike Bobo is going to do before the offense does. Is it just me or does it look like UGA has far more significant injuries year after year. I thought one of the Strength and Conditioning coaching responsibilities was to put players in shape not to be injured. Also, anyone notice how LSU and UT could run straight up the middle for five yards on 1st down? Anyone notice how Georgia struggles to convert 3rd and 1? Anyone notice UGA has to pass to convert a third and two?

It looks like atleast four changes are past due.

Yes Jeff, your are correct with the comparison of Tubberville’s BBQ Bunch and Richt’s Sunday School Buddy Ball. Tubberville was not proactive and things got worse until he got let go. I wonder if CMR will make the same mistake or be proactive, which is his job to do so.

Michael Bryan

October 16th, 2009
1:30 pm

This is just a plain un-disciplined football team. Richt is directly responsible for that. He’s gotta quit talking out of both sides of his mouth. He purports this nice-guy personna and promotes hooey about sportsmanship and team, while letting (and even encouraging) poor sportsmanship and thuggish, stupid play. These guys think they’re on some kind of reality show or something. What a bunch of egos. Tell ‘em to save the dancing and posturing, Richt. Don’t give in to your assumption that they are just kids being kids. These young men are carrying out behaviors that have just about ruined professional sports. They think they are only at Georgia as a stepping stone to the riches and acceptance of oafish behavior that comes to those who are able to enter the NFL. Live up to your tenets, Coach, and teach these kids that boorish behavior is the domain of lesser men. These kids are making you look obsolete.

firemarkricht.net

October 16th, 2009
1:32 pm

Richt doesn’t have what it takes to turn this ship around. He doesn’t have it in his coaching or genetic DNA to recruit, coach or build a power football program.

The Dawgs are looking at potentially going 6-6 next year, then AJ Green’s gone.

Richt might be gone after 2010.

Pi$$onaDawg

October 16th, 2009
1:33 pm

Sold Out or not the TECH PLAYERS will hear every voice screaming for them all evening/night on Saturday. I will not be embarassed by not selling out the game. I would be embarassed if I were calling for our coaching staff to be fired and our players to stay away from blocked-off streets while drunk on a moped.

AK_in_OH

October 16th, 2009
1:34 pm

Jeff you have to realize that most of the Tech Grads do not stay in Atlanta!!!! we are off in the world leaving our mark. You know aswell as i do that the majority of the state pulls for UGA and they live within driving distance to Athens. We are with the team in spirit and support them, we do not need to sell out the stadium to prove that we love our White and Gold, GO JACKETS!!!

Archie Alexander

October 16th, 2009
1:34 pm

The selling of tickets is such a trite and blown out of proportion point. When all factors are weighed it is completely understandable and I would even say Tech draws more fans, considering all the factors, than any other urban campus in America. My family has had season tickets since the Dodd era and could care less if the corners of the stadium are full or not. Let’s stick to talking about the product on the field and the rest will take care of itself. Go Jackets!

BugKiller

October 16th, 2009
1:35 pm

Jeff, this week I have become a solid member of the Mark Richt must go camp.

This is the way I see it: The moment Mark Richt put his personal relationship wth Willie Martinez ahead of what was and is best for our team is the moment he lost the moral authority to coach our team. This was and is a break in trust that is unforgivable.

To look at Willie Martinez’s performance as the worst DC in Georgia’s history should not be surpising, at least since his horrible past performances as the DC of Central Michigan and Eastern Carolina have come to light.

The fact remains that Martinez should have NEVER been hired to replace BVG based on his past performance. The ONLY reason he was given this job is because he was Richt’s former college roommate, a groomsman in Richt’s wedding, and because he is Richt’s best friend. This is Jeff Bowden all over again.

The simple fact remains, Richt does not deserve to coach this team anymore. He elevated his friendship with Martinez over what was and is best for our team.

Then you come to the point that he keeps on EXCUSING mediocrity on his staff and his players. This is a waste of a season with Cox at QB, and he refuses to bench him. Richt is simply unwilling to do whatever it takes to win or to prepare his team to be better next year by benching Cox who won’t be here to prepare either Gray or Murray.

Mark Richt has to go. He won two SEC Titles when Zook and Shula ran SEC power programs. He simply cannot compete with Meyer, Saban, or Meyer… or even KIFFIN!!!

And for you idiot blind homers who refuse to acknowledge that there are better choices than Richt out there to coach our team, here are but five names off the top of my head:

1) Kyle Whittingham, Utah
2) Chris Peterson, Boise State
3) Brian Kelly, Cincinnatti
4) Bronco Mendenhall, BYU
5) Charlie Strong, Florida DC

These are guys who can take chicken s–t and create a 7 course meal. These are guys who know how to win, and unlike Richt, have the WILL to do what it takes to win. Guys, who like Paul Johnson, refuse to accept mediocrity as Richt does.

I am now retiring my fire Willie Martinez demand, because you know what… the buck began and must stop with Nice Guy Richt. And where do nice guys finish?

FIRE MARK RICHT!!!

gdawginkalamazoo

October 16th, 2009
1:36 pm

“..and that’s beyond disappointing” and that’s Georgia Tech football.
They are scared to show up. What they don’t offer free cokes and hotdogs anymore? Blame it on the VT fans for not wanting to travel down to Georgia. No, blame it on the Tech fans who don’t want to travel down from Dunwoody, Roswell or God forbid Buckhead.

“..and that’s beyond disappointing” Well that’s Georgia football this year. But the brand still sells out.

Cuz

October 16th, 2009
1:37 pm

The last time I saw that stadium sold out was at a Rolling Stones concert in the Eighties.

Native Atlantan

October 16th, 2009
1:38 pm

Let’s put the UGA assistants in charge of Wall Steet and any economic stimulus package. They took some worthless material in UT’s offense and Jonathan Crompton and turned it into gold in three hours.

Reality Check

October 16th, 2009
1:39 pm

You have the #4 team in the country coming in town for a night game, while playing better than you have in many, many years and you can’t sell out a 55k stadium in the middle of the largest city in the Southeast. Now that, my friends, is VERY VERY sad!!!

blazerdawg

October 16th, 2009
1:39 pm

In defense of Tech (ugh), those remaining tickets were just returned by Va Tech…this game will be sold out and then some.

Papadawg

October 16th, 2009
1:41 pm

GT fans and alumni never supprt their teams. I have a retail store which sells College trinkets and I don’t carry much GT stuff Cause it does not sell. GT fans make fun of all the redneck Georgia fans but they do buy T shirts, ball caps etc. You show your true fan colors always even in bad times. GT doesn’t even show it now that they have a decent team, they don’t even fill their Little Stadium

TML

October 16th, 2009
1:43 pm

Don’t worry…Bobby Dodd will be full of Yellow Jackets smelling the Coastal championship. We will be there and we will win! Cooked turkey tastes GOOD :) .

“Toe Meets Leather” – now available at http://www.stinGTees.com!

Jeff Schultz

October 16th, 2009
1:43 pm

Wreckin and Thrashin – OK, I’m not sure if that’s true. But you got me worried enough that I changed to a staff photo that I KNOW is not photoshopped.

Burdell – I would’ve thought the thing would sell out early in the week, even in this economy. Maybe with the word getting out about tickets being left, they’ll get the walk-up tomorrow. Especially with a 6 p.m. start, 1000 shouldn’t be that hard to sell.

AK in Oh – I’m aware of a lot of grads not living here. But we’re talking about one high-profile football game in a city of, what 5 or 6 million now? There are many Tech fans who didn’t go to the school, or you’d at least think enough to fill up the stadium for this one.

tired dawg

October 16th, 2009
1:43 pm

We all know Richt has to make changes this offseason. Jeff,u nailed it in your column the other day. It seems odd to me that so many people are trying to jump on Richt an bury the program. I think alot of opposing fans are hoping this is true

Tech Tony

October 16th, 2009
1:44 pm

Some of that is because of Richt’s success

Not that I’m qualified or even overly inclined to comment on Georgia’s woes, I think you started to pick up on a point I’ve felt brewing for some time: that quite possibly this year Georgia has, as a program, become a victim of its own success. I think it stems back to last year when guys like Stafford and Moreno spent the season looking ahead to the greener pastures of the NFL instead of at the task at hand. The program has put so many players into the pros under Richt (some were Donnan’s recruits to be certain but that’s beside the point) that I think it’s only natural, in the now now now generation in which we live, that every player that at Georgia competes with an eye on the next level. There’s nothing wrong with that. No one would criticize a youngster who wanted to be an engineer for going to Tech nor would anyone blame a kid for choosing the UGA journalism school if that’s what that kid wants as a career. Therefore, many UGA recruits choose UGA as nothing more than a stepping stone to the profession they hope to attain, and because of that sometimes they play proverbially “for the name on the back of the jersey, not the front”.
That doesn’t wash away all the woes that team has had this year by any means but the more I watch them over the last 18-20 games, the more I see that as systemic.

Shug

October 16th, 2009
1:46 pm

Basically, Tech people have better, more constructive, worthwhile, things to do than waste a Saturday night at a silly spectator event. I’ve never blamed a school or city for not blindly worshiping the local team. Sports should be a very small part of life. Credit to those who don’t say, “Wow, someone tells me there’s a hyped-game this weekend. I’d better stop whatever it is that I would be doing and go buy a ticket and sit in the stands to watch a bunch of people that I don’t know.” There are surely better things to do in the Empire City of the South than attend a football game.
(By the way—GO SOONERS!)

Hollywould

October 16th, 2009
1:48 pm

Falcons slam Bears!!

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

October 16th, 2009
1:49 pm

Now Cuz, you should pay more attention to what goes on on N Ave. Pink Floyd sold out the place in 1995. Lets give credit where it’s due

Shananeeeeee Fananeeeeeeee

October 16th, 2009
1:49 pm

There thinking Super Bowl alright, there thinking which player is going to have the Super Bowl Party.

kingsfoil

October 16th, 2009
1:50 pm

Mean Dean,
Some of the most sane comments I’ve read yet on the UGA situation. If we had only Moreno back this year the dawgs would probably be 5-1 now, even with the pathetic o-line performance to this point. I agree that a coordinator shakeup is needed, but the Richt/Tony Dungy comparison is spot-on and Mr. Scarbinsky apparently forgot about that particular “nice guy” that’s a winner (and Bill Walsh and John Wooden and Dean Smith and…). Of course, given the delusion of those in the Alabama football universe, he would miss that. After all, isn’t life only about “roll tide” and listening to the Finebaum show.
As for Lane Kiffin, he’s a motor mouth who to this point, like Obama, has produced much more talk than results (and is being deemed by some, mostly in Vol nation, as deserving of the NCAA football Nobel prize).

Kevin

October 16th, 2009
1:50 pm

People keep saying that because we lost Stafford and Moreno we shouldn’t have had such high expectations. Why not? USC has lost more QB’s, WR’s, RB’s, etc, etc high in the draft the last 10 years, but continue to be in the MNC title hunt every year. UGA has had multiple top 10 recruiting classes in the last 10 years. How come we can’t just insert player B into player A’s spot and not miss a beat? Coaching, attitude……I don’t know what it is, but it needs to change.

collegeballfan

October 16th, 2009
1:52 pm

Guysn ease off on Richt. There is no reason UGA can’t finish the season with 9 wins. Not bad in a rebuilding year.

reebok

October 16th, 2009
1:56 pm

Tech fan here. Not selling out the stadium is a DISGRACE and I don’t mind admitting it. In a metropolitan area of this size, Tech should be able to create a gameday experience that will pull people in. SHOW UP AND PULL FOR YOUR TEAM, PEOPLE!

On the Mark Richt item, that ‘gradually, then suddenly’ line was paraphrased from either Hemingway or Fitzgerald…it was a line about someone describing how he went broke…Can some lit major check me on that? Thanks.

Joe Fan

October 16th, 2009
1:58 pm

Keep in mind when GT ran all over UGA last year the stadium was 20-25% filled with GT fans. Look at the scene at the end of the game and you will see I am right. The game might of been sold out but I guess UGA fans weren’t interested in supporting their team since they evidently got rid of their tickets. Also, keep in mind that the only tickets remaining are those returned by VT approximately 1000 and most of those will be gone to the sidewalk fan by game time tomorrow.

ChippersLoveChild

October 16th, 2009
1:59 pm

Three? The Thrashers only have two games this weekend…. oh that’s right, you don’t cover them unless it is something negative.

Chris

October 16th, 2009
1:59 pm

I don’t want to hear a Tech fan say another thing about Georgia. Even when we are having a down year we show up and pack the stands. See LSU game attendance when a #4 team came to town. Tech should be embarrassed and their support is a joke.

BugKiller

October 16th, 2009
2:01 pm

there’s no reason why UGA can’t finish with 9 wins this year?

are you stupid or just retarded?

thy would have to finish the season with 8 wins and then beat someone like Clemson or Miami in the Peach-Fil-A Bowl.

but let’s get back to finish the season with 8 wins. Georgia is going to be LUCKY to finsih with 6 wins. And that’s IF we beat Kentucky.

To win 8 games we have to beat Auburn and Tech.

That’s not happening.

Richt lost his moral authority to coach this team and is now reaping what he had sown by elevating his friendship with Willie Martinez over what was and is best for our team.

FIRE MARK RICHT!!!

Statue for CPJ

October 16th, 2009
2:03 pm

The game will sell out.

Dr. Warren

October 16th, 2009
2:09 pm

Obviously, that Falcon kid who hid while the balloon flew around is a big fan of the Falcons. Let’s hope our Birds aren’t a fraud like that poor kid’s daddy.

Eastside Jacket

October 16th, 2009
2:11 pm

As someone else pointed out, these are tickets Va. Tech retruned from their allotment. We can thank Stokan and Chick-fil-A for that. Va. Tech came to Atlanta in early September to play Bama. Who can expect their fans to make another road trip to ATL six weeks later. The game will sell out.

Jeff Schultz

October 16th, 2009
2:13 pm

ChippersLoveChild — It’s a football blog. And if you’re going to pound on hockey coverage at the AJC, you picked the wrong staffer to talk to since I’ve written more stories and covered more games than anybody else here.

braddawg

October 16th, 2009
2:13 pm

LOL….LMAO….Tech cannot even sell out a game against a Top 4 opponent?! OMG! Tech…how pathetic. As a Georgia fan, no matter how bad a season we are having, (and this one sucks), it could always be worse, you could always be a TECH fan.

Paddy

October 16th, 2009
2:15 pm

Native Atlantan…you make some very valid points, all of which I can agree upon. The thing that galls me the most is not being able to run the ball. We where to have one of the best O lines in the country this season. We did not need a premium back to gain yards. Our line would give a good back a chance to establish the run game. What the hell happened? I don’t think we give our offense enough chance to establish the run. I have never liked not having the qb under center for the majority of plays. The shotgun snap takes away most of the deception in what you are about to run. And the rest of the league knows what we are about to do before we do it!

Jeff Schultz

October 16th, 2009
2:16 pm

Dr. Warren — Can you believe that story? That’s worse thank claiming a Sasquatch sighting.

East Jackets — It shouldn’t be about Virginia Tech tickets being returned. It should be about how many Georgia Tech fans are buying tickets. The game wasn’t sold out BEFORE Virginia Tech returned tickets.

PMC

October 16th, 2009
2:17 pm

With the Falcons… it’s a process One game at a time. Take nothing for granted. Results are coming slowly but surely.

Red Shirt

October 16th, 2009
2:18 pm

Frankly, the stuff being directed at Donnan during his last year was worse-there just wasn’t a “comments” section to the ajc online.

Reid Adair

October 16th, 2009
2:19 pm

Why is it that all of the Georgia “fans” commenting on this blog post want to spend their time talking about ticket sales at Georgia Tech instead of the status of Coach Mark Richt?