We give you odds on Braves’, Falcons’ or Hawks’ title parade

Forgot what a sports parade looks like? Here's Braves World Series hero Tom Glavine in 1995.

Forgot what Atlanta parade looked like? Here's 1995 Braves World Series MVP Tom Glavine.

It is that time of year when two leagues are close to determining new champions and every sports fan in Atlanta thinks, “There goes another parade.”

A potential NBA title in Oklahoma City? A possible Stanley Cup in Los Angeles (only slightly better than if Ilya Kovalchuk led New Jersey)? Are the sporting gods planning any more shots to the groin area? Is Mike Mularkey destined to lead Jacksonville to a Super Bowl? (On second thought, we’re probably safe.)

Not counting minor leagues or sports teams that would make you pause and think, “Wait, do they count?” Atlanta has celebrated only one pro championship since the Braves and Falcons theoretically lifted the city out of amateur status in 1966.

Depending on how generous you want to be with the math, Atlanta is 1-for-46 years, which equates to an annual parade percentage of .022, or 1-for-155 seasons (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL), which is a batting/completion/shooting percentage of .007. Even Josh Smith is shooting 27.8 percent from 3-point range.

Who is closest to winning a title?

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So the question: What will it take for the Braves, Falcons or Hawks to win a championship? What follows is how I would rank the three, and what potentially could push them over the top:

1. Braves (46-plus seasons: 3799-3564, 17 playoffs, 1 title).

Biggest need: leadership.

Parade odds: 15-1.

They have been really good (25-15) and really bad (eight-game losing streak). The issue is not talent but chemistry. We’ve seen that they’re a different team when Chipper Jones is out of the lineup. That speaks not only to Jones’ impact in the lineup, but the otherwise lack of leadership in the clubhouse.

I know the baseball vs. football emotion thing can be debated. But the Braves haven’t consistently played with a sense of urgency and fight. They don’t scrap. They don’t always seem confident. That’s what allows teams to endure when pitching, defense or offense falls off. That falls on the manager, Fredi Gonzalez, who needs to prove he can pull this bunch out of a tailspin, which he didn’t a year ago.

2. Falcons (46 seasons: 299-399-6, 11 playoffs, 0 titles).

Biggest needs: offensive line, play-calling.

Parade odds: 25-1.

They’re evolving into that Braves argument of the 1990s. The Braves won 14 division titles but only one World Series. The Falcons have made the playoffs three out of four years under Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith but have yet to win a postseason game (losing the past two by scores of 48-21 and 24-2).

Dimitroff bristled at suggestions in the offseason that he wasn’t doing enough to improve the team, but he should recognize that re-signing players and adding talent are two different things. It follows that the trade for cornerback Asante Samuel was significant.

But there are significant questions on offense. The line excels at neither pass nor run blocking, and Sam Baker returns at left tackle. Mularkey’s predictability at play-calling was an issue, but we’ll never know how much was dictated by coach Mike Smith. Perceptions that the Falcons’ need more of a bombs-away offense are off base. They just need to find ways to utilize all of their weapons and keep defenses off balance. That’s on new coordinator Dirk Koetter. Then real judgments on Matt Ryan (seven points in past six playoff quarters) can be made.

3. Hawks (44 seasons: 1762-1798, 28 playoffs, 0 titles).

Biggest need: a plan.

Parade odds: 100-1.

Of the three franchises, the Hawks are the only ones who seem to make it up as they go. Is Al Horford ideal at center? No. Does Jeff Teague have shortcomings at point guard? Yes. But the biggest problem was giving Joe Johnson an elite player’s contract, the issue being he’s not an elite player, and he has hamstrung them financially.

There is no easy way out of this mess. But the most significant move they could make would be trading Josh Smith (who wants out and likely will leave next year in free agency) for a starting point guard, a center or a second scoring option. But plans only come about when an organization shows some semblance of stability, and the Hawks are anything but stable. From the pratfalls of ownership to the uncertain future of general manager Rick Sund, it’s difficult to get a handle on where this team is going.

This bunch has probably hit their ceiling as a first- or second-round playoff team, unless significant changes are made. But what do the Hawks generally do? Tweak and play it safe.

By Jeff Schultz

173 comments Add your comment

vmguru

June 5th, 2012
2:32 pm

We could always include the Atlanta Chiefs from the old NASL (North American Soccer League) to get a second championship in the count!

dawggirl

June 5th, 2012
2:34 pm

We need some new teams, yeesh.

phil esposito

June 5th, 2012
2:42 pm

ok, it wasn’t perfessional, but i seem to recall the knights winning a championship, heck, they would have stuffed the thrashers…………….

mountain_jim

June 5th, 2012
2:43 pm

Of the 3, only the Falcons have local, committed, deep-pockets ownership and a quality front office – they will be the first, if any of them win it all.

P-Man

June 5th, 2012
2:46 pm

Win or lose, though (mostly lose!), these are MY teams!

PMC

June 5th, 2012
2:49 pm

Resigning Thomas Decoud is not the same as improving the secondary. That’s what most people had the most beef with. We’ve seen this guy play quite a bit now, not much has been impressive other than catching batted balls in the endzone.

Until he traded for Samuel, there was nothing done where anyone could say that they looked like they were on the right track. I’m sure it’s frustrating to be confronted with reality, but I’m sure he watched the same games as we did.

PMC

June 5th, 2012
2:50 pm

We could also count hockey teams that have moved away.

roterhals

June 5th, 2012
2:52 pm

anybody watch NFL Greatest Games featuring the 1980 Falcons – Cowboys playoff game last night? I couldn’t watch the end….in my opinion still the most devastating loss in Falcons’ history.

Just The Facts

June 5th, 2012
2:53 pm

JS – your last statement about the Hawks was “tweak & play it safe.” That surely applies to the Braves as well who are the Kings of play it safe. When you are on budgetary constraints but no one wants to admit how that ties your hands that’s what you get.

Welcome to Atlanta Sports. Teams are built for REGULAR SEASON SUCCESS NOT POST SEASON SUCCESS!

Brian

June 5th, 2012
2:58 pm

UGA odds Jeff?

Jeff Schultz

June 5th, 2012
3:03 pm

Brian — Pro sports teams only for now. Will address my thoughts on UGA, Tech, etc. closer to fall.

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

Brian

June 5th, 2012
3:08 pm

Sounds good, thanks

Old Jax Bravo Fan

June 5th, 2012
3:13 pm

Judging from some of Freddy G’s comments following some games (particularly losses and poor on-field play) and the tail spin carry-over from last year (and Spring practice) it does seem as though FG is on an endangered list. He needs to kick some A and do it quickly. Shoddy play and lack of interest and hustle cannot be tolerated in pro sports. FG should (and does) know that.

Astro Joe

June 5th, 2012
3:27 pm

The Hawks leadership has a plan… keep doing the same thing until someone responds to the invisible “For Sale” sign in front of the arena. Then the ASG will count the sales proceeds and watch someone else fix the scoreboard, use the amnesty provision as appropriate, hire a proactive GM and bring in an established and well-respected head coach to lead a pro team in a town the produces very, very good NBA viewership ratings.

Oh, you meant a plan to win a title? Yeah, no plan there.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 5th, 2012
3:33 pm

“They’re evolving into that Braves’ argument of the 1990s. The Braves won 14 division titles but only one World Series. ”

This is an insult to the 90s Braves. At least those teams regularly advanced in the playoffs and made it to the World Series. The current Falcons are more like the 2002-2005 Braves who commenced sh-tting the bed as soon as the playoffs started.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 5th, 2012
3:35 pm

The Atlanta Dream have the best championship odds in Atlanta.

Jeff Schultz

June 5th, 2012
3:39 pm

Najeh — The “90s” Braves reference probably misleading — referencing all 14 years of run, so that would include 2002-05. I get you point.

JSS

June 5th, 2012
3:41 pm

I’ll never fall for the “improved” Falcons lie in conjunction with the term “bombs away” and scheme does not change that! Key component mixing from that mix!

JSS

June 5th, 2012
3:42 pm

Jay

June 5th, 2012
3:44 pm

Jeff,
I agree with your comments but would flip the Braves odds with the Falcons. The Falcons have better management and a salary cap to help them whereas the Braves suffer from absentee ownership and lack of a competitive payroll. The Hawks have no shot under present management.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

June 5th, 2012
3:45 pm

Hey Jeff

Still no blogs on CHOKE I see…ha ha :)

Is it time for college football yet

June 5th, 2012
3:46 pm

“every sports fan in Atlanta thinks…..’there goes another parade”….never thought that before. I don’t care about other cities and their parades. Once the season is over here, it’s over EVERYWHERE for me. That’s what most fans think.

Hey

June 5th, 2012
3:48 pm

Atlanta Chiefs and the Atlanta Dream

Hugo

June 5th, 2012
3:48 pm

I am glad that I didn’t see the cowboys game either. But it seems TV only shows the Atlanta teams losses instead of the ones , however few, than wins. How many times have they showed the 1995 World Series?
I think for the Hawks sake, they need to borrow OKC’s blueprint. By the way, they have at least two former hawks on their team. Muhammad and Royal. Bench players who were once starters for the Hawks.

Is it time for college football yet?

June 5th, 2012
3:48 pm

UGA will get the whole state a championship SOON

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

June 5th, 2012
3:49 pm

ESPN has Carolina winning the NFC South.

Even in a Saints suspension season, CHOKE still gets beaten out by a 2nd year starter….ha ha :)

Herschel Talker

June 5th, 2012
3:50 pm

SCHULTZIE:

BRAVES ODDS WHILE FAT FREDI IS THE MANAGER: 5 BILLION TO 1. WE AIN’T WINNING SQUAT WITH THAT DIPSTICK RUNNING THE SHOW.

FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!!

HT

Steve Bartkowski

June 5th, 2012
3:51 pm

The Golden Pole would have thrown for 8000 yards in a season in todays league.

Buckeye

June 5th, 2012
3:52 pm

Odds for dogs? Slimmer than none.

JMG

June 5th, 2012
3:53 pm

Hawks odds are generous; it would be a miracle if that team got to the EC Finals. Falcons need a gamer QB that is clutch in the big game, all the other pieces are coming together. In the MLB, anything is possible- moreso than any other league. Weak as SS, RF, 3B (when chippers hurt), 8th inning, back of rotation, etc. but I could see a good run by Bravos.

Atlanta Insight Blog: http://atlinsight.com

falCans

June 5th, 2012
3:53 pm

SERIOUSLY JEFF ARE YOU TRYING TO RUN JOSH SMITH OFF!!! You know these idiots are going to hang on to your every last word and start screaming for his head!! Where are you from anyway??

Steve Bartkowski

June 5th, 2012
3:53 pm

I want a 1980 Falcons-Dallas rematch. Falcons win that game 9 out of 10 times and go on to win the Super Bowl.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

June 5th, 2012
3:54 pm

I guess since this is year 5 Smitty/Dimitroff/CHOKE will be singing ther swan song :)

With the number 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select……… :)

Tattoo anyone?

June 5th, 2012
3:54 pm

Funny coming from a Buckeye

Yawn

June 5th, 2012
3:55 pm

Stupid article. Just more griping and moaning about the same old things. All three of our teams are very competitive year-in-and-year out and have been for the last 5 years. How about being grateful for what we’ve got and supporting the home team instead of taking pot shots about Josh’s 3 point shooting percentage and the Joe Johnson contract. In case you missed last season, Josh is the best player on a team that finished 4th in the East last year and led this team to a very good season despite Al’s injury. As for Joe, if the Hawks hadn’t re-signed Joe, then there would have been 4 Schultz and Bradley articles complaining about how cheap ASG is and how the team was dreaming thinking that it could lure another big free agent to ATL.

suck on that haters

June 5th, 2012
3:57 pm

Dawgs will have a Championship parade from St. Simons, thru Atlanta, to the top of the state next year!!

JMG

June 5th, 2012
3:58 pm

Hawks-generous, would be a miracle if that team got to EC Finals. Falcons-need gamer QB that’s clutch when it counts, all other pieces are coming together. In the MLB- anything is possible, more so that any other of the other leagues. Weak at SS, RF, 3B (w/o Chip), 8th inning, back of rotation, etc. but I could see nice run by Bravos.

ATL Insight Blog: http://atlantainsight.com

Vote the current idiot out of the White House

June 5th, 2012
3:59 pm

At least whoever wins the next championships will have a new President to visit in the White House next Spring!!

JG

June 5th, 2012
3:59 pm

Hawks-generous, would be a miracle if that team got to EC Finals. Falcons-need gamer QB that’s clutch when it counts, all other pieces are coming together. In the MLB- anything is possible, more so that any other of the other leagues. Weak at SS, RF, 3B (w/o Chip), 8th inning, back of rotation, etc. but I could see nice run by Bravos.

ATL Insight Blog: http://atlantainsight.com

Jim

June 5th, 2012
4:02 pm

Think about this…….what would really be more striking is if the Thunder win the NBA Title, Oklahoma City will have as many professional championships as Atlanta (1). Go chew on that one.

Bravos this year

June 5th, 2012
4:04 pm

Well, it won’t be Nawleans having a parade for the Aints!!

Big Crimson 75

June 5th, 2012
4:05 pm

The Pro Teams in Atlanta are collectively as strong as ever.
None are the stinkers most of us grew up on! Remember Fulton Co Stadium in the 80s!!!!
The Falcons seem to have the most solid foundation.
The Braves probably have the most talented Roster of the 3.
The Hawks are 2 Al Horford FT’s from being in the Conference Finals.

All 3 Teams have questionable Head Coaches/Managers.
Mike Smith can’t win in the Playoffs, Fredi Gonzales can’t get his Teams to the Playoffs & Larry Drew can’t make a decent decision once getting into the Playoffs!!

Only football and baseball count here

June 5th, 2012
4:06 pm

Ok City? Basketball? Who cares

yeehaw

June 5th, 2012
4:07 pm

What about the Atlanta Chiefs? They won one.

Sage of Bluesland

June 5th, 2012
4:07 pm

Thanks to the blustering Don Waddell, the Thrashers aren’t even mentioned in this article.

At least a sun belt team winning another hockey championship means no Canadian team will win, and thank God for that.

hit the ball willie

June 5th, 2012
4:08 pm

Atlanta Crackers were great…A bit salty though

James Bond

June 5th, 2012
4:09 pm

.007? That’s pathetic, chaps!

Delta's ready when you are

June 5th, 2012
4:10 pm

Flames flamed out, but they were fun and raised families in Atlanta…kids went to UGA. Embraced their new roots unlike miserable transplants today.

Delta's ready when you are

June 5th, 2012
4:13 pm

Flames were fun to watch….they embraced city and put down roots. Kids grew up and embraced UGA. They were good transplants, unlike you miserable, critical transplants today.