More gushing over the Falcons? Now I’m really worried

In the Digital World, anybody can write pretty much anything and have it be noticed. Even so, this one jumped up and shouted, “Hey, look at me!”

From Clay Cunningham of the Bleacher Report comes this offering: “Why the Atlanta Falcons are the frontrunners of the NFC.”

Not the NFC South. The whole NFC.

Cunningham’s key paragraph:

“This team reminds me a bit of the 2006 Bears, in the sense they came out of nowhere the year before and just needed an extra year’s boost to elevate themselves to an elite level. I predicted a Super Bowl appearance [albeit a biased one] then, and with the addition of Tony Gonzalez and an improved defense, I’m calling it for this Atlanta squad.”

A year ago the Sporting News picked the Falcons to finish 1-15. Now we’re seeing a summer in which the same club has been the subject of every sort of gushing:

I, being the ultimate contrarian, am taking all these raves as a very bad sign. And I’m starting to wonder if I’m alone. So I spoke with the man who owns the Falcons, and if you click here you’ll discover whether Arthur M. Blank is as skittish as I am.

56 comments Add your comment


July 10th, 2009
6:35 am

Like every other Falcon fan, I was extremely pleased with how last season turned out. The fact still remains that the team has NEVER had back to back winning seasons in its history. Before I annoint them as ‘frontrunners’, let’s at least have a minimum of a 9-7 record so we can conquer that demon and show that last season was not a fluke.

I remember many had similar feelings the season after we went 14-2 and went to the Super Bowl. We remember what happened that season.


July 10th, 2009
6:49 am

scared @#$Tless!!! this teams has always found a way to disappoint or not live up to expectations.

the birds are much better when they are an afterthought…

hopefully, we’ll see the first back to back winning season. ever.

Alex H.

July 10th, 2009
7:14 am

All great teams have to start somewhere. I have full faith in this year’s squad. Go Falcons!

Brian Hunt

July 10th, 2009
7:18 am

The Sporting News is predicting them in the NFC championship game this year (vs the Giants).


July 10th, 2009
7:28 am

One man gives me faith in these Birds……MIKE SMITH……….. He’s the real deal. There will be no nonsense at practice or in Games….There will be no show boats, hot dogs, look at me on this team….You loaf, you don’t give your all, you are not about team, you won’t be a Falcon long…….These guys want to win, not just get through the week and get to Buckhead……………………That’s the difference !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


July 10th, 2009
7:29 am

Did Mark Bradley actually quote something from The Bleacher Report???? LMAO!!! OMG!!! Why not just go to a local bar and grab some quotes from any patrons watching espn?!?! GEEZ! Grasping at straws much?

Intramural Team is Aggressive

July 10th, 2009
7:31 am

We are so guarded as Falcons fans because when our hopes are high, it always seems as though they are about to crash down.

But honestly, have you ever seen a team this, well, complete?

It’s not like 1998, where we had an ancient quarterback who had a turnaround season, and while we may have a running back who carried a tremendous load last year, there’s a couple more guys behind him who would do just fine if there was a *gulp* injury.

It’s not like 2004, where we had a tremendous running game, but couldn’t pass with much consistency, and where distractions were just waiting for us around every corner, at seemingly every position.

Admittedly, it’s early to call ANY team an NFC favorite, I believe Paul Boudreau says “everyone looks good in t-shirts and shorts. Wait until we start hitting.” But seriously, why not us? And how awesome is it that we as Falcons fans, are actually PSYCHED about this upcoming year?

I don’t know about y’all, but it’s impossible for me NOT to be excited.


July 10th, 2009
7:34 am

Bleacher Report? Are you seriously quoting a fan blogger in this piece? The Falcons are good, and there is no question they can make the playoffs again, but it won’t be easy. even Vegas thinks it’s possible, though for some reason the odds are worsening rather than improving


July 10th, 2009
7:35 am

“…….whether Arthur M. Blank is as skittish as I am.”

I’ll cast an early vote for “NO.”


July 10th, 2009
7:40 am

I’ve watched the Birds since “Bart” roamed the field. The intangibles are what I watch for to see if they have turned the corner from also rans to true contenders. I seen it with the Braves.. I think the Birds are close..this year will tell…Can they do it when they know your coming !!! Big question..Defense…


July 10th, 2009
7:41 am

I for one am extremely hopeful that this year does not repeat history.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 10th, 2009
7:42 am

I had the same feeling when Leeman Bennett was coach.


July 10th, 2009
7:54 am

Well, odds are the schedule will be tougher, and they won’t be sneaking up on anyone this go-round. But the direction sure seems positive – and hopefully the breaks will go the Falcons’ way.

Meat Rabbit

July 10th, 2009
7:59 am

MB, my exterminator came to the house the other day in a Falcons t-shirt, and I asked him what he thought about the upcoming season. He said, and I quote, “I think that they are gonna win the whole friggin thing”. I called him this morning, and he has given you permission to use his quote for your afternoon blog!

Ted Striker

July 10th, 2009
8:08 am

Is this the place in the AJC we post our favorite spot in Atlanta for cornbread?

The praise is great but no season was ever determined by what was written in advance. (Overzealous critics of the 2008 Georgia Bulldogs may disagree). Me, I don’t believe in jinxes. It doesn’t matter about the billy goat, whether you were on the cover of Madden, won the Heisman, rose from freshman to sophomore, or whether someone talked to you between the 8th and 9th inning of the no-hitter you’re pitching.

It’s about your talent and what you do with it, with the coaching you have.


July 10th, 2009
8:29 am

Been watching since they been here. Hope I am wrong but something will happen to screw it up. Seems like it always does. The 2 best seasons they ever had a key player got hurt early in the next season. But I will still watch and pull for them.

Josie Wells

July 10th, 2009
8:33 am

Isn’t that nice to see Sonny gushing over the Falcons players?

The ignorant, hateful VICK SUPPORTERS are still ‘gushing’ over him as well.

I could make an observation here about Vick’s fellow inmates doing the same thing all over him in prison during their bonding times, but I think we should all just make fun of Sarah Palin instead.

NFL Football in Atlanta will never be the same…. without all the gang members, deadbeat “dads” and rude people flocking to the Dome just to see their favorite felon.


July 10th, 2009
8:42 am

I am not of the mind that a Smith coached team can regress the same way a Mora coahced team can, however:

We play the NFC East and AFC East, Chicago and San Fran…It is going to be a nail-biter (or a cat-thrower) every time that two-years-on-average-nfl-experience defense runs out of the tunnel….

Saw some clips of the Chiefs when we played them last year and thought, man that D was bad but they were young…then I wondered if that could be us…

Vick Hater & Falcons Fan

July 10th, 2009
8:44 am

I am now more in love with the Falcons than I have been in a long, long time.

Why could that be?

Oh, I know!

The Falcons have ADDED by SUBTRACTING — # 7 !


July 10th, 2009
8:52 am

Vick should be, at BEST, an afterthought for these Atlanta Falcons. I am NOT a Vick supporter, but geez, guys, let it GO. The column is about the future, not the past.


July 10th, 2009
9:02 am

The Falcons have never had, all at once in their history, an owner willing to to do what it takes to win, a top flight GM, an excellent coaching staff, and a good young QB .

There is now a structure for sustained excellence with the Falcons. Blank has learned not to make football decisions, has hired people of exceptional ability to make those decisions, and they have a core of young, talented players who are well coached, lead by a solid coach and a true franchise QB.

I fully expect 9-11 wins out of this group. But ,even if they fall short this year, the foundation is in place for many years of playoff quality football from this organization. I’m looking forward to it.

doo mauh mauh maunz

July 10th, 2009
9:02 am

The Falcons record this year…………….12-4. Write it down it’s gonna happen.


July 10th, 2009
9:06 am

It’s amazing what can happen when the owner steps into the background and let’s football people run the football team. Tough schedules are made for tough teams. If the Flacons break the consecutive winning seasons streak they will have earned it.

Shout Out

July 10th, 2009
9:13 am

I’m worried about this year. Not that the team hasn’t improved but the schedule is ruthless. No team has ever had to play four teams coming of their bye week. We play the Saints on Monday Night in New Orleans which winning is far from a given, then turn around and play Washington coming of their bye. We play both the Jets and the Gaints on their home turf. I know everyone else in the NFC South has to play the same games virtually, but not four teams coming off their bye weeks. Regardless, I will be there in the stands yelling, and supporting our Birds.

Herschel Talker

July 10th, 2009
9:18 am

MB – great take. I too am very bullish on the Falcons, but seeing all the hype definitely tempers my enthusiasm and brings out the contrarian in me.

Mark Bradley

July 10th, 2009
9:18 am

I’ve said it before: I think they’ll be a better team with a slightly worse record, and I think they’ll win the NFC South.

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

July 10th, 2009
9:19 am

Let’s just hope they can live up to the hype.

doo mauh mauh maunz

July 10th, 2009
9:28 am

Mr. Obvious

July 10th, 2009
9:41 am

At least the Falcons don’t have Herpes anymore after getting rid of the felonious (and FORMER) QB.


July 10th, 2009
9:49 am

I agree with your 9:18 am assessment: beter team, tougher schedule, no surprise to opponents = less than 11-5 ‘09 record but more consistency and better foundation.

doo mauh mauh maunz

July 10th, 2009
9:54 am

Look at the schedule again………….it’s not that “SCARY.” Whaa…wook at who we pway. Grow up! This team and coaching staff are not in the fetal position in the looker room crying about the “SCARY” schedule! They are however ready to kick some butt!!! GO FALCONS!!



July 10th, 2009
10:12 am

If we have a non-losing season, win the NFC South, win at least one playoff game, I will be happy with that.


July 10th, 2009
10:14 am

Are you kidding me Bradley? One week you write a article talking about how the expectations of Loserville have changed with most of our teams moving in the right direction and now you say we need to scale back the expectations? That’s what cities with winning traditions expect, to keep winning! There is nothing wrong with being the hunted for a change!


July 10th, 2009
10:19 am

10-6. NFC South champs. NFC champs. Super Bowl, um, can’t see that one in my crystal ball yet.

Jimmy Hawk

July 10th, 2009
10:24 am

I find it comical that Brian Finneran gets left out of these discussions every time. We are really loaded with Brian in the mix as well. “Mr Clutch”

THE BEST Falcons Offseason Ever

July 10th, 2009
10:26 am

In addition to acquiring the magnificent Tony Gonzalez, FALCONS NATION got rid of that undereducated, drug-using, dog-raping, criminal, sub-par QB and top-shelf buffoon Mike Vick and his legion of inarticulate “Supporters.” No more FreakNik at the Georgia Dome on Sundays, just FOOTBALL, Baby!

GO, FALCONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 10th, 2009
10:28 am

Having watched the Falcons since 1966, I’ve seen this movie before. Have a good year, tougher schedule, an injury here, a player having an off year there and back to where they were before. Hopefully this time will be different but let’s let ‘em play some games before I get excited.

doo mauh mauh maunz

July 10th, 2009
10:36 am


July 10th, 2009
10:36 am

just hope all the players stay healthy


July 10th, 2009
10:42 am

As a life long falcon fan……I am scared to death. If we go 9-7 this year it will be one of the greatest seasons as a falcon fan to me.


July 10th, 2009
10:57 am

15-l for sure!!!!

doo mauh mauh maunz

July 10th, 2009
11:10 am

12-4!!!! For realy sure!


July 10th, 2009
11:42 am

Take a 9-7 season and go on down the road to long lasting competitive team. We will fill the dome with Falcons Fans for years to come!!!!!!

[...] And this, speaking as someone who has learned not to underestimate the negative power of that bird, makes me nervous. I wondered if I was alone in this angst, so I asked Arthur Blank, who owns the club. Speaking from [...]

Ted Striker

July 10th, 2009
12:46 pm

For those of you who seemingly just want to use this forum for cheap shots at the disgraced Mike Vick: I don’t know him and I don’t know you. But if you’re only here to spew venom, I’d rather know him than you.

The guy did plenty wrong. But he never shot his mouth in a public forum about people he doesn’t know. There’s fair criticism and there’s holier than thou-arrogance. And if you can’t tell the difference, then you’re probably not someone I’d want on my jury.

doo mauh mauh maunz

July 10th, 2009
1:08 pm

MIKE VICK STINKS!! There you go Ted.

Mark Bradley

July 10th, 2009
1:21 pm

I’m thinking 10-6, champs of the NFC South.


July 10th, 2009
2:27 pm

Guys, we really need to temper our enthusiasm at least a little with this 12-4 talk. Has everyone forgot that we’ve got two things working against us?

1. An incredibly difficult schedule
2. A fairly thin defense, particularly at linebacker

We’re going to have to win in some shootouts this year, I’m afraid. I’m not saying we’re doomed, because I think our basement expectation should be 8-8 or so, but I’m beyond skittish at this point. I think we’re more likely to be a 9-7 wild card team than a team that is the NFC front-runner.

doo mauh mauh maunz

July 10th, 2009
4:05 pm

I’ve been saying 12-4 since April and I refuse to change my mind.


July 10th, 2009
9:33 pm

When I read ‘write this down’, it’s usually not worth reading and when I read ‘you heard it here first’, I’ve always already heard it.