I asked, ‘Why no buzz for the Falcons?’ Here’s what you said

The rookie Julio Jones makes a buzz-worthy entrance. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The rookie Julio Jones makes a buzz-worthy entrance. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

I’ve been hearing rather less about the Falcons than I thought I might, and much of what I have heard has been negative. So I got to thinking: Where’s the buzz about these Birds? And then I thought, “Maybe it’s just you. Maybe there’s this huge buzz you haven’t heard because you’re off listening to your warped vinyl records.”

So I asked. In a blog post on AJC.com Wednesday morning, I invited readers to tell me if such a buzz existed, and if not why not. And the results were overwhelming — 400 online comments in 4 1/2 hours, dozens of emailed responses, plus Facebook postings and Twitter tweets — and instructive.

From Paul Lipsey via email: “Thought you’d made a wacky assumption this morning, but I see nothing in the first hour of comments to indicate that you’ve made a mistake.  No screeching outrage from the Falcon flock?  I’m flummoxed.”

So that made two of us. The obvious next question: Why aren’t you buzzed?

From Tom on AJC.com: “Because the thought of Michael Turner running for two yards a carry and the defense getting repeatedly smoked does not make one excited.”

From Matt from MN on AJC.com: “Because the thought of another year of Mike Mularkey in charge of Matt Ryan and the offense is just too much to bear.”

From Derrick on AJC.com: “The reason for the lack of buzz goes back to that embarrassing playoff loss. It sucked the air out of our fan base.”

From Fred-D on AJC.com: “It’s a combination of both the Green Bay game and not trusting them to win big when they should.”

From Micky Woolsey via email: “The fans just don’t trust the Falcons because of the past. I have to admit that, even though I think they are the best team in the NFC, I still have doubts.”

From HJones on AJC.com: “I am 65 years old and lived in the Atlanta area all of my life. I have seen all of the bad times and the supposedly good times. I don’t have faith in the current Falcons to play at the high level required to win the BIG games.”

From JSS on AJC.com: “They are the NFC’s version of the Chiefs. No one except for the diehards or those just like long-suffering Cubs fans put much trust in them. When they finally win a title, it will be more of a relief than a feeling of honest elation.”

We pause to note: The Falcons were 13-3 last season and were the NFC’s No. 1 seed. They got blitzed by Green Bay in the playoffs, but the Packers did win the Super Bowl. The Falcons have added Julio Jones via the draft and Ray Edwards via free agency. A good team would appear to have gotten better on both offense and defense. Does glory not await?

From nickpaste on Twitter: “The Packers, Eagles, Saints, Patriots, et cetera, temper our expectations. ”

From jamaaliver on AJC.com: “Philadelphia signed the bigger names in free agency. A lot of the pundits are picking New Orleans to win the division.”

From NorthGANole on AJC.com: “Buzz usually comes with added personnel … The only major acquisition that was made [outside of draft picks] is Ray Edwards and we haven’t seen him play yet.”

From Mark Teems on Facebook: “Falcons starters are great. The rest of the team keeps losing preseason games.”

From Big Ray on AJC.com: “True diehard Falcon fans are excited. But even we were burnt by the loss to Green Bay. We’ve got to win that first playoff game under the Dimitroff/Smith regime.

Many respondents pointed, with cause, to causation: The lockout diverted our attention, and the Braves  captured it. And we tend to pay attention to college football around here. And it is still preseason.

From Ronald D. Willard via email: “The vast majority of reasonable fans understand that this team is in such good hands that there is little need for hand-wringing … It is simply too early to get excited or worried. You know that Dimitroff, Smith and the players will be well prepared and will give us the maximum effort at all times. Their efficiency has both spoiled us and given us a sense of security that long-time fans have never had the luxury of enjoying.”

From Jason Reittenbach via email: “My prediction: If we beat Chicago in Week 1 and then have Vick and prime-time TV coming in Week 2, the excitement will be through the roof once again.”

On those cheery notes, I’ll end. But not without saying thanks to everyone who responded. I’m in your debt.

By Mark Bradley

194 comments Add your comment

Falcons4Eva

August 24th, 2011
4:24 pm

Answer – Mike Murlarkey is the reason.

Falcons4Eva

August 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

Oh by they way – I didn’t read the article…Now I interrupt this comment to read Mark’s update…

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2011
4:29 pm

Kudos for being the first to rip Mike Mularkey on this post, Falcons4Eva.

PreyDawg

August 24th, 2011
4:33 pm

Falcon fan for 30 years here. I was a bummed as anyone alive by the Green Bay Loss. And not just the loss. The manner of the loss. Let’s face it, it made the regular season look like a mirage. The Green Bay offense made our D look like bums. And the whiffs on 5 different wide open sack opportunities was almost too painful to watch.

All that said, I am optimisitic. If we can protect Ryan…that is absolutely key…more key than Turner. Then this team can beat anyone. However, I have to see Ryan perform in the playoffs to get really hyped.

LinkinPro

August 24th, 2011
4:34 pm

The inconsistancy on the offensive/defensive sides of the ball knocks the wind ouf of confidence. As a diehard fan since 89′, i truley believe the time is right for a championship run, but the main measuring stick will be our record after the week 5 primetime game against Green Bay. If we come out of it 4-1, my confidence and trust will return. As alot of fans have said “We have seen this before” Hype and no hope, so alot of the fans are lying in the bushes waiting for news to be really excited about!

matt r

August 24th, 2011
4:35 pm

The Falcons did win a lot of BIG games last year. Just not the biggest.

The Real Falcon

August 24th, 2011
4:37 pm

Season ticket holder and I AM stoked! Will be at eavry game just like each year.

Falcons4Eva

August 24th, 2011
4:37 pm

I should also add that “buzz” is generally reserved for those teams with either:

A.) Teams that score a lot and score with style and pizzazz. We score on long dink and donk drives and a bunch of field goals. Not very exciting. Keeps you off ESPN highlights.

B.) Teams with great personality and character – not necessarily the kind of Personality and Character that this teams wants or needs (Ocho Cinco, T.O. the coach of the Jets, aka a bunch of clowns, etc)

Especially after the Mike Vick and Bobby Pertrino disaster, this team would rather stay BORING and under the Radar and be a steady solid team than have the BUZZ factor that lights up the highlight reel on ESPN

Go Falcons. Go Braves, Geaux to HeL1 Saints!

meh

August 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

if they mix the statue of liberty play in a few times a maybe a fake spike or two, that should get folks excited.

LinkinPro

August 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

The other thing is “on paper” we are stacked on the offensive side of the ball. Lots of comparisons to the Rams Superbowl “greatest show on turf” offense. The Gameplan has to be designed to accomodate the talent on the roster, which hasnt been done in the past. Hopeful, that we are just seeing a very Vanilla Offense in the preseason and the High-Octane O that we would love to see will come alive Week 1!

oldmike

August 24th, 2011
4:40 pm

Not excited because except for one team the season ends in despair. Why invest so much emotion in something as fragile as a football team. Ask any Giant fan right now how it looks for 2011. Would you like to be a season ticket holder there? Falcons could be incredible and then one freak play and subsequent injury could kill the season. Ask the PATS about that one.

Jeff Van Not

August 24th, 2011
4:44 pm

Excitement will go way up after the Braves win the World Series. Atlanta fans can only focus on one sport at a time. That is why people only pay attention to the Hawks from February – early April. couple that with competition from UGA and GT plus the lockout and you can see why fans are slow to get ramped up. God help them if they start off slow.

Larry Munson

August 24th, 2011
4:45 pm

No buzz for the Falcons? Why I remember one time when (insert crickets chirping)

Hillbilly D

August 24th, 2011
4:55 pm

I watch a football game now and then but am not really a big football fan. JSS made a pretty good point, though. Those of us who have been around since 1966 have seen expectations not met, more than a time or two.

J.J.M.

August 24th, 2011
4:56 pm

THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL THROW THE DEEP BALL

collegeballfan

August 24th, 2011
5:05 pm

“I’m in your debt.”

When are you mailing the checks?

Spanky

August 24th, 2011
5:10 pm

Mark, I think there is buzz for our dirty birds, HOWEVER, the bitterness of the lock-out still leaves a nasty taste in our collective mouths. I’m willing to bet that it’s like that everywhere! We very much tend to be all “Okay, fine then!! To heck with ya!”…we did it to the Braves when they scratched a season! Once the games count, we’ll give a crap! Keep up the good work, Mark!

Jason

August 24th, 2011
5:13 pm

I can only speak for myself (when my wife lets me) but for me its more about the lockout. I’ve been tuning out the NFL since the Draft. Other that the casual check-in to make sure that its returning or to plan my Fantasy team, I’ve been occupying myself with other things (and teams such as our Red Hot Braves!) I will flip the switch to BUZZ a few days before Game 1!!! and will keep it there all year long.

steve

August 24th, 2011
5:13 pm

MB, why has no one mentioned Harry Douglas or Peria Jerry in these talks of the Falcons getting better? Assuming they stay healthy, Julio Jones and Ray Edwards aren’t the only two guys making the Falcons better…they’re gaining a first round run stuffer and a speedster who (I think) is a significant upgrade to Finneran.

Paddy

August 24th, 2011
5:14 pm

Win the first 2 and the buzz will be so real, you will think you stepped on a hornets nest. The pre-season has nothing to do with hype. Same as spring training in baseball. These Falcons can play and at the highest levels. I am ready for a great season.

Whopper Dawg

August 24th, 2011
5:14 pm

To the casual fan, the smoking that occurred in the Green Bay game has had a large impact.

To the more die hard, ditto, plus the offense in the Jaguar game looked exactly like the offense that MM has been running. So, why did we draft Jones, for a seven yard down and out? Add that to a defense that has serious pass coverage and tackling problems, and no, I am not buzzed.

Show something MM, show something.

Outside Observer

August 24th, 2011
5:15 pm

Can it be classified as a silent buzz? I have very high expectations for the Falcons this year, but I don’t want any of the media hype. Look how many championships the media buzz brought a team looking to win a championship in its own stadium (sorry Cowgirls) and a team that was considered unbeatable (suck it Lebron). Teams that “fly under the radar” seem to be having more success (SF Giants, Mavs). The best team will win in the end, and I have confidence that my team will be in the running for that title, but until then, I am completely ok with the media hyping up Philly, NO, NE, and Pit.

FEATHEREDFRIEND

August 24th, 2011
5:18 pm

youtube-”falcons truth play 60″- That about says it all

Michael

August 24th, 2011
5:24 pm

Good lord,

these people suck

Runner-

August 24th, 2011
5:25 pm

Julio Jones won’t really make this team better on defense, so the fanbase is unsure if we’ll get burned again or not. Plus, the team won’t even make the playoffs this year with the tough schedule

Mark (another one)

August 24th, 2011
5:32 pm

With all professional sports, I start the off season worrying about what could have happened and how we could have done better only if … Then I morn the sport while I pick up the next one. I also track the sport during the off season to see what’s happening with my team, and rebuild the fire. Then when the season hits I am certain it will be a better year (the optomist comes out) and I am fired up for action.

This off season didn’t build the fire. All the talk about the lock out, the litigation, the stupidity of ‘could the Patriot players attend Mrs. Kraft’s funneral’. It was all so stupid it turned me off. It was especially bad that the normal people working for the teams got the shaft. I know they later received back pay, but the pay reductions put people in a bad way. And it was all because a bunch of rich players couldn’t agree with the rich owners how to split the huge pot of money at the end of their rainbow.

I tried to tune all this out because I knew they would figure out how to not lose the season and the details are not my concern. I’m a sports fan with a family and a job. I don’t need to worry about the Falcon’s salary cap, etc. They have good people to do that. Unfortunately, its hard to tune out because I start with the sports section and there it was, every day it seemed.

Now that all is peaceful on the labor front, I am looking forward to the season, but I’m not my excited self. I am pretty sure it will come. It did last time and it did for baseball (and no, I am not angry with Glavine. In fact he is one of my favorites of all time). The only sport that lost me so far was basketball.

As for college sports, Go Dawgs!!!

Thomas Dimitroff

August 24th, 2011
5:36 pm

Dear J.J.M.,

Please don’t confuse “explosive” for throwing the ball deep. Ha! You know we don’t do that here. But I can promise you some outstanding double reverses and some run after the catch yardage.

lower case b

August 24th, 2011
5:37 pm

If the Falcon’s win in Chicago, this fan base will be fired up for the Philly game. By the way, J.J.M., do you think the Falcon”s should throw the ball deep?

uga_b

August 24th, 2011
5:41 pm

MB,

It is hard to get excited about the regular season when you expect to make the playoffs where it actually matters. People want to see how this team performs in the playoffs and the Packers, Saints, and Giants have further shown that regular season is more about qualifying than winning.

extremus

August 24th, 2011
5:49 pm

While I would not be too quick to harshly criticise a coaching staff that, along with shrewd front management has literally transformed the culture surrounding this team, this year (if even that long) is the remaining window of opportunity for Mike Mularkey, I believe. All of last season and the year before, Mularkey’s playcalling and the lack of explosive plays or complete blowouts in the Falcons’ favor were a point of concern…and then the Falcons got torched by Green Bay and an offense that clearly showed how outclassed Atlanta’s offense was.

While the Falcons certainly addressed some big needs on defense as well (Edwards being the most prominent), there was no secret made of their efforts to make the offense more dynamic and give Matt Ryan more downfield options. Adding a rejuvenated Harry Douglass to the mix of White and Jones, not to mention Gonzalez underneath, and both the organization and the fans now believe there should be NO further excuse for a sputtering, inconsistent offensive attack or a season-full of nail-biters where the Falcons should have piled it on and won going away.

If this offense dazzles, it will be nothing less than what is expected given the pieces now in place. If it fails to deliver on a consistent basis once again, Mularkey’s job will be in serious jeopardy. Fair or not, the fact is that everything’s been done from a player addition standpoint that can be done. It’s time to deliver or go home.

GT Alum

August 24th, 2011
5:56 pm

Seems like most people expect the Falcons to make the playoffs, but they’re not sure what they’re going to do once they’re there. I think people are waiting for the Falcons to prove they can win in the playoffs. I’m not even sure there will be excitement before the playoffs, but I bet people’s interest level will rise come playoff time.

Remember the complacency that set in during the Braves’ run of division titles because they only won 1 World Series? I think the Falcons have reached a similar point. Not sure the have to win a title to escape it, but I suspect at least an appearance in the NFC championship game is required.

blazerdawg

August 24th, 2011
6:02 pm

Lockout and focus on CFB issues has caused for a late start. Does not quite feel like FB season yet. As others have stated, beat Chicago and the buzz will be greater than it has been in a long time.

blazerdawg

August 24th, 2011
6:06 pm

MB – what role do you think the AJC and local media have in “buzz”.

I remember in 1980 for the Birds and in 1982 and 1991 & 92 for the Braves, the teams were front page news every day – TV and radio remotes from the Stadium and sports bars (Beer Mug & Three Dollar Cafe) were common – not because the media was following a trend of interest, but in tandem with a growing interest and anticipation of success.

We need a positive local perspective – not the cynical transplant perspective that the AJC often exhibits. Lord knows the natives get enough of that.

James

August 24th, 2011
6:06 pm

It’s better to not have a buzz and just sneak up on people like the Packers did last year.

joemoedee

August 24th, 2011
6:24 pm

Again a lot of it has to do with Atlanta being so transient. You go to most large cities… you don’t have sports bars for the Steelers, Patriots, Lions, etc. Here you do. So when 1/2 or so of your local population grew up supporting their own home team, the local team won’t generate a huge buzz unless they’re in a high profile game.

Matt

August 24th, 2011
6:29 pm

I didn’t really think about it until now, but I haven’t been nearly as dirty bird obsessed as I usually am since the Packers loss. I was at that game, and to say it took the wind out of every Atlantan’s sails is a huge understatement. I’m sure when the season starts the excitement will return, but as many pointed out, it may not be full-blown until we win some playoff games.

DA BEARS!!!!!!!!

August 24th, 2011
6:32 pm

with the slate of games the falcons have 7-9 at most 8-8 maybe a wild card ‘ryan isnt nfl elite receivers are me me me and the defense is always suspect mike smith is a good coach but dont exspect much atlanta because in the end there the falcons ‘maybe a 500 team if they stay healthy but the team is moving in the right direction

SC

August 24th, 2011
6:40 pm

A lot of people blame Mularkey. I don’t they understand the magnitude of the deficit in player quality which accrued during the years of McKay as GM and the revolving door of head coaches. Lack of depth is a difficult thing to overcome even in three (?) years. I think Dimitroff, Smith, Mularkey, Van Gorder, and Armstrong have done a great job.

Fans in Atlanta are suffering from hype-fatigue or maybe prediction-fatigue. They have learned that the real story isn’t known until the following season. Why isn’t Turner as effective as his first year – groin injury. Why is the opposing safety doubling up on Roddy? Turns out, Michael Jenkins *wasn’t* a big deep threat (the post route against a weak Lions secondary doesn’t count) and Harry Douglas had not recovered completely from his knee injury. Why hasn’t the pass rush improved? Kroy Biermann is one of the ‘Real Football Players of Atlanta’.

I’m still going to cheer for the Falcons until my throat is sore, but don’t tell me that the defense is going to be carried by the newly high-powered offense. Show me.

DA BEARS!!!!!!!!

August 24th, 2011
6:44 pm

i agree beerman is the best player on the falcons he is always welcome in chicago

Usual Fan

August 24th, 2011
6:57 pm

Typical Falcons reaction. Most Falcon fans are closet fans, when the team wins, they’ll be there. when they lose, (Usually), they won’t be there. They’ll continue to win during the regular season and when they make the playoffs, they’ll lose in the 1st or 2nd round.

Matt

August 24th, 2011
6:59 pm

Um DA BEARS, your calling the falcons a .500 team? I think your team got beat by the same team in the playoffs and, unlike the falcons, the bears lost good players instead of gaining them. You guys let go of Greg Olsen, why??? And you say Ryan isn’t NFL elite?? HA! At least our QB didn’t quit halfway through our playoff loss, plus Matty Ice doesn’t look like his dog just died all the time, unlike Cutler…

HATinGA

August 24th, 2011
6:59 pm

The only Buzz we need is after WINS!! And its preseason! Teams coming off bad seasons that made alot of changes create buzz. Good teams, like I think we are now, the fans expect to be good. We win those first two home games (Philly,GB) there will be more buzz than we will all want!!

Joe Tess Fish House

August 24th, 2011
7:02 pm

U didnt use my coments. 2 many fist round draft busts. Why get egcited win U no they have no chance?

HATinGA

August 24th, 2011
7:04 pm

Hate those fist round draft busts!

HATinGA

August 24th, 2011
7:05 pm

They get me egcited!

PMC

August 24th, 2011
7:17 pm

I don’t really have a problem with Mularkey. He’s working with what he’s got.

PMC

August 24th, 2011
7:17 pm

It could be a lot worse, we could have Greg Knapp.

kevin

August 24th, 2011
7:21 pm

The buzz and excitement is in athens!

HJones

August 24th, 2011
7:27 pm

I said what I was quoted to have said but made it clear I thought the problem is the predictable play-calling, offensive strategy, offensive coordinator, and too much Michael Turner. We have the players on the TEAM to win the BIG game but our coaching staff chooses not to let Matt Ryan and the team free.

“I am 65 years old and lived in the Atlanta area all of my life. I have seen all of the bad times and the supposedly good times. I don’t have faith in the current Falcons to play at the high level required to win the BIG games.”

mountain_jim

August 24th, 2011
7:34 pm

Falcon fan since 1972, agree with HJones about scheming and play-calling, and that falls on Mularkey and Smith for supporting his conservative style of play.