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