Your help needed: Why aren’t we buzzing about the Falcons?

They're excited. Why aren't we? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

They're excited. Why aren't we? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

As you know, I need all the help I can get, and today I’m asking for yours. See, I’ve having this problem. (Many problems, actually, but for today we’ll stick with one.)

It’s about the Atlanta Falcons. I think they’re going to be really good, Super-Bowl-or-thereabouts good. But then, when I listen closely, I hear no buzz about this team.

And I ask myself: Why isn’t there a buzz?

As ever, I have my own ideas, but today I’m soliciting yours. I’m hoping to write something longer later in the day — this will also be for Thursday print — about the buzz, or the lack thereof, and I’d like to incorporate (polite word for “steal”) your thoughts.

Possible factors, at least as I see it:

  1. We’re more focused on college football starting.
  2. We’re caught up in the Braves’ stirring season.
  3. We still haven’t gotten past the Green Bay game.
  4. We simply don’t trust the Falcons to win big when they’re supposed to win big.

Perhaps you’ve got another reason. Or perhaps I have, not for the first time, gotten it wrong. Maybe there’s not just a buzz but a full-throated roar about these Falcons that these aging ears haven’t detected.

Whatever the case, I’m asking you to let me know. I’ll try to cherry-pick comments and give you credit. (If you’d prefer to e-mail me and write something longer using your real name, as opposed to your screen moniker, I’m mbradley@ajc.com.) And I thank you in advance.

Update, 1:10 p.m.: Thanks for all the thoughts and submissions. You’ve given me way too much material, but I must note that my premise seems to have held — there is more skepticism about this team than you (or at least I) would expect.

I’m writing the longer post, the one with your sentiments included, now. But I’ll keep checking back here. And thanks again.

By Mark Bradley

498 comments Add your comment

Darth Hater

August 24th, 2011
9:58 am

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2011
9:59 am

Kudos, Darth. Got anything else for me?

GTHorsie

August 24th, 2011
10:04 am

Atlanta has never been a good sports city. There are too many transplants. They will go out and watch teams if they are winning, but overall the support just isn’t there for Atlanta’s teams.

juvenal

August 24th, 2011
10:06 am

stike reminds us how much $ this involves when the economy is so bad….

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2011
10:06 am

And someone just noted on Twitter that the lockout might have had an effect. (Me, I’m not sure about that one.)

ClemsonBrad

August 24th, 2011
10:06 am

Mark, for me anyway, it is a combination of things…

preseason in pro football makes it difficult to get about the regular season. I think the product is so hard to watch, that I won’t really be pumped about this team until the first regular season game starts….

Also, you brought this up….The Braves have a LEGIT shot at getting to the World Series. They took 6 of 7 last week from their greatest wildcard competition and they’ve won 6 in a row. Right now, as an Atlanta sports fan, I can’t help but give them most of my attention.

Can you please write an article about J-Hey everyday if he is going to respond like that Mark? Keep ‘em coming!

FALCONS SORRY

August 24th, 2011
10:06 am

MARK BRADLY! NO BODY IS TALKING ABOUT THE SORRY FALCONS BECAUSE THE WHOLE WORLD SAW WHAT THIS TEAM WAS MADE OF LAST YEAR AGAINST THE PACKER! THE CHEESE HEAD DESTROY BLANKS TEAM AND HIS WHOLE SEASON AND HIS SUPPER BOWL DREAM! BLANK IS A CROOK AND HE GOT WHAT HE DESERVE! THE FALCONS ARE NOTHING BUT PAPPER CHAMPIONS! FAKE ALL THE WAY! MATTY HOPELESS IS A NO BODY WHO PEEPLE DONT CARE ABOUT NO MORE AFTER HE THREW THE WHOLE SEASON AWAY TO GREEN BAY! GREEN BAY WILL DO THE SAME TO ATL AGAIN THIS YEAR! IF THE EAGELS AND MV7 LEAVE ANY THING AFTER THEY GET DONE! MIKE AND THE EAGELS ARE GOING TO TEAR UP YOUR BEHIND LIKE HORMEL CHILI BLANK! SOME BODY CALL AN AMBULANCE FOR AUTHUR BLANK! HE SOIL HIS NICKERS!

Chris

August 24th, 2011
10:06 am

Braves going for the WS. UGA football starting up. Once the Braves lose in the first round and UGA loses their first two games, people will start talking about the Falcons like they should.

Jamaaliver

August 24th, 2011
10:06 am

1)The preseason appearances haven’t been particularly scintillating.
The offense has struggled; we’ve lost both games.

2)Philadelphia signed the bigger names in Free Agency. Alot of the pundits are picking New orleans to win the division.

3)The Braves are playing incredibly coming down the stretch.

4)The Bulldogs have one of their biggest games in years forthcoming.

5)The last actual game we saw the Falcons play, they got hammered by a wild-card team. Badly.

Any of the above really.

JSS

August 24th, 2011
10:07 am

They are the NFC’s version of the Chiefs. No one except for the diehard 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 compared than a feeling of honest elation. Sorry, but that is the truth… Put it this way, they could quickly become a 21st century version of the Vikings without the strong fan following if they don’t win a title soon.

Darth Hater

August 24th, 2011
10:08 am

Frankly, I was hoping the NFL would go out of business after the lockout.

I now care MUCH LESS about the Falcons and the NFL than I did this time last year.

tonyb

August 24th, 2011
10:09 am

Maybe its because we as Falcon fans have grown up and raised our expectations as well. At this point, the novelty of actually mattering in the league has worn off. We are now becoming more like what a Pittsburgh, New England, etc fan is, we expect this team to compete. We don’t become giddy because we may win 10 or 11 games, we now expect that to be the end result. Our expectation levels are not..can we make the playoffs..but rather, how far can and will we go. That was the aim of Arthur Blank when he bought the team, and I think he is achieving that goal. Trust me, being a 26 year STH, its nice to win.

Gumbo

August 24th, 2011
10:11 am

We shudder at the thought of Brees, Manning, Rodgers, Johnson et al vs Franks/Owens. Groundhog Day is coming soon!

PMC

August 24th, 2011
10:11 am

They aren’t really built as a hype worthy team Mark. I love them. I love them when they are broken and Kurt Kittner is under center so of course I love them and believe in them now.

That said, this team currently is boring. They average around 6 yards a pass and 3 yards a run. Not explosive. Our last memory of the team is them looking horribly miserably mismatched as the #1 seed in the playoffs at home.

Harry Douglass is finally back, new WR sure. We still haven’t seen Ray Edwards in action yet.

Cautious optimism is more expected at this point than Buzz Worthiness.

They have been built in this rather boring but professional manner over the last 3 seasons and it’s translated to excellent regular season success. Until they do it in the playoffs though, people won’t be excited…. unless of course they start scoring 40 pts a game instead of scoring 24 on 8 FG’s a game.

I love these guys, but currently, this offense is about as exciting as watching field turf grow.

No Legs Larry

August 24th, 2011
10:12 am

there’s still pro football in GA? Saturday is for football, Sunday is for watching football DVR’ed on Saturday.

PMC

August 24th, 2011
10:13 am

People who type in all caps always seem like crack addicts to me.

Henry D.

August 24th, 2011
10:14 am

Maybe because they have lost two games (preseason or not) and looked like crap doing it!

PMC

August 24th, 2011
10:15 am

The very short history of relatively interesting profootball (basically 12 years) in this town has quite a bit to do with it.

If they remain good and professional like this though, eventually more people will adopt them.

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2011
10:16 am

Thanks, folks. This is good stuff. Keep it coming.

Rick

August 24th, 2011
10:17 am

I’m buzzing. Wait, what was the question?

Atlantahasnopassionforfootball

August 24th, 2011
10:17 am

Probably for the same reason there is no”buzz” for tech year in and year out……….4 million folks and you have a hard time filling a stadium for anything. C’mon up to God’s Country 60 miles away and take a few lessons.

Tom

August 24th, 2011
10:17 am

Because the thought of Michael Turner running for 2 yards a carry and the defense getting repeatedly smoked does not make one excited.

Woodrow

August 24th, 2011
10:18 am

I think it’s because the Saints are the media darlings in the division, still receiving the benefit of the doubt for their (somewhat) recent Super Bowl win. Also, the entire sports “journalism” industry has been in the bag for them since Hurricane Katrina (Seriously, when they cover the Saints, ESPN goons need a subject, a verb, and Hurricane Katrina). Maybe if the earthquake had severely damaged the Georgia Dome or something everyone would fall in love with the Falcons.
Even though you don’t hear too much about the Saints right now, you’re definitely not gonna hear about another team from the NFC South unless you hear about the Saints first.

And I’m not even a Falcons fan.
Go Niners!

Kathi

August 24th, 2011
10:18 am

I am a season ticket holder who dealt with a price increase this year and a non-responsive customer service department. The lock-out was offensive to me but when I can’t get a response to an e-mail to customer service and I realize I’ve spent almost $3k for tickets and parking I get offended. When I follow up with a call a “no” answer is all I can get I get offended. This is my last year as a season ticket holder and I am attempting to sell my tickets for this season.

Tech Fan Since 1950

August 24th, 2011
10:19 am

If there is any “buzzing” to be done Mark, it is going to be done over at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field, Atlanta’s original football field. There is nothing more exciting in this town than college football. Kind of tough to get really excited about a bunch of millionaires out for their daily exercise period.

Munz

August 24th, 2011
10:19 am

Because we’re forced to read the train wreck that is D. Orlando Ledbetter.

techfan

August 24th, 2011
10:19 am

Basically what GTHorsie said. I think it extends even further for pro football. Atlanta has just never been a city that will get excited about a pro football team. Regardless of how good the Falcons are projected to be.

Jamaaliver

August 24th, 2011
10:19 am

@JSS

How can they be the NFC version of the Chiefs after (really) only one truly disappointing post-season?

The Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game in decades. In that same span we have two NFC Championship game appearances, an historic win at Lambeau Field and a Super Bowl appearance.

Gumbo

August 24th, 2011
10:20 am

Two Words – Mike Mularky

PMC

August 24th, 2011
10:20 am

Also, I think there are a lot of people who simply don’t know that Matt Ryan threw for 28 TD’s last year.

The poor 3rd down defense (in ability to get off the field) also tempers excitement. I think opposing teams converted 40% on 3rd downs last year….

and yet with all the massive glaring flaws, they were 13 and 3.

They are better than we can give them credit for because they always look so bad doing it.

Derrick

August 24th, 2011
10:21 am

The reason for the lack of buzz goes back to that embarrassing playoff loss. It sucked the air out of our fan base. The reality is this is a team that is averaging 11 wins a year which is elite level. We got behind in that game before the half and had to go away from our bread and butter which is ball control with the running game. Our GM has blessed us with a game breaking WR to go along with an already potent offense. Count me as one of the few who are buzzing about the season.

Atlantahasnopassionforfootball

August 24th, 2011
10:22 am

this is a joke

Fred-D

August 24th, 2011
10:22 am

It’s a combination of both the Green Bay game and not trusting them to win big when they should. Combine the playoff loss (the way they lost more importantly) and the fact that they rarely put teams away that they clearly had on the ropes, turning possible blowouts into potential nailbiters; any true longtime/suffering Falcons fan,no matter how confident they are that this franchise has finally turned the corner, can’t escape that feeling that not only will their hearts be broken (as will every fan of every team except one), but it will get steam rolled like the Green Bay game, and The Super Bowl, and the Cowboys playoff game back in the days of William Andrews and Co.

Jamaaliver

August 24th, 2011
10:23 am

@JSS

How can they be the NFC version of the Chiefs after (really) only one truly disappointing post-season?

The Chiefs haven’t won a single playoff game in decades. In that same span we have two NFC Championship game appearances, an historic win at Lambeau Field and a Super Bowl appearance.

FalconFan4Life

August 24th, 2011
10:24 am

I think the Lockout has calmed our enthusiasm plus the fact we all remember Aaron Rodgers on 3rd and 10 repeatedly finding the one receiver open and Owens trailing. With Owens still the probable option as the 3rd corner I don’t trust that we can beat a top notch QB like Rodgers or Brees.

Atlantahasnopassionforfootball

August 24th, 2011
10:24 am

Come up north just a tad and take some lessons on what goes on in Athens. Atlanta can’t fill up a stadium for anything. You would think after decades of observation you could figure that out. Cheers to the most fair weather city in the nation!

Jake

August 24th, 2011
10:24 am

Fan patience is very fragile. Three winning seasons in a row is a new plateau, but I do not think there is any high confidence that the Falcons are as good as their record. We won a lot of games by razor thin margins and blew out almost no teams. We got blow out as usual by the Eagles. If the Falcons can jump one or two more barriers to the third round or the Super Bowl, the buzz will return to ear splitting volumes. Remember how fans felt about the Braves after winning the 7th, 8th…division championship only to lose every year even before getting to the series. We could not even sell out some home playoff games. The Falcons need one more bump and I believe we have the ownership and coaching staff dedicated to making it happen. Go Falcons!

Atlantahasnopassionforfootball

August 24th, 2011
10:25 am

I think if you get Deon on the sideline wearing little wings on his back you will pack them in!!

Treeofwoe

August 24th, 2011
10:26 am

We regard the season with cautious optimism because…

(1) Most of us look at the opening half of the season and it’s a BEAST.

(2) Those of us who are honest still don’t trust the Secondary yet. Grimes and the two safteties are fine…but Duntay and the nickleback are question-marks.

(3) We’ll have to get by Green Bay or Philly to get to the SuperBowl. Until we win a playoff game against that kind of competition we’ll be neurotic about it.

With that said I’m still personally really excited about this season. When you look closely at the first half schedule. Only Green Bay and Philly give me pause. The rest I know we can beat, but I need to see some games to feel good about our secondary and pass rush.

Big Country

August 24th, 2011
10:26 am

Enter your comments here

Casey Anthony

August 24th, 2011
10:26 am

What? Why aren’t we buzzing? If you’re ‘buzzing’ about the Falcons, then write about it. I love how people in the media talk about things not betting enough attention even though it’s their job to report on it.

Remarkable

August 24th, 2011
10:26 am

The reason is that it isn’t real yet. Its just pre-season football and it’s hard to get all excited when your key players don’t play more than 15 minutes. Soon it will get REAL and you’ll see more excitement.

However, that said, the Braves play almost every day. They don’t play just on Sunday. Every night we can watch them play and see if they are improving or struggling. Every morning there is a new article on AJC about the most recent game and what happened. We get new fuel for the Fan Fire that most sports fans feel. If the Braves were letting us down, back in the pack, or just not a great group of guys then we would be more interested in the next sports season and the next team. I for one love to see the Braves playing like the LLWS teams. They high five, hug, and throw water on each other. They are fun to watch. I’m not even as excited about UGA football and have no interest in the Hawks. The Falcons will still be there when the Braves season is over. Until then, “Go Braves.” It feels like 1991 all over again.

David

August 24th, 2011
10:27 am

Mark,

It’s the GB game, coupled with the fact that the Eagles signed Nnamdi, and also went out and grabbed another corner, Rodgers-Cromartie, to go with their already-Pro Bowler, Asante Samuel (that was a confusing sentence; in short, they got a lot of talent in that secondary). I’ve been telling everyone for months that too many people are sleeping on a team that won 13 games, returns everyone important (I think we’ll miss Dahl, but that’s it), and has a QB that just finished his third season. I predict we go 12-4, but also predict we lose again to Green Bay, this time in the NFC Championship.

Peter

August 24th, 2011
10:27 am

Maybe people finally realize that baseball is the only sport that matters in September and October. LET’S GO BRAVES!!!

Casey Anthony

August 24th, 2011
10:27 am

*getting

Also, you are a tool

KornDawg

August 24th, 2011
10:28 am

Like ClemsonBrad said, it’s a combination of things. Personally, I’m getting fired up for the Dawgs, while also enjoying the run the Braves are on. I think I’ll start getting excited about the Falcons after I see how they do in the first two games, Philadelphia in particular. I don’t think Chicago is going to be an easy game, and I had the misfortune of being at the dome for the last game against the Eagles, which seemed like a home game for them, with all the Vick love.

dz

August 24th, 2011
10:29 am

As an Atlanta native, and a die-hard ATL sports fan.. I can tell you that I think most people are reserved about the Falcons right now for a couple of reasons:

1. It is still pre-season – No matter what people’s opinions are about pre-season, it just doesn’t really matter.

2. The Falcons, as a fanbase and team, had a HUGE letdown after that GB game. I can tell you honestly, for a week after that GB game, I just felt like it was probably one of the largest let-downs I have ever experienced. It was truely awful.

3. Being a long-time Atlanta native as I am, I can tell you that as soon as I start getting optimistic about a sports team here, all h$ll breaks loose and the team falls apart. I’d rather us go under the spotlight, and perform well, than be in the spotlight 24/7.

4. The Braves are playing some d$mn good baseball right now, and I think alot of ATLers are riding that train.

Again, wait for the regular season to start, and I guarentee you there will be alot of hype. I went to the first Preseason game, and it was PACKED, like I mean probably 80% full for a PRESEASON game.

Home opener vs Philly? I mean come on, give it a little time. THat game is going to be rediculous!

Go Falcons!

Ben

August 24th, 2011
10:29 am

(1) Lingering strike/lockout fallout,

(2) The Braves,

(3) The horrible showing in last years playoffs,

(4) Pre-season football is boring, and the Falcons have been especially boring so far.

Todd

August 24th, 2011
10:29 am

I was hoping the league would go out of business. When you have gasoline hovering around $3.50-4.00 gallon, ever increasing power bills, and no jobs to be found, you have a real short fuse for millionaire babies whining over how much they make playing a child’s game. It would take a free ticket and no more than $3 beer to get me in the stadium on a Sunday. Mark, it is people like you and the rest of the media that make such a big deal over every little NFL thing out there. The rest of us have to live our lives in the real world.

KL

August 24th, 2011
10:29 am

I’d say it’s 3 and 4. The GB game still hurts!