Bob Whitfields, these guys aren't.
The Falcons are the least penalized team in the NFL, according to ESPN's Pat Yasinskas, with a measly 48.. That's a truly remarkable accomplishment, if you consider every fan on an opposing team who has complained that Roddy White pushes off, Michael Turner plays too rough and Matt Ryan's penetrating eyes make them feel funny inside. It speaks to a kind of discipline that I'm glad to embrace.
It also speaks to the maturation of this team, a theme I've been expounding on occasionally as the season has rumbled along. Good football teams like the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts avoid stupid penalties, and the Falcons have hurdled Sam Baker's durfy penalty storm and William Moore's angry karate chops earlier this year and crossed into smart territory. It's little wonder they're winning.
Just think, friends: We could be watching the beginning of a real dynasty here in Atlanta. A Falcons team that has depth, talent, intelligence and discipline in spades, and one that doesn't feel the need to hold, hack and interfere their way through life. Refreshing, isn't it?
And the opposite end of the spectrum in this case would of course be the Oakland Raiders, who own 112 penalties this season.