We've linked to him. He's linked to us. We've read his stuff for three years now. Now, he's leaving the nest and striking on his own. The managing editor of the official Atlanta Falcons website, J. Michael Moore, is leaving the Atlanta Falcons organization. I'm sure you'll all join me in wishing him the best in his new endeavor. Sure is sad to see him go though.
When I learned of his departure last week, I asked him if he'd mind doing a sort of "exit interview" with me for the site and he kindly obliged.
Adam: You've certainly seen a lot the past three seasons, from the worst imaginable situation (2007) to a meteoric rise from the ashes (2008) and a historical earmark in the pages of Falcons lore (2009). What are some of your favorite "wow" moments from your time covering the Falcons?
JMike: That's a great question and I'm not sure any answer is the right one. I could type all night and not list all the great moments. For starters, Matt Ryan's pass to Michael Jenkins to set up Jason Elam's last-second field goal against the Bears in 2008 was amazing. I'll always look back at that moment fondly for two reasons: it's the time we all realized Ryan has "it" and it's the second-best ending to a game I've ever seen in person (next to the Music City Miracle).
On a less uplifting note, the Bobby Petrino resignation really made me say "wow." It was a surreal experience, but the way the team rallied together around Interim Head Coach Emmitt Thomas - players and staff -- and got through that last trying time of 2007 was really something special. It's a big part of Falcons history I helped document so it will always be in my memory. Let's also not forget that the turmoil of 2007 is what made 2008 and 2009 so very special.
Finally, taking the photo of fans in Tampa after the win to clinch back-to-back winning seasons was pretty cool. It's one of my favorite blog posts and to say ‘hello' to everyone who supported the team and read the blog for so long was a touching experience.
Follow the jump for the rest.
Adam: Three seasons, one playoff appearance. That means you've experienced forty-nine full games. And half of those were on the road. Any really awesome "on the road" memories you'd like to share?
JMike: I've actually spent seven seasons working for NFL teams, so my total number of games attended in person (including road trips and playoffs) is 130. I didn't travel in Tennessee, missed one preseason trip as an intern in Houston and two other trips - one to see my grandfather just before he passed away and another due to illness - in Denver and Atlanta.
The best road win for the Falcons in my time, hands down, was the 2008 victory at Green Bay. It was my first time at Lambeau for a game and it was another one of those moments where I knew the coaching staff and players had something special going. As it turns out, that "special" thing was an 11-5 season. As an intern in Houston I was on the sideline for an upset win at Kansas City. That was also pretty cool.
Adam: What are the three things you'll miss the most once you've left?
JMike: It may sound sappy, but I'm going to say relationships, game day, and readers. Obviously I'll still talk to all the great people I've worked with in Atlanta and - hopefully - get to see them at a few games but the day-to-day camaraderie that gets built on a NFL staff is something truly remarkable. Imagine working on a really big project with the most competitive people you know. It's awesome.
Gameday is just incredible and gets the blood pumping no matter how tired you are. Hard not to miss that.
Finally, the readers and fans... They kept my job fun and interesting. They didn't always agree with me and were quick to point out typos and errors (which I totally respect and like), but keeping them informed and entertained was always my drive. I want to thank them all for their time and support.
Adam: You've seen a lot of football venues. Any particular stadium stand out to you as the best (aside from the Dome, of course)?
JMike: The Dome is great and I'm looking forward to seeing plenty more games there. I think there are different categories of stadiums: Cool buildings and best venues. Tennessee, Baltimore and Kansas City may be the best places to watch a game. The facilities are almost exclusive to football and the press box is low and in the middle of the field. Arrowhead Stadium is also a cool place with lots of intrinsic appeal. Straight-up cool buildings, in my opinion, would have to be INVESCO Field at Mile High, Cowboys Stadium (of course) and the new Soldier Field. I haven't been to Seattle or Washington so they could get added to either list in the future. Best press box food? Tie between Tampa (home of the carving station) and Arizona (the halftime chip-which).
Adam: Have any plans to forge your own path in the blogging world?
JMike: I'm not sure. I've been a sportswriter since I was 16 years old. I love to write and kept a personal blog before kicking off things on AF.com. Nothing in the works right now, but I can't imagine myself not writing somewhere on the Web, even if it's just a site to keep my family informed of what's happening in the lives of my wife and I. My family and faith are incredibly important to me, so I think I'd never stop writing about that in some form or fashion.
My thanks to J. Michael Moore for sharing some time and answers with us. Good luck!