Reality Check

The emotions I experienced this weekend watching the highly lauded Saints and Packers fall to their playoff foes were in this order:

  1. Shock
  2. Disbelief
  3. Maniacal Glee
  4. Even More Shock and Disbelief
  5. Unadulterated Joy
  6. Serenity

For us Falcons fan, the schadenfreude of watching the evil Saints and the smelly Packers lose playoff games they were supposed to cruise through was wonderful and has helped seal the wound of our embarrassing first round exit. But these losses should also represent something else: a reality check on the state of the Falcons.

The grumblings over the hiring of Dirk Koetter only confirmed that Falcons fans have been feeling a little jealous about the weapons our NFC rivals throw out there. We want to win like the Saints and Packers. We want Matt Ryan to amass 5,000 yards of passing by slinging the ball around to Roddy, Harry, and Julio like Rodgers and Brees do to their receivers. We want to hang half a hundred on opponents and listen to Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden salivate over our offensive scheme. We don't want some no name offensive coordinator to tweak us, we want to blow it up and install Sean Payton's and Mike McCarthy's offense. But guess what? We just watched two of the best offensive teams in NFL history lose demonstrably to offenses and defenses none of us covet.

I'm as guilty as anyone at looking across the fence and feeling the pangs of jealousy. But I feel better about our team than I have in the past year, because the Giants and Niners just proved that solid, well-coached teams win games. We have a quarterback light years beyond Alex Smith and receiver set far superior to what Eli Manning works with. We have great defensive pieces just waiting to be put in the right position. The new coordinators coming in aren't guaranteed to be successful, but I feel confident that this team doesn't need a huge improvement to hit the next level, just some steady thinking and execution when it matters. This weekend proved that any team can lose and any team can win. I look forward to going into next year with our Falcons, not a copycat version of some other team.

How about you Falcoholics? How did you feel about the games this weekend? Do you feel better about the Birds' chances next season, or are you still feeling like we have a long way to go?

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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