The Importance Of Consistency For The Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 16: A general view of the Georgia Dome during the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers on October 16, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Consistency is boring.

The Atlanta Falcons have now won double digit games three out of four years, with four winning seasons in a row. In three of those years, they've been bounced after their first playoff game. They've consistently been been a good but not great team, and they've been just plain ol' consistent. I'm going to consistently use that word.

That means that from game-to-game, they've played about the same over the years. They beat bad teams, narrowly beat good teams and usually lose to great or explosive teams. That hasn't changed at all through these last few years. All that's changed is our own perceptions, which have gone from sheer delight at finally having a winning football team in Atlanta to a weary resignation that

This consistency winds up being a double-edged sword. By returning many of the same players, the same head coach and most of the front office, you're almost guaranteed to get nine-plus wins. That's often good enough for a playoff spot, but the team keeps running into buzzsaws and doesn't have another gear to go to. They are as good as they are.

On the plus side, that means the Falcons are perennial playoff contenders who are likely to be a good football team basically indefinitely. On the downside, they're not becoming the kind of boom or bust team (Saints, Packers, Patriots) that have been so wildly successful in recent years.

The Falcons will be hoping the first real shake-up in four years at the coaching staff level will be enough to get them to new heights with the same group of players. Whether that will happen is, of course, up for debate.

Don't count on them being any less consistent, for better or for worse. But what do you think?

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