"Haters Gonna Hate" feels appropriate here.
Sport in general is such an amazing thing. Every year, athletes around the world vie for their ultimate prize, be it a grand championship or something as simple as bragging rights with their coworkers. Years pass, and the prize changes hands. Miracles happen in sport, perhaps more than any other thing in life. The Immaculate Reception, Marshawn Lynch's Beast Mode, The Miracle On Ice, and Jordan's Flu Game are just a handful of things that make sports such an incredible thing.
I have witnessed something this week that has, once again, reminded me that there is indeed hope for us Falcons fans after all.
In 1966, sport in the United States began to change. The Vietnam War was raging on and it sucked....badly. Not everyone had their little sweetheart to come home to, so many people turned to sports to ease what was a horrible time in United States history.
Sports executives everywhere took notice. The NFL and AFL had battled for many a season, but finally agreed to set aside their differences and combine forces. The NBA allowed the Chicago Bulls to join their ranks, and the NHL fought to get a small slice of the ever-growing pie.
In 1966, the NHL agreed to expand from the "Original Six" to 12 teams because of the increasing revenues other leagues were receiving from television contracts.
Canadian Jack Kent Cooke wanted to own one of the new NHL expansion teams, and paid a juicy $2 million dollars to the NHL so he could have one of them.
On February 9, 1966, the Los Angeles Kings were born.
You see, a funny thing happened that year. The NFL wanted to expand, too, because the AFL and NFL didn't like each other. Both leagues had an odd number of teams and both played for the same championship, so why not make it one big happy family?
On September 11, 1966, our own Atlanta Falcons played their first game in the NFL.
In the annals of sports history, both teams shared their moments of ups and downs. The Kings had perhaps the greatest hockey player of all time in Wayne Gretzky, but they could never win a title.
The Falcons had perhaps the greatest defense of all time, and, at one point, perhaps the most mind-blowing quarterback of all time, but they could never win a title.
For 45 years, both teams toed the line of greatness and mediocrity, but neither won a title.
Then, on June 11, 2012, the Los Angeles Kings, the lowest seeded team in the Western Conference, won their first championship in the team's history.
When I discovered that, I was astonished. Gretzky was such an amazing player, and yet he never won a championship with the Kings despite having won four championships with the Edmonton Oilers. (Shows you how team oriented these sports are, eh?)
This is what makes sports such an amazing thing. You know, in the final Stanley Cup game, the Kings put forth more effort in the final 5 minutes of the game than they did in the entire 55 minutes prior? Could you imagine what it must've felt like to be the first Kings team to win a championship after 45 years?
You know what they did? They broke the curse; the sickly, "What are you doing in this city" curse that plagued that poor team for so long.
That's the Falcons folks, and that's the Falcons very, very soon.