One of the great debates among sports fans is what defines a "successful season". Some think it's Super Bowl or bust, while others are happy with any positive result. It's a fascinating differ in thought process.
It stands to reason that the Falcons could win 11 games - a fantastic regular season effort - and miss the playoffs entirely. Does that constitute a failed season?
The NFC is stacked out of its mind. The Lions, Bears, Packers, Falcons, Saints, Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles all have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs, not to mention the 49ers, who will most assuredly claim their division. That's not even mentioning the upstart Panthers, who some believe could win the division. I didn't know comedy hour was still happening!
That's 10 (9) teams for 6 spots and, in essence (and reality), 8 teams for 5 spots. It stands to reason that if the Saints are one game better than the Falcons, the Falcons could miss the playoffs entirely due to some ugly tiebreakers. The Patriots went 11-5 in 2008 and missed the playoffs.
I think an 11 win season is a successful regular season. If we don't make the playoffs despite winning 11 games, I can't say I would complain too much. It would be easier to say, "Oh, we should've done better." but sometimes the cards don't fall our way in both life and football. Plus, winning 12 of 16 games is a difficult task in nearly any game, let alone football.
If the Falcons win 11 games, but miss the playoffs due to tiebreakers, would you consider it a failed season? Or would you consider it successful in spite of the Falcons not being able to prove their playoff worth?