It's not the team we want, but it's the team we have.
A rough summation of the 2013 Atlanta Falcons season thus far would include the following:
- Significant injuries for Steven Jackson, Bradie Ewing, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Mike Johnson, Sam Baker, Kroy Biermann, Sean Weatherspoon, Akeem Dent, Asante Samuel and the team's pride
- A 1-4 record, mass panic from the fanbase and calls for the head coach and general manager to be fired
- Calls for Tony Gonzalez to be traded
- The sinking realization that the Falcons are going to be an uphill battle to make the playoffs and have virtually no shot at the NFC South
That's a tough start to the year, the toughest since the loathsome 2007 season or the disappointing 1999. I can't promise you it's going to get better, either. Predictably, this has led to some soul-searching over what this year means for us as Falcons fans and what we can do to ride it out.
Many of you are probably familiar with my history as a fan, which stretches back to (guesstimating, I was young) 1989. Those years were pocked with failure and disappointment, right up until the glorious '98 season. That one ended poorly, too.
The point is, success for these Falcons has been fleeting and not to be expected. When I kicked off The Falcoholic in October 2006, I had hope that the Michael Vick-led Falcons would turn the corner, but no expectation that they would. One learned not to expect anything, and then one was sometimes pleasantly surprised.
That seemed to change in 2008.We saw the most sustained success in Falcons history, with two 13-3 records, an NFC Conference Championship Game and lots of wins. It was a lot of fun, but uneasiness remained. Always.
Some fans have never fully embraced this incarnation of the team, and I've always believed there were two primary reasons for that. The first is that they're so recent that failure is foreign to them, and this feels cataclysmic. The second is that they've been fans for so long that a successful Falcons team still looked like all the old Falcons teams in a nice suit: Still a loser.
And so, we have wildly divergent reactions to this team in 2013. There's the crowd that still believe it's possible to right the ship. We have those who are feeling like this team is doomed and the only way to fix things is to clean house, sweeping out the regime and some of the players. And then there are the fans that are resigned to a lousy season, but will keep that little sliver of hope alive anyways.
Know what? None of that is wrong, even if I wish you guys would stop asking for John Abraham
back. Being a Falcons fan in 2013 just means we're having to deal with the kind of absurd fortune and lackluster play we had sort of gotten used to not seeing over the last half-decade. How you deal with it is up to you.
Hope for the best, expect the worst. That's all we can do.
More from The Falcoholic: