Do you remember how amazing the 1998 season was? Chris Chandler slinging it. Jamal Anderson doing the Dirty Bird end zone dance. Bob Whitfield tearing people up. And the linebackers...oh, the linebackers...Cornelius Bennett, the rookie Keith Brooking, and Jessie "the Hammer" Tuggle. The ageless Morten Andersen was money, all day. Now THAT was a great team, so fun to watch.
The Falcons went 14-2 that year, best in franchise history and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Sure, it was disappointing to lose to the Broncos, but I actually hosted a Super Bowl party...and my favorite team for decades was playing! I kept thinking, "This is how Cowboy and 49er and Steeler fans feel, to have your team be on the big stage. This is amazing!!"
After such a great year, there was unbridled optimism for more. More wins, more playoffs...more Super Bowl appearances. But that is not really how being a die-hard Falcons fan has worked out, as the 3rd year of the Dan Reeves era let reality in through an open window somewhere and reality violently, harshly came crashing in. In 1999, the Falcons started 0-4. Ouch...man, we were just in the Super Bowl last year. Then 1-6 turned into 1-9...double ouch. The season mercifully ended at 5-11, as we all watched the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" go on to win the Super Bowl. It was a horrible year, like many in the Falcons' lackluster past. But it was especially, memorably difficult because the last year was so amazing. I had tasted the nectar of fan bliss for one quick drink, never to have it again.
2012 was incredible, wasn't it? So close to the Super Bowl, such great plays and drama. My favorite was the comeback against the Panthers, but I am a RW84 guy.
Sigh...this year feels an awful lot like 1999. Don't you agree?