We'll never learn to love the way the 2012 season ended, and nor should we. As Falcons fans, though, we must find some joy in the best parts of the season.
It turns out the Falcons set a new NFL record in 2012, one that speaks well to the team's discipline and penchant for avoiding penalties. They had the last penalty yardage in the league and and the fewest accepted penalties, two categories which will help you get a smile out of Mike Smith any day of the year.
Under Smitty, the Falcons have made avoiding penalties a priority. Given their frequently razor-thin margins of victory, that's been crucially important throughout his tenure, but it made an especially big difference in 2012. I'm not even that surprised that they managed to get the record, when you consider how infrequent the penalties really were and how colossal they often seemed because of their rarity.
As long as the current regime is in place, I imagine we'll be seeing plenty more seasons with low penalty yardage, but this might be the only time they set a record. Kudos to the 2012 Atlanta Falcons.