I just wanted to link to an article from the always excellent Len Pasquarelli from ESPN.com, who examines the Petrino contract as another instance of an owner seling hope to his fans and his franchise. He then takes a good look at Petrino himself and concludes there's little chance that he delivers on the promise. That's a depressing thought, of course, but I don't happen to agree.
In any fan base, there's a number of fans who gaze starry eyed at the team's best players and simply live and die by them. There's a smaller collection of people who know everyone on the team and selectively love or hate them based entirely on what they do week to week. And there's perhaps an even smaller collection of fans who trace a team through it's entire history and cling to the hope that one day it'll be different, whether or not that hope ever seems likely to bear fruit. You can talk to Red Sox fans about all three of these types, and the Falcons are certainly due for some good news. Pasquarelli tells us that Petrino's a job ditcher and that he's going to be facing a vast army of incompetence and unfufilled ability. The grand majority of Falcons fans know these things, but no matter who you are, you don't stop hoping that one of these days, this team will reach its apex and Michael Vick will start lobbing touchdown passes like he's going to run out of them at any second.
What I'm trying to say is that we're all still believing it, somehow. I'm excited to see Petrino coming despite the many question marks, and I'm even mildly excited to have Hue Jackson and Mike Zimmer on board. Arthur Blank is selling this team to us fresh every year, and no matter how vividly we remember the 7-9 finish this year and the fired coaching staff, we're still going to buy it. Whether you're just up for the games on Sunday or whether you read every little tidbit you can scrape off these here Internets, you've got a stake in this. Whether Pasquarelli is right or not, Bobby Petrino's going to come in here with the expectations of a playoff berth within the first couple years, and that's probably as it should be. The only thing harder than rooting for the only team never to have back to back winning seasons is giving up on it.