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The Atlanta Falcon Fanbase Has A Bum Rap

Over at Pacman Jonesin', Adam looks at the ten worst fanbases in the NFL. You'll never guess who's on that list:

Atlanta Falcons - Falcons fans belong on this list every bit as much as Cards fans do. In fact, the Falcons were actually ranked second worst in the NFL fan loyalty study I linked above. Considering the size of the Atlanta market, that's just embarrassing. The city has bad fans, and what's going on with the Atlanta Hawks backs up that claim. When Michael Vick has to sit out all year long, the Georgia Dome is going to be empty. Falcons fans don't pack the seats for Ookie (is this pic right before an electrocution, or a hanging?), so I definitely don't see them doing so for Joey Harrington.

Adam alerted me to this post with the disclaimer that it's meant to spark a friendly discussion, so I'm going to throw a happy hand grenade back over the fence. Atlanta has historically been known as a bad city for fans. Between the fact that the Atlanta Hawks have two fans named "Ted" and "John", the Atlanta Braves have that embarassing Tomahawk Chop, and the Falcons have historically been a very bad team, our rep is basically shot. You don't get a reputation like that without deserving it, but I would argue that most of our fans are still well-informed and care deeply about the Falcons. I will never understand how a team like the Saints could have their fans wearing bags over their heads out of embarassment and still be considered more loyal fans. I don't want to pick on the Saints so much, though, because there's another team ranked higher than us that deserves that ire. You see, the rankings Adam is basing his thoughts on are so incredibly dumb that they rank the single worst fanbase in football above ours.

Namely, the freakin' Arizona Cardinals.

Someone please help me understand these goddamn ratings. I'm not sure why the December temperature, fairyland "difficulty rating" and per capita income factor so heavily into this. I guess they're trying to figure out if most people are too poor to go to the stadium? Why don't we just throw in what kind of music people like? Atlanta fans love Talib Kweli, so they must hate football. Or better yet, how many Atlanta fans have a fear of spiders? That could be very relevant to the discussion. As are December temperatures, of course. I totally see how if you're too much of a wuss to attend a football game in December, it should count against your team. This is all making so much sense to me that I think I'll have BizJournals just go ahead and rank my friends and family. That way I'll know which ones suck and which ones I can still hang out with.

It seems to me to be much more relevant that the Cardinals fill 60% of their seats, compared to 82% for the Falcons. Call me crazy, but I think a team that fills a little over half their seats probably has worse fan support than a team that fills over 75%. Yet there are the Cardinals, smugly and completely irrationally towering over us. At least Adam's list is in alphabetical order. It also includes such fan bases as the Saints, who before the last couple of years (and I'll admit, those were truly inspiring displays of loyalty) were probably worse than the average image of a Falcons fan. I don't feel comfortable straight up arguing Adam's rankings until we all get a chance to rally behind this year's team, but nothing's stopping you guys from ripping on him if you think it's justified.