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Hat Contest Winner #1 - TO Falcon

The first winner of the Defend the Dome Hard Hat contest is TO falcon! He hails all the way from that glorious land of "futbol," fish and chip shops, and Indian takeaway; the UK! Here's why he's a Falcon fan:

"Being from the UK, its not an easy feat becoming tangled up in the web of hope and despair that is, the life of an Atlanta Falcons fan. My first exposure to the sport through a friend (Skins fan) who I often played Madden with. Being a teenage kid at the time, anything that made me different and helped forge my identity was welcomed (remember its the UK, I was 1 of 2 people I knew who liked the sport). The thirst for more drove me to actually play for a local youth team and I started cruising the web for something other than porn, and found other fans to converse with - like you guys!

However, I was yet to pick a team. It wasn't until September, 10 2006 when I watched my now beloved, Atlanta Falcons, beat the Carolina Panthers 20-6 at the Bank of America Stadium, North Carolina. That game I fell in love with the team asVick wowed me, Dunn gained 132 yards rushing and Abraham dominated their O-Line. From that day, I was a UK Falc. Knowing myself as a 16/17 year old kid at the time, I knew full well that it could have just been a phase. 

But, 4 years down the line i'm more committed than ever. Having seen 6 NFL teams play live at the International Series in London, i'm saving for that all important first trip to the Dome! I don't think some American fans understand how difficult it can be following the Falcons from here. The TV coverage has improved vastly, however, its dominated by the Cowboys, Patriots and now the Saints. I have to cruise the internet (I do this a lot...) for links to streams and watch on a tiny netbook until the link ultimately breaks and the search is on again. For Monday Night Football, this means watching from 1am to 4am GMT and getting up for work 4 hours later.Then, starved of coverage, I find myself reading any online content I can find to get my fix of Falcon news. This doesn't even factor in the hundreds of dollars i've spent on shipping merchandise over to the UK so that I can show my support.

Why do I do this I hear you ask. Why? Just like love, you dont have a choice. You may not like it/them, but you know you love it/them. The early disappointments only served to endear me to the team. Just like when you first fall in love, that snoring is so beautiful. Going through the Petrino era felt like a baptism of fire that left me forged close to the heart. I felt more desperate for the Falcons to break a virtually meaningless back to back streak more than I want my own British teams to win anything. American football does this to a person. 16 games a year instead of 7,000,000 like Baseball (sorry Dave). Every one matters, therefore as a fan, you feel like your opinion and voice matters.

Why do I support Atlanta Falcons? Because i'm in Love. I'm in love with a girl thats unreliable, unrelenting, bad for my health and causes me nothing but stress and heartache. But would I change her for any other girl in the league? Hell no. I'm in love with the Atlanta Falcons. And shes cheating on me with all of you but I don't long as I can watch you."