Why an Atlanta game in Houston is blacked out in the Western North Carolina Mountains is beyond me.
I caught chunks of the game on Red Zone Channel. I watched highlights (begrudgingly). I listened to Wes Durham's call of the final two plays of the game (begrudgingly also). I saw the desperate pleas for victory on the game threads.
I witnessed enough yesterday to formulate an opinion on this matter, and I'll detail it after the jump.
You know, I told my girlfriend yesterday I was done watching football. Time and time again, Georgia sports have placed this false hope in me (and many others, I'm sure), a hope that is constantly dashed.
UGA (yes, U of Georgia. I will briefly talk about them. They're an hour and a half from Atlanta. Everything will be okay.) played the single greatest defensive....half.....I've ever witnessed. Every single LSU ("The Champs", as Gary Danielson called them throughout the whole game, which disgusted me.) possession in the first half was a 3 and out, something that hadn't been done in, at the very least, SECCG history.
UGA, much like the Falcons, dropped (or misfired on) at least two sure TD passes in the first half. But the D was playing so well, I was both confident in them to get it together and also terrified that they, along with many, many other Georgia teams in history, would come back to reality.
It was 10-7 UGA at halftime, LSU's lone score coming on horrible special teams positioning, which lead to a PR TD.
The final score, if you don't already know, was 42-10, a score that is not nearly indicative of the entire game that was played. That game, plus the comical fact that every media outlet called it a "slow start" by LSU rather than an outright domination by UGA for one half pretty much broke my football spirit. Well, it was more the game and watching the slow, agonizing destruction of UGA than the media, but I found the media to be especially dumb in this scenario.
I have long watched UGA football and other Georgia sports suffer inexplicable defeat after inexplicable defeat, leaving many people like myself wondering if there will ever be a time when a real championship graces this city in this era.
cheshire_falcon mentioned this yesterday, but no sports fan has the right to complain aside from Atlanta people unless you're from Cleveland, which is both hilarious AND true, because Georgia's only big time championship in the past 30 years (see what I did there, 1981 is not 1980) was the Braves beating....you guessed it....the Cleveland Indians. The team in the only city possibly more cursed than us.
Now I imagine there are a lot of you (Dave) who care about the Falcons and nothing else in Georgia. That's fine. That's why you're here and not on DawgSports or Talking Chop or The Playoff Hawks Suck (I don't know what the Hawks one is called).
I only tell you that to explain that this is not isolated to just the Falcons. The whole friggin' state has this problem. Georgia Tech's "Nat'l Championship" in 1990 was shared with the Buffaloes of Colorado. It wasn't even a sole possession of the championship! And when was the last time Colorado was good at football? I don't know.
Sound silly? Of course it does. I only tell you these things because, while I haven't been around for 30+ years of Falcons football, I have been around for at least 10 years of a whole bunch of Georgia crap.
So how does this relate to the Falcons? Well, this is probably the most championship worthy of a team since the '98 Braves (who still lost, btw, despite having one of, if not the, greatest starting 5 in the past forever.)
But just like the Braves of the late 90s, who still managed to lose in the playoffs every year, the Falcons have constantly withered when it mattered most. 13-3 last year meant nothing. We could've been 16-0 and it wouldn't have made a difference. 2008, same story. We played a Cardinals team that was ripe for the picking with our rookie QB, and what happened? We faltered, just like every time.
There is a part of me that doesn't want to watch anymore. It makes me sick thinking that we let a perfectly winnable game slip away. And you know, I'm not sure we ever had that game. Two incredibly embarrassing efforts for Georgia sports on consecutive days is enough for me to at least want to get away from football for a little while.
But alas, I cannot. I'd liken it to an addiction, really. No matter how badly I want to get away from it, I can't resist the urge to come back. Perhaps it's more akin to the fact that there's still some morsel inside of me that believes there's still a chance of a real, legitimate victory this time. Of course, being let down every time is, well, unpleasant.
Before you call me on being negative nancy, if I didn't think we would win, I wouldn't watch. I don't watch to watch my team lose. That's a waste of time. I watch to see them win, regardless of how it happens.
I don't think I'm alone in saying that I just want to witness and remember a championship for one of my teams in my lifetime. I was 7 when the '95 Braves won the Series. The ONLY thing I remember about that series was the final out, and that's only because it has been replayed a million times in Braves history, so I might not even remember the actual thing.
It sounds silly, but what about Chicago? The Cubs have been held without a Series for three generations, if not four. 100+ years. People have been born, lived, and died a Cubs fan without seeing a single championship for their team. Falcons fans are rapidly approaching that point. What do we have to do to get a single championship? Just one? This era of Falcons football already contains two of the greatest QBs to ever play the game (Rodgers/Brees). I sit here asking, "What does it take for just one?" It's like asking God what we did to deserve to keep losing games. We get no answer, but we keep losing.
Do I think we're still in it? Sure. We're still in it until we're not in it. And we're not in it, unless we're in it. We're still in it. But let's not blur reality with fantasy here. It's going to take a miracle (yes, a miracle) for us to even have a single playoff win this year. What has convinced any of you that this team is deserving of a playoff win? I'll answer for you: nothing.
I won't really, truly believe this team is a playoff contender until we actually start winning games that mean something, and that really means playoff games. What's to make any of you believe we can win a playoff game when all we've done in this era (and previous ones) is lose them?
We are lucky, and I mean lucky, that every other NFC Wild Card contender took a collective dump yesterday. We're probably the best team that isn't a division leader right now (that isn't saying much, with all the injuries to everyone else), but it means nothing if we're just going to trot into Lambeau or San Fran and crap all over ourselves and leave the playoffs with yet another one and done.
This "team" isn't a team anymore. I don't know what happened, but we've turned into a bunch of talented individuals. The team unity...the thing that drove this team to so much success last year and especially in 2008 was that fiery passion. Now we make moronic mistakes. Mistakes that the Falcons of old were known for not making.
Make no mistake, I still love this team. That is why I keep coming back. I refuse to not believe in them, though I, like many others, get a sense of dread when things start to look terrible, because it's "same old Falcons", which is heartbreaking.
I'll wake up on Sunday, same old Falcons fan, here on this board (because I love you all, too) screaming and yelling at everything that goes on.
But for now, you'll have to excuse me, because damn if this doesn't just suck.
You need an actual recap. Well, here's the fast, amusing version.
Defense, Bosher, $$$$ (Proud of them)
Sounds of the Game: Booooooooooo.
MVP: I'll give it to the whole D. They played well enough to win.
In a word: Fail.