The Choatester and I go back. We've been tackling these Falcons together since 09 and it's been fun; but my broseph just crossed a line. I know, I know. We're coming off three straight winning seasons, two playoff appearances, and are likely headed for even more success simply by the structure of the team as it is now. While these feelings are new to longtime Falcons devotees like Dave and me, they shouldn't cloud our long-standing understanding of what (to borrow Jason Kirk's coined phrase) Falconliness truly is.
There are things this maturing, talented, potential-laden team needs; a more effective pass rush, more consistent offensive potency, tighter pass coverage.
There are things this workhorse, self-made, under-the-radar team already has; leadership, drive, ambition, talent, strong work ethic, a fan-oriented off-the-field persona, a devoted owner, a surly-but-dedicated coach, an intelligent and game-savvy general manager.
There are also things that this on-the-cusp team do not need, chief among them locker-room drama, manafactured or grown. This is a team that does not focus or hinge on one player's style, talent, or ability anymore (Sanders, Vick, anyone?). This is truly a team and was rebuilt from the ground up in 2008 with the specific goal of avoiding the exact thing(s) that tore it apart in early 2007. This Falcons team is a new and improved model, unlike any other before it, blazing a new trail and ringing in a new era of Atlanta professional football.
You'll see in my soon-to-launch Falcons Winning Seasons series of posts, the 2008-2010 Falcons teams have, by simply staying consistent winners, destroyed the preconceived notions of what Falcons football is. It is not temperamental. It is not inconsistent. It is not wishy-washy. It is not flashy. All importantly, this team gets the job done. Sure, Matt Ryan may be boring. Sure, our play calling could be more varied. Our conservative, boring nature is what is winning games, not our flamboyant play-boy players and not any super star player.
This team (I'm stressing that word) does not need manufactured drama, and that's exactly what HBO's Hard Knocks brings. An offseason with the Falcons would likely bore most of us to death, outside of the occasional Coy Wire charity-benefitting prank. While we do have lots of, as Dave put it, "colorful characters," we don't have a me-first player. We don't have an openly-discussed player-management or intra-management struggle. And you know what? Even if there was some of that going on, I wouldn't want that laundry bring aired out to millions of people. Regardless if any of that even happened during filming, HBO would create it. They'd have to, such is the nature of television. HBO would take a boring team and try to create tension and drama where there was little to none of it. Is that really the kind of "national exposure" we need? Hell no it isn't.
The new Falcons are slowly shedding the old "lol, look at the Falcons. They always suck, so let's ignore them" attitude most of the NFL-loving populace has and they're doing it by winning on the field consistently. We don't need HBO to expose the Falcons to the country; they just need to keep winning. How do you think the Patriots or the Steelers got so many fans that have never even been to Boston or Pittsburgh? They win consistently and they win rings. There is nothing else that will get the Falcons the right kind of acknowledgement except for continued winning.
Bottom line? HBO brings manufactured drama that would destroy the beautiful team-oriented dynamic the Falcons currently enjoy. We need the right kind of attention, the kind of attention you get after winning consistently and making the big game. The next "step in the Falcons' evolution" is a second Super Bowl appearance. The step after that? A ring. After that? More rings. That's how we get the national spotlight. Not some stupid fake drama-filled "inside-look."