The Atlanta Falcons have had too many depressing seasons in their nearly 50-year history, the product of poor ownership, poor players, poor front offices and sheer bad luck. They are far from the only franchise with that history of futility, but that doesn't make the reality sting any less.
That's why it's important to celebrate the best seasons, and there have been a handful of triumphant ones. Earlier this week I asked Falcoholics to vote on five seasons and determine the best ever: Steve Bartkowski's potent 1980 squad, the 1998 Super Bowl team, Michael Vick's frenetic 2004 squad, the Matt Ryan-led 2008 team that rebounded so magnificently from the 2007 debacle, and 2012, when the Falcons went to the NFC Championship Game and dropped a close one to the San Francisco 49ers.
At the end of the day, that '98 team won the honor handily, receiving 56% of the vote. All five of these teams were terrific, even if a Super Bowl win still eludes this team, but it's tough to argue against one of the best teams in the franchise's history, especially when it's the only one that went to the Super Bowl. Led by Chris Chandler in his finest season, Jamal Anderson's monster year on the ground, a terrific defense and a roster with top-to-bottom depth, the Falcons rolled to a 14-2 record, beat the Vikings in the best game I've ever seen in my life and, finally, with that Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos.
You could argue that it's sad that the franchise's greatest moment was a Super Bowl loss, and certainly that would be true. Regardless of the outcome, this was a truly great football team, and you've recognized it as such.
Next week, we'll turn our eyes to grimmer years. For now, though, share your fond memories of the 1998 Falcons season.