This almost feels unnatural. The Falcons are unbelievably good. At the Falcoholic, we are typically a pretty optimistic group. The biggest homers of the group suggested the Falcons might flirt with the playoffs. They were facing the league’s toughest schedule. The team left plenty of holes after free agency.
How we ended up here, I have no explanation. It feels so fantastic to have our expectations exceeded. I’ve never felt happier to be wrong. The Falcons are beating up the best teams in the league, and I have no doubt they can show up and compete in the Super Bowl.
Lets look at Atlanta’s recent post-season history.
Playoff history has not been kind to the Falcons. In the last few years the team has flirted with the playoffs, in the way you might try flirting across a crowded bar, get out of your seat to buy a drink and start up a conversation, but instead run back to your car, drive home, and cry by yourself while watching Meg Ryan movies on Netflix.
Atlanta last made the playoffs in 2012. They had a pretty dominant win against the Seattle Seahawks, despite the team getting too conservative with the lead and giving Russell Wilson a chance to keep the score close. We’ve tried to forget the San Francisco 49ers game multiple times, but still get night terrors thinking of Harry Douglas falling to the ground and Roddy White getting a no-call at the end of the game.
The Falcons were just a few yards away from going to the Super Bowl, and completely blew a strong first half lead. It was a crushing loss for fans that were so used to crushing losses. The Falcons have since changed their coaching staff and nearly their entire roster.
Lets go back through this history of sadness. The Falcons went 10-6 in 2011, got the wild card for a playoff berth, and dead-leg Michal Turner could not get the offense going. The offense scored literally zero points. The braintrust made the correct decision to trade up for Julio Jones, but he wasn’t well utilized in the offense. Mike Mularkey’s conservative game plan was just not meant for the post-season.
The Falcons went 13-3 in 2010, and was embarrassed against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. Christopher Owens is still considered a swear word on this website. The Falcons blew a late-game lead against the Arizona Cardinals after the 2008 season.
Mike Vick helped the Falcons to a win over the St. Louis Rams, which is a pretty big indication this was a long, long time ago. Atlanta won the South, trounced the Rams, then got manhandled by the Eagles. Falcons were again just not good enough to make the Super Bowl.
After the 2002 season, Vick had perhaps his most iconic win in his entire career: beating up the Packers in Green Bay in the playoffs. Brett Favre was usually automatic, and the Packers had a ridiculous win streak at home. The Falcons were riding high before getting beaten up by the Eagles.
Prior to, we are back in the Super Bowl year. Atlanta rode a strooooong defense and elite run game all the way to the Super Bowl. As we’ve seen before, it came crashing down after a few unfortunate arrests and/or botched plays.
After all that, I know Dan Quinn’s Falcons are none of these previous teams. The Falcons can dominate in one half, and keep their foot on the gas in the second half. This is a truly spectacular team that earned this Super Bowl visit.
Feel free to freak out.