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Atlanta Falcons stars Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Ricardo Allen among 13 “Chiefs” for 2017 season

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Fact: Ricardo Allen only brushes his teeth with his eyes closed

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons have established a winning culture. They made it all the way to the Super Bowl in 2016 and they’re trying to carry over that winning mentality into this season. A big part of that effort involves leadership. Dan Quinn is one heck of a head coach, but he can only get this team so far. At some point the players have to take ownership and control their own destiny.

ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill wrote a piece about this effort to move on and the Falcons leadership dynamic. It’s actually an ESPN The Magazine article that will be featured in their September 4th edition. It’s a must-read, when you have a moment. She breaks down how the Falcons are navigating a lot of negative publicity after their Super Bowl loss. She zeroes in on a leadership concept the Falcons have adopted. In short, they call their leaders “Chiefs.”

It's a military thing, of course, that came from the Navy SEALs. Chiefs, according to Quinn, are players who uphold the team standard for all 90 guys. Quinn can't be everywhere, and he doesn't want to be. He wants them to play for one another, not for him. The Chiefs are voted on by the team, and this year, there are supposedly 13 ... Matt Ryan is a Chief, of course, and so is all-world receiver Julio Jones. But some lesser-known guys are Chiefs too. One of Quinn's favorites is Ricardo Allen.

Lots of football teams have captains, but this is an interesting concept. It’s not surprising Ryan and Julio are “Chiefs.” Given all the Damontae Kazee hype, it’s easy to overlook Allen, who has obviously carved out a special place in Quinn’s heart.

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