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The Falcons are the second-most volatile NFL team of the last 30 years

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Wild swings in performance have more or less defined the Falcons.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve known that throughout their long history, the Falcons were typically not a great team that would occasionally #riseup and enjoy a quality season. Until the last couple of decades, though, they weren’t even good on a very consistent basis.

It may not surprise you, then, to learn that Atlanta’s had one of the most up-and-down epochs in NFL history over the last 30 years, running from 1987 to today. Jon Bois at SB Nation illustrated that with the following chart, which also has perhaps the most perfect analogy for this franchise woven into it.

falcons franchise history Jon Bois/SB Nation

What you’ll see here is that the Falcons have been much, much more consistently successful from 2008-present day, with one big dip from 2013-2015 marring that stretch. We’ll see if the Falcons’ 2017 season will represent another major, volatile swing, or if it will be a continuation of that hugely successful 2016.

The only team that ranks above them is (somehow inevitably) the Carolina Panthers, whose recent swing from Super Bowl team to mediocrity was only the latest example of extreme variance in performance.