The percentage of Falcons fans we poll a weekly basis who are willing to say they are confident in the direction of the team has been quite small for a very long time now. The last time over half of fans were feeling confident was following the Week 2 victory over the Eagles, when the Falcons appeared to have shaken off their Week 1 dud against the Vikings and righted the ship.
We now know that wasn’t the case. The Falcons went on to lose their next six games in a row, heading into the bye with a 1-7 record, and frankly could not have looked worse doing so. Fan confidence bottomed out, with the only respite in sight seemingly being the prospect of a coaching change or gritting it out until the end of the season and a brighter 2020.
Many fans still justly feel that way, but nothing makes you feel more confident in a team’s direction than a quick win over your most hated division rival, especially if that rival happens to be one of the best teams in football. Fan confidence bounced back up to 26% after not clearing single digits in many, many weeks.
I don’t think this is a sustainable sort of bounce unless the Falcons are really ready to start winning, given that the fan elation after the win over the Saints probably gave us more confidence than is warranted by anything that happened in the eight games before it. And I know that Saints fans, in particular, are comforting themselves right now by pretending it’s sadder that we’re happy about the win than the fact that the win happened in the first place and in New Orleans. Nonetheless, it shows a spark of 2019 hope still remains in some quarters of this fanbase, as far-fetched as it may be.
We’ll see if the Falcons can reward those fans for their sudden surge of faith. The larger fanbase, as you’ll see below, remains split regarding whether the Falcons should even be trying to win games, so to say there’s a road ahead for this team to win back anything resembling universal confidence would be to understate things.