Are you ready for the weekend, friends? It’s your last chance to get in holiday shopping and it’s the first weekend with games on Saturday, which is weird and confusing.
Whether you’re ready or not, it’s coming, so why not settle in with some links and gird yourself for the Falcons - Jaguars game ahead?
Mr. Falcon up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Some of you here today remember watching Tommy Nobis play, instead of just catching old highlights. The rest of us know him as Mr. Falcon, the original franchise great, and the man so many Falcons defenders are inevitably compared to.
Given the praise from his peers over the years, it was a always a bit striking that Nobis didn’t get more Hall of Fame love. That may finally, belatedly change, as Evan Birchfield writes that Nobis and former Falcons coach Dan Reeves are up for the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
Nobis was a legendarily well-rounded, hard-hitting linebackers his teammates loved and his opponents hated played against. The fact that he was the biggest star on some truly bad Falcons teams probably hurt him, as lesser lights have gotten places in Canton because they happened to be on dynastic teams. Nobis by all accounts deserves his place in the Hall of Fame, and I hope he both gets it and opens the door to other Falcons legends like Jessie Tuggle and Mike Kenn.
Reeves wasn’t the best coach in Falcons history, but he was mighty successful with the Broncos and he did pilot the Falcons to their best season ever, the 14-2 juggernaut that made it all the way to the Super Bowl in 1998. Hopefully he gets in, too.
Dan Quinn’s often gone streaking
Quinn’s Falcons have had numerous hot and cold streaks over the years, including the brutal string of six losses earlier this season and the two impressive two-game winning streaks they’ve strung together in the second half.
Those stretches belie an issue that stretches back further. Quinn’s Falcons have appeared much more talented on paper than Mike Smith’s groups—and I firmly believe they are in reality, too—but his teams have been far less consistent in the regular season. That’s especially galling this year, when the Falcons invested heavily in trying to contend this year and may end up where they were a year ago or worse record-wise. I have to think that’ll be a factor in Arthur Blank’s ultimate decision with his head coach.
Career leaderboard movement is still ahead
There’s not much left for the Falcons to play before besides their coaches, one another, and their next contracts, in the case of impending free agents. Despite that, players can still climb the pages of Atlanta’s history books in the final two games.
It’s fascinating to look at some of these players and wonder what the perception of them will be in 20 years. Vic Beasley is fifth all-time in sacks but is somewhere between tolerated and reviled by most of the fanbase. Devonta Freeman’s injury woes in recent years has caused the fanbase to sour on him, but he too is in the top ten for most rushing categories. And so on. Only Matt Ryan and Julio Jones figure to really settle into a revered place once their post-Atlanta careers are over, and in Ryan’s case, there’s a certain percentage of the fanbase that will continue to think he’s overrated.
We’ll see if the Falcons can set a few more franchise marks and give us something else to talk about until the long, cold offseason comes.
Fan confidence rises a little
I poked a little fun at fans who said they were feeling more confident about this Falcons team after the 49ers win, but honestly, why not? We might as well feel good about something at this point in the year, before the offseason changes everything.