Greetings, Falcoholics, I’m back with another edition of The Falcoholic’s “Fan Spotlight.” Just in case you’re new, this segment highlights Atlanta Falcons fans in the community with how they became a fan of the team and their thoughts on the franchise.
This week’s Fan Spotlight is on Layne Flournoy. He has a wife, Molly, a nine-month-old son named Ellis, and two dogs. Everyone in the Flournoy household is an Atlanta Falcons fan, especially Molly, who is also an avid Falcoholic reader.
Layne owns Zydeco, the second-oldest bar and music venue in all of Birmingham, Ala. They produce concerts of all genres of music, ranging from country to hip-hop, and everything in between.
The bar was founded in 1989 by a New Orleans Saints fan, although he’s not a bad guy. It was then sold to a former UGA player named Josh Billue, who Layne’s still good friends with to this day. He then purchased the bar from Billue outright shortly after graduating college. Zydeco has tons of Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Braves memorabilia around the place, so any Atlanta sports fan will feel right at home.
How did you become an Atlanta Falcons fan?
Like any impressionable 12-year-old, I became a Falcons fan when I was quarterback of the city champion Pop Warner football team, aptly named the Falcons. The year prior, I was all about our “Too Legit to Quit” Falcons. To this day, I have never seen a team in any sport with that kind of personality. In 1993, my dad took me to my first ever game when we beat the Los Angeles Rams, giving the Falcons their first win of the season. Even though that team was not very good, I was hooked from the minute I stepped inside the Georgia Dome.
Who is your favorite Falcons player of all time?
This is a tough question for me, haha! My all-time favorite is “Prime” Deion Sanders for sure. I rock his jersey every game day. However, I loved Andre Rison, Keith Brooking, and Roddy White. I was also a big Eugene Robinson fan until (yes, I blame him) he caused us to lose Super Bowl XXXIII. From our current team, Matt Ryan and “Debo” Deion Jones are my favorites. I would also like to add The Falcoholic’s Jeanna Thomas, who me and my wife are huge fans of!
What are your favorite Falcons memories?
The first would be as I mentioned earlier, going to see them play in 1993 with my dad. The second would be taking my son to his first game during the 2018 season. We were able to score suite level tickets, so it made for a really special experience. Worst memory is standing in line for three hours outside of NRG stadium waiting in an Uber line after Super Bowl LI. To make matters worse, I had just come off major knee surgery and had a full leg cast on.
How do you typically watch Falcons games, any tailgating rituals?
We tailgate at Lot A or the Gulch for every game because well...we like to party! For my food, whether home or away, I always replicate a signature dish of the city of our opponent...po-boys for NOLA, Philly cheese steak for Philly, hot dogs for Tampa because let’s face it, there is nothing special at all about that city or franchise. I always buy something from one of the “vendors” walking the Gulch for good luck. Before we walk to the stadium, I shamefully down a tallboy beer while wearing a Falcons luchador mask that I bought on the lot in 2015.
What’s it like being a Falcons fan living in Alabama?
Growing up in Alabama, you are either Roll Tide or War Eagle, but I am neither. I am a proud alum of UAB and was there when Roddy White was. It can be tough as a Falcons fan here because everyone only wants to talk Alabama and Auburn every day of the year. The ones that are into the NFL are generally bandwagon fans of teams like the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, or Pittsburgh Steelers. However, there is a solid growing contingency of Atlanta Falcons fans in Birmingham, and I am happy to lead the charge! We drive 2 1/2 hours to every home game, but we usually come the night before.
Thoughts on the upcoming 2019 offseason?
I feel Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff are off to a good start with the staff changes. I wanted Gary Kubiak, but I’m very happy with Dirk Koetter as long as he does not get too pass happy. I love the thought of Matty Ice running no-huddle and calling plays from the line. Top priorities internally must be locking up Grady Jarrett and getting Julio Jones (the GOAT) paid! As far as free agency and the NFL draft, it is all about both interior lines and edge rushers. We need to re-sign Bruce Irvin to mentor Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley. Also, let’s go get defensive end Trey Flowers. We should draft an offensive tackle, defensive tackle, and linebacker in the first three rounds. All that being said, we need to make sure everyone is healthy this offseason. This team should quickly rebound from 2018 with Devonta Freeman, Keanu Neal, and Ricardo Allen all back. The good news is we have created some experience and depth with young guys having to step in last year. No doubt this team will contend in 2019.
If you reside in Birmingham, or you’re just visiting, make sure to stop by Zydeco where Layne guarantees you will feel right at home. Zydeco is located in the heart of the historic 5 Points Birmingham, right below the Vulcan. The best part, they give discounted beverages to all patrons wearing Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta Braves attire. You can find Zydeco online at the locations below!
I greatly appreciate Layne for sharing his thoughts, photos of his beautiful family, and for being the focus of this weeks ‘Fan Spotlight’ article. If you want to be the next ‘Fan Spotlight’ or know of someone who deserves to be, let me know on Twitter where you can find me at @EvanBirchfield. Thanks for reading!