Greetings, Falcoholics, I’m back with another edition of The Falcoholic’s “Fan Spotlight.” This segment highlights Atlanta Falcons fans from around the globe and shares how they became a fan of the team and their thoughts on the franchise.
This week’s Fan Spotlight is on Nate and Amanda Smith. Nate & Amanda live just outside Washington, DC in Maryland with their son Jack and two cats Lulu and Glitter. Nate served in the Army for 10 years and now works as a Department of Defense contractor at the National Archives. He enjoys cooking, non-fiction, and flannel shirts.
Amanda works for a national affordable housing nonprofit organization doing email marketing and automation. She enjoys crafting – mostly hand embroidery and sewing projects. She turns to embroidery during stressful games, so basically ¾ of the season. Amanda also loves cold brew and 30-second kitchen dance parties.
I asked Nate & Amanda some questions on the state of the franchise and some of their more personal stories as Atlanta Falcons fans. Let’s get started.
How did you become an Atlanta Falcons fan?
Growing up in Atlanta, I’m a Falcons fan by default, but the Braves ruled in the 90s and I was never really into football. It wasn’t until 2008 that I started watching the Falcons regularly. It’s been great watching the team become more consistently competitive over the past decade and I’m equally proud to support a team that places so much emphasis on serving the community.
I didn’t grow up in a sports family, nor in the South. We moved to Atlanta when I was 16. I tried so many times to understand football, but it never clicked. I still considered myself a “supporter” of the Falcons, but I didn’t really watch games or anything. It wasn’t until the 2011 season when I was living with friends who loved football (shout out to Missy and Benjamin!), and a Falcons game was on, and I saw Tony Gonzalez make a crazy catch that even I, as a non-football understanding person, recognized as superhuman. That was the first time I was like, “Oh, so THIS is why people like football.” A few months later, Nate and I got married. I knew he liked football, I just didn’t know how much he LOVED football. All day Saturday. All day Sunday. Football, football, football. So, I made an honest effort to learn it during the 2012 season so I could try to enjoy it once and for all. He was super patient in explaining things over and over, even when I’m sure I interrupted big plays and moments. And he would send me different human-interest stories or call me in for segments on the pre-game shows. And then it clicked. I was hooked. And then devastated during that year’s NFC Championship game.
Favorite Atlanta Falcons player of all-time?
Julio Jones is always the most dominant player on the field. He’s also the most selfless. The passion and leadership he brings to the team are priceless. He’s everything Michael Thomas wishes he could be, and damn sure does better than four catches for 36 yards in big games.
No. 37 - Rico. He’s such a great leader. I mean, we all saw what happened to our defense when he wasn’t on the field. I remember watching him get cut on Hard Knocks, and thinking how much that must suck. But then he ended up making the team, and went with us to the Super Bowl. I hope there isn’t a fan who HASN’T read his personal essay “The Eight-Minute Lunch,” but if there is, they should go read it. I also follow his wife Grace on Instagram, so I get extra glimpses of their family life, and what’s remarkable about Rico is that he really is that genuine and good on the field AND at home, and you have to admire and root for someone with that caliber of character.
Who’s a bigger Atlanta Falcons fan, Nate or Amanda?
Amanda, for sure. She tore her labrum, which later required hip surgery to repair, cheering Robert Alford’s pick-six against Washington a few years back. I’ll never be able to compete with that. She also owns four times as many Falcons shirts as I do.
Outlook on the 2019 season, record prediction?
Looking at the schedule, I can’t help but be optimistic. Matt Ryan is going to have a huge year with so many games indoors. Rico and Keanu coming back is going to make a world of difference on defense. I say we sweep the division and end up 13-3.
Oof. Cautiously optimistic? I’m very curious to see what we do in the draft. This is the first year where I honestly don’t know who we might pick up. I’m going to stick with cautiously optimistic and say 11-5.
What do you want to tell your fellow Atlanta Falcons fans? Where can fans find you?
There’s a restaurant in DC called Rose’s Luxury. They once had a meeting and asked their staff to wear what they would wear on a first date. One guy is such a huge fan, he showed up in a Falcons jersey. Amanda and I went to dinner there for our anniversary last year and also wore our Falcons jerseys. You can find me on Twitter @FlannelNate810.
I’m mostly on Instagram these days @0hamanda. Most of my posts are projects I’m working on and the coolest kid anywhere. @0hamanda is also my Twitter handle. I’m mostly a Twitter lurker though. I come for the football news and stay for the Matt Bryant release GIFs. *sob*
I greatly appreciate Nate and Amanda for sharing their thoughts on the Falcons and for being the focus of this week’s ‘Fan Spotlight’ article. It was fun to learn about a Falcons’ fan couple.
If you’d like to be considered for a future ‘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!