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 Landen Prather. Landen’s been an Atlanta Falcons fan since 1996, the early days of Jamal Anderson, Terance Mathis and Jessie Tuggle. He was born in Atlanta in 1985 and moved to Kansas with his family before eventually moving back to Georgia in 1996, the summer of the Olympic Games. Landen’s been hooked on watching the Falcons since then, and was heartbroken but proud like the rest of Atlanta in 1998 when the team went to the SuperBowl. Landen has a wife of 15 years, Ashley Prather and five crazy Falcon Fanatic children Landen Jalen (11), Chloe (9), Quinn (8), Griffin (5) and Colette (3). They all cheer on the Falcons from Loganville, GA. I asked Landen some questions on the state of the franchise and some of his more personal stories as an Atlanta Falcons fan. Let’s get started.
How did you become an Atlanta Falcons fan?
As I mentioned above, I have been a fan since 1996, but my wife and I got married in 2004. For my first birthday present during our marriage, my wife Ashley bought us two tickets to the Falcons versus Buccaneers game and also bought us matching authentic Michael Vick jerseys to wear to the game. She grew up a Browns fan as she is from Cleveland, OH, but quickly turned to be a Falcons fan after that day. She really bought great seats in the end zone and first section of the Georgia Dome. When we started having children we began going to training camp in Flowery Branch and we have not missed a camp since 2010. The children love being able to be so close to the players, especially during the years of 2010-2014 when those camps weren’t very busy, it was easy to have an interaction with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Michael Turner without a crowd. We would also frequent the Friday Night Light scrimmages during those years as well. This past year we joined the amazing group, the ATL Cast, the most die hard, loyal, rain or shine group of Falcons Fans I have ever encountered. These people truly speak my language. My loyalty to the Falcons has just been amplified by how I have seen each member of the organization we have encountered treat my children. They all have such amazing memories and experiences, I love the way the Falcons try to pick players that can play on the field, but have character off the field as well.
Who is your favorite Atlanta Falcons player of all-time?
My favorite Falcons player(s) would have to be a tie, and you will see the reason why. I was extremely excited when we picked up Michael Turner as a free agent and he did not disappointed, he is my personal favorite. Last in the line of the bruiser running back I was also lucky enough to interact with him on multiple occasions during his playing days at the restaurant I worked at, near his house. A very down to earth person and I am so happy he is still involved with the organization. The Prather Family favorite is Damontae Kazee. During the last open practice of 2018, Military Day, my daughter was just focused on watching number 27 intercept balls, cause deflections and just flat out hustle. My daughter Chloe kept screaming “Good job!” “Great Interception!” “Go Kazee, you can do it!” She even told me this was her new favorite player before the most amazing thing happened. I don’t know if Kazee has amazing hearing, or if the stars just aligned because after practice, Damontae Kazee ran straight to her , took off his Military Day jersey, signed it and gave it to her! We were all in shock. We had no idea he was going to have the season that he was going to have, we just knew we were his biggest fans that year.
What’s your favorite Atlanta Falcons memory?
Our family became season ticket holders in 2017 – and many of these experiences have been amazing. I think the greatest for us was the atmosphere of the inaugural regular season game at the Benz against the Packers on Sunday Night. The energy in the stadium was awesome, the roof was open, we beat Aaron Rodgers and it was amazing! It was awesome to be around so many fellow Falcons fans and there were only a few people in the green and yellow, and even they were in awe of the state of the art stadium. A high scoring game with a win (hopefully we can get back to that this year) was a very enjoyable time and definitely worth it.
Thoughts on the 2019 NFL Draft?
For two years we have been saying we need to protect our quarterback, so we went out to address that issue. With Lindstrom and McGary, they may not be the most “popular” picks nationally and to the casual “fan” who only plays Madden, but anyone who actually knows the roster of this team and has seen the players grow and develop over the years, and watched every snap of every game, knows that they are necessary. I also like the addition of Qadree Ollison to the backfield group of Freeman, Smith and Hill. I feel like he could give us some size like the days of Michael Turner that we have been missing in our arsenal. We addressed needs this draft, and I have full faith in Vic Beasley, Devondre Campbell, Jack Crawford, Kazee and having Deion Jones and Neal back. I have reason to be excited for this season, I think we have some real depth here.
What’s your record prediction/outlook for the 2019 season?
At least 10-6. I see us owning the division this year. It seems like every member of the organization is on the same page and on a mission. I think we have tough games this year, but I like that. To be the best, you gave to beat the best, and that is what we will have to do for sure this year. The Falcons also have a lot of home games this year which should play to our benefit and we are not traveling a lot of miles. It seems like the end result will really come down to us. I see a Super Bowl in our future and would love to see the Falcons win in Miami this upcoming February.
Anything you want to tell your fellow Atlanta Falcons fans?
I am thankful for the Falcons organization and what Arthur Blank has done since taking over. The ATL Cast is the greatest fan organization, and we are always welcoming new members. Please find and join us at ATLCast.org. You can find me at every home game and follow me on Twitter @lprather1. Thanks for the opportunity to share my love for this team!
I appreciate Landen and the entire Prather family for sharing thoughts on the Falcons, telling us some stories and for being the focus of this week’s ‘Fan Spotlight’ article. Again, make sure to give Landen a follow on Twitter @lprather1.
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!