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Looking back on 1997 when the Falcons were last 0-5

Our backs didn’t even hurt in 1997.

Will Smith And Tommy Lee Jones In ‘Men In Black’
The world was dancing to the iconic Men in Black song by Will Smith, inspired by the movie Men in Black starring Will Smith.
Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

The Falcons have done something impressive. They are 0-5 for the first time in decades. Maybe shocking more than impressive, but we take off our caps at the level of incompetence. That cap, of course, is a bucket hat with a yellow smiley face. It perfectly matches your denim on denim outfit because you can never have enough denim.

We are taking it back to the last time the Falcons were 0-5. Step inside this time machine to zap back 23 years to a land of bucket hats.

If the bucket hat gets dirty, don’t worry. You are prepared. You have five more hats, dozens of priceless Beanie Babies, and years worth of freeze-dried food and Toaster Strudels in your Y2K shelter. Your shelter is wired with cable to your box TV so you can watch Seinfeld before the inevitable crash of society. In any case, you have the latest Everclear album to jam out to in between tending to your Tamagotchi. It’s like that stupid thing needs food every day! The future is so rad.

“I’m king of the world,” you shout at some inline skaters, definitely impressing them as if you are straight out of the Mmmbop video. It’s a real semi-charmed life.

What a chill time. Everything is da bomb, especially Dunkaroos. The Falcons, however, are not. The Falcons starting 0-5, only weeks before owner Rankin Smith died, leaving the future of the NFC West team in question. Sha, how weak.

The 1997 team may have looked familiar with popular and productive players like Chris Chandler, Jamal Anderson, Morten Anderson, Terrence Mathis, Chuck Smith, and Jessie Tuggle, but their performance is something we had not seen in some time. Like the soon-to-be-released Lost in Space movie starring Matt LeBlanc from Friends, or that attractive girl who dropped an “a/s/l” in that AOL chat room you dialed into via Vice President Al Gore’s internet with Netscape Navigator on your Compaq computer, things just did not look quite right. The season continued, just like your mack on random internet people. Bring them back to ICQ, the go-to a closer move: “Do I make you horny? Randy? Do I make you horny, baby, yeah, do I?” Maybe even send her the link to your sweet Geocities website or show off your impeccable Jim Carey impression to seal the deal.

Fans in 1997 were popping open a crisp Zima hoping for some stellar football. Instead, the only good thing they saw were dancing bears in Pepsi commercials. In the 90s, dancing things that normally didn’t dance drove people insane. Talking reptiles were so popular Budweiser used them in commercials for years. That was the last time the Falcons went 0-5, starting the season with a loss to the Detroit Lions at the Pontiac Silverdome.

For the youngs, Pontiac was an uninspired car company that no longer exists.

The team’s 0-5 start just topped off a year of sadness, with the overdose of Chris Farley, the shooting of Notorious B.I.G., and the release of Barbie World.

How different was 1997? Gas was $1.22 a gallon, the average price of a new car was under $17,000, there was still music on MTV2, and movie tickets were purchasable due to the lack of a worldwide respiratory illness exacerbated by social media giving everyone brain worms.

But in a way, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Falcons are again 0-5, bucket hats are kind of cool again, and ska has maintained its popularity. At least that is the impression that I get.

The Falcons finished 1997 7-9 after their dreadful start, following up with a Super Bowl berth. Could these Falcons repeat? At the very least, both seasons were only a year out from Godzilla movies absolutely no one asked for.