I don’t know how familiar the average fan is with the history of this franchise, but here’s a fun fact: The Falcons were not the only name suggested. Among the ones thrown out there by fans and local columnists were Bishops, Rebels, Thrashers, and even Peaches. There was also a name that probably stood out for its absurdity even then: The Goobers.
So here’s today’s what if, in accordance with SB Nation’s latest theme week. What if the history of this franchise played out exactly the same way on the field—same players, same coaches, same results—but they were named the Atlanta Goobers, not the Atlanta Falcons?
The first and most obvious thing is that the uniform history would be hilarious. Instead of the red and black duds with the Falcons logos that we know and love, the team might have gone in a very different direction, likely with a cartoon peanut mascot and different colors. That would’ve started out fun—a lot of teams in the 1960s had weird ass logos—but it would’ve gotten progressively more and more funny as this team tried to modernize and make more aggressive a peanut.
Imagine, if you can, the Goobers joining the ranks of 2000s logo design with a snarling peanut flexing his muscles, or a black and red peanut in flight. Imagine the slogan was not “Rise Up,” but something like “We’re Tough Nuts to Crack,” even though peanuts are legumes. Imagine hype videos. IMAGINE THEM.
The name would’ve done this franchise even fewer favors. Imagine that instead of explaining that the Falcons were on the receiving end of the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, it was the Goobers. It would be exponentially more difficult to defend this franchise—and it is already difficult, to be clear—if the name was a slang word for a foolish person.
While I’m saying the players and coaches would’ve been the same, it’s probably fair to suggest that there would have been players and coaches throughout history who would’ve hesitated to join a team named the Goobers, or would have been quicker to exit. Brett Favre might have embraced the team more warmly, however, so maybe it would’ve evened out in the end.
I think the obvious conclusion here is that while the name would’ve opened this fanbase and this team up to even more jokes and misadventures from a branding perspective, it would’ve made this franchise’s completely absurd and tragic history a little funnier and a little more fitting. I kind of wish they had been the Goobers.