It’s jersey week here at SB Nation and The Falcoholic. You’ll find articles around our network related to fan jerseys, staff jerseys, and even a historic view on uniforms in the past. Sports jerseys are the ultimate staple of fan gear and give those who wear them the pride of displaying their team colors and the player they are representing.
Fans of all ages proudly show off their threads, and here at The Falcoholic, we wanted to share some of the collections you, the fans, shared with us.
[These blurbs have been lightly edited for readability and length. - Ed.]
Markett, who was born and raised in Chicago, may have been the only kid in Illinois with a Steve Bartkowski poster hanging on his bedroom wall.
“I got my first Atlanta Falcons jersey for Christmas in 1982, a red Steve Bartkowski that was probably right out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog,” Markett said. “I saved up and ordered my first authentic jersey in 1989. I debated between John Settle and Deion, but ultimately I went with a red Deion Sanders, probably my favorite still.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t worn a size 48 since 1995, but it still hangs proudly in my closet. That jersey, as well as a black Andre Rison and white Chris Miller, were ordered from a catalog called Athletic Supply — there was no NFL Shop back then. Above are some others in my collection.”
Yes, this is an actual photo of Guy wearing his favorite jersey.
“The Warrick Dunn jersey is my favorite because it is my earliest memory of being an Atlanta Falcons fan,” Guy said. “I grew up watching the team with my dad, and my parents got me the jersey when I was about five years old. Every now and again, I look back on this photo and think about where it all started. I’ve since received many of custom and throwback jerseys, and even placed an order for a new Julio Jones jersey from the team store, but nothing will top this moment.”
He got into the jersey game fairly recently, but that hasn’t stopped him from building an impressive collection.
“(Keanu) Neal was my first jersey, and I’ve bought every Falcons first-round pick since,” he said. “Lindstrom in black, Sheffield in white, and a Gradyient jersey are on the way with the help of @Crack3rJax19 who is the jersey plug.
“Kazee is my favorite because I love the color rush and he’s currently my favorite player. I probably wear the Primetime jersey the most. The “Money” Matt Bryant jersey had to be bought when he was re-signed last year. The standard red Matt Ryan and Devonta Freeman jerseys were wedding gifts for me and my wife. The Devin Hester jersey I found at a thrift shop for $7 and bought even though it’s a Bears jersey and a 3X.
His collection isn’t yet complete.
“The one jersey I’m still searching for is a 2014 Tony Gonzalez Pro Bowl jersey,” he said.
Brandon and his twin sister have bought into Dan Quinn’s brotherhood theme.
“These jerseys show the true grit of us Falcon fans,” he said. “Dan Quinn set the standard of being in brotherhood for the team and as fans. I remember being at the 2017 Divisional game against the Seahawks, and I was celebrating with a complete stranger next to me. We were hugging and giving out high fives all around. There I experienced the true sense of brotherhood, which inspired me to create my brotherhood jersey and my twin sister’s sisterhood jersey to symbolize what this team means all of us Falcon fans.
“I plan to keep making memories with these jerseys with every fan I meet ... Let’s Rise Up!”
There are plenty of Falcons legends represented in this collection.
“Deion was a childhood favorite of mine,” FavUncleMoe said. “I became a fan of football around the time he was drafted. The Vick jersey represents an exciting time in the teams history; it also coincided with early deployments in my career. The Armed Forces Network would try to play a game for all of the teams, but would focus more on contenders as the season went on. Just so happens that the Falcons were winning in those years, and it gave me something to look forward to each week and take my mind off my circumstances.
“William Moore was another one of my favorites during his tenure. My wife bought that jersey for me from the NFL Auctions site. It’s game-worn from the 2013 NFL Salute to Service game vs Seattle. Dunn and Big Play Ray ... those DVD days and Dunn is such an inspirational person. I have an affinity for DB’s and actually ran into Ray Buchanan after a game while wearing that jersey, LOL.”
And he didn’t have to buy the Matt Ryan jersey.
“The Matt Ryan jersey...I won that on instagram from the Falcons Fits page,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it, I rarely use Instagram. I’m a big Matt Ryan fan; at times it feels like I’m on an island with that, but he has led this franchise through its most successful stretch. I’m planning my trip to Canton for his HOF induction!
Expect his collection to continue to grow.
“I have a few other items and plan on adding to my collection.”
Schulldaddy_53 has been collecting jerseys since he was a young kid.
“I became a Falcons fan because of my dad,” he said. “I was given a No. 32 Jamal Anderson jersey with a yellow paint stain on the front. I would always get made fun of at school because everyone thought it was mustard.
Next up was one of the most exciting players in team history.
“I then started collecting all three colors of the No. 7 Vick jersey. I rotated wearing all three throughout the week in grade school because I admired him so much,” he said.
He’s got some more recent jerseys, too.
“I will always appreciate SPOOOOON for signing his jersey for me. Unfortunately, he was injured shortly after and never played again,” he said. “Lastly, I will always cherish my No. 2 and No. 11 for everything they have done to make watching Falcons football so awesome to watch. See you boys in Canton, go Falcons!”
This is an absolutely bonkers collection.
“My Falcons jersey collection includes some of my own and some of my kids,” Gene said. “We are all HUGE ATL fans and never miss a game. We live in California, so it does make it difficult to always see them play in person, but we watch every game.”
You may have noticed some alternates in there.
“My collection includes any style I can find. Living on the west coast, it’s amazing to actually find any out here,” Gene said. “I found a Julio Pro Bowl here near Fresno. And I even had a custom away jersey made up for me.”
It’s probably hard to pick favorites from such an impressive selection, but Gene still has one.
“My favorite by far is my throwback Deion Jones, my favorite defensive player,” Gene said. “I wore it to the playoff game in LA in 2017 when we advanced in the Wild Card.”
For Gene and his family, collecting jerseys is particularly special.
“I buy new jerseys every year and the bonding time with my boys is time I’ll always cherish,” Gene said. “When I talk with my boys about the Falcons, their eyes light up with delight and we love watching old games and highlights. Looking forward to this season and sitting on the couch with my sons while we bring home a title this year!”
Dare has a solid perspective on why collecting jerseys is meaningful.
“Everyone isn’t a jersey person,” Dare said. “Sometimes I wonder what’s the sense in it? Where’s the logic in a 40-year-old wearing a jersey just because it has the name of some 20-year-old on the back? But then you think about the sacrifice some of these guys have had to make to reach the pinnacle of their profession.
“Essentially a minimum of two decades of sacrifice, countless injuries, and even more countless disappointments. All so we can marvel and be entertained by their physical prowess. The God-given ability and the refinement of that ability to a level achievable by very few. Seven billion people on the planet, with only about 3,000 able to do what they do. Then I think about the joy it must bring and the feeling of accomplishment when they see their name on the back of a jersey. It’s the epitome of ‘mama, we made it.’
Collecting jerseys is bigger than just displaying your fandom or supporting your team.
“As such, wearing their jersey not only serves as a form of pride in a beloved team, but also a form of gratitude for the sacrifice people make so the rest of us can enjoy our Sundays, Monday nights and Thursday nights just a little bit more,” Dare said.
Although all of the Falcons fans above have different jersey collections and different reasons for why they have them, they all view the jerseys as more than just a name and number. For some, having a players’ signature on a jersey is all about increasing its value for re-sale. For many, the signature is a way to display that they were once in the presence of greatness, in their eyes.
The jerseys not only represent an identity and/or superstar on a given franchise; they represent pride for showing off your team’s design and the years of loyalty one has had.