It happened again. The Falcons found yet another miraculous way to lose. Yet, I can’t get too mad about it. Football was fun for a little bit today. Not too fun, as every Falcons fan knows this team can and will find a way to fail even when things are looking so good. Failure is always lurking around some corner.
Not just any failure. Epic failure. The sort of failure you only rarely see in the NFL.
I’m not the only one who feels like that. See any tweet sent out celebrating Sunday’s lead and you will see people warning, “Hold on. The Falcons can still lose this thing.” This has become so internalized in the fanbase since the Super Bowl that it makes it difficult to even enjoy the good times. Now times are bad but it isn’t really disappointing.
The good times have been few and far between since that Super Bowl. At least some weeks we never even have to get our hopes up, like the decisive loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The worst part about the Falcons is they are certain to get our hopes up. They drag us back in by showing they can play like one of the best teams in the league. “They turned the corner,” we think only to ourselves, silently allowing some cautious optimism yet again despite years and years of proof that no corner has been turned.
Being a Falcons fan is damn hard.
That offseason optimism I used to have is gone. Despite additions, subtractions, new mantras, scheme changes, new stadiums, I know we will be back to where we have been so many times: Watching the most spectacular and unexplainable failure possible. The Falcons are essentially a billion dollar fireworks accident. Fans aren’t shocked. It is just yet another time we see a new stat about how the Falcons are the only team to play so well and lose. Again, no one is shocked. It is just par for the course.
You can see that fireworks accident only so many times before you grow desensitized. Even the explanations are growing tired. Dan Quinn will say, “We’re pissed that open flame was so close to all those fireworks, and everyone is going to work like hell to make sure 12,000 pounds of fireworks never blows up again, sending explosives in hundreds of unpredictable directions.” It will only be a matter of time before another spectacular fireworks accident.
The only real regret I feel is watching my team waste the last of the prime years of their best quarterback and wide receiver in franchise history. They deserve better but they got the Falcons. It doesn’t matter how well they play because the rest of the team will inevitably pull them down into this pit of failure. They thought they would help bring this franchise their first Super Bowl but instead are imprisoned in this jail of historic ineptitude.
Expecting a different result than what we saw today would be insanity. Fans don’t expect the Falcons to lose. Fans expect the Falcons to lose so spectacularly that the TV pundits can’t even describe it, that the analysts have to do a deep dive to find out how historic the disaster is, and the other NFL fans to turn it into a meme. It is just another time where that all happened.
The current regime has somehow managed to amplify the spectacle. Similar to putting a teenager behind the wheel of a sports car, we may see something impressive before the inevitable crash. Dan Quinn may be the driver now but the team’s history is full of guys crashing this car. Quinn is just like many of them, in over their head without a plan to fix all of the same problems that plagued the team since they got hired, and sticking around for far too long due to the false hope that things are improving.
Quinn looks like he is headed for another disappointing season and will be on his way out, probably with another firework accident he can put under his belt before ultimately getting that pink slip. Quinn’s replacement will almost certainly bring some hope to the fans. However, it doesn’t matter who that replacement is. Fans will still be expecting that point where all the fireworks start shooting uncontrollably into the crowd.
Maybe we can have some fun before the disaster, but we know it is inevitable. It is expected. The awe-inspiring incompetence remains regardless of the coach. A championship is just no longer the expectation.
Being a Falcons fan is damn hard.