Moultrie Observer

Opinion

January 12, 2013

My Falcons: The good, the bad and the ugly

MOULTRIE — Today at 1 p.m. my beloved Atlanta Falcons will play the Seattle Seahawks in a playoff game. Let me say right up front that win or lose, I had lots of fun watching the Falcons this year.

I’ve hung in there with the Falcons since their inception. I once went to college, worked and lived right down the road from the old Fulton County Stadium. Those were the very early days.

I recall names like Cannon Ball Butler,  Bubba Bean, Haskel Standback, Tommy Nobis, Bob Lee, etc., etc. I recall on Monday Night Football when the Falcons beat the Minnesota Vikings to make it to the playoffs for the very first time. Bob (The General) Lee was the quarterback. And until the recent reign of coach Mike Smith, they had never put together back-to-back winning seasons even after a trip to the Super Bowl where the Denver Broncos beat the snot out of them.

I remember when the Falcons drafted quarterback Steve Bartkowski (The Golden Pole, also known back then as Peachtree Bart) who may have had the strongest arm and the slowest legs in pro football. Unfortunately, he was with a bad team at the time and spent many Sunday afternoons on his back picking out shapes in the clouds. But he wasn’t alone, his counterpart down in New Orleans, Archie Manning, had the same fate. I always thought those two quarterbacks would have been among the best ever in the game had they been with good teams.

And I remember running back William Andrews from Thomasville High being drafted from Auburn University where he was mostly a blocking back. Yet he became a force for the Falcons. And one Monday night as he embarrassed the New Orleans Saints, commentator Howard Cosell noted that the Falcons paid for a Chevy but got a Cadillac.

Along the way, I’ve had good things and bad things to say about the Falcons. I have never made excuses for them when they played so poorly. I once wrote that if you looked up the word “inept” there would be a picture of a Falcon’s helmet out to the side. But I watched them .... every Sunday.

I was such a fan that one Sunday my wife and I had to go to Atlanta for a doctor’s appointment early the next morning. While she was shopping in a mall that afternoon, I found a store that sold televisions. I got the salesman to tune one in to the Falcons and I, and someone’s misplaced kid, sat on the floor and watched the game. I didn’t care that people stared at me. I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me, and I wasn’t running for office. Also, cell phones had not been invented, and there was no danger of a photo of me showing up on someone’s Facebook.

Now all this year, analysts kept saying that the Atlanta Falcons got no respect because they have a bad record in the playoffs. Hey folks, they are 13 and 3. So I ask you, how many teams would love to be where they are right now, win or lose in the playoffs? Well the answer is ... the majority of them.

Yessiree, the Falcons have provided me with excellent entertainment this season. If they beat the Seahawks, then that’s great. If they lose, I still got my money’s worth.

Now for the record, I’m not a sports columnist. I’m not a football expert. I went to a very small high school that didn’t have a football team. But I learned a few things along the way by watching my Falcons. It took a few seasons, but I finally learned that the quarterback is supposed to throw the football to someone wearing the same kind of uniform.  But like I said, it was an expansion team, and it took a few seasons to put all of that together and have such an epiphany.

Go Falcons!

(Email dwain.walden@gaflnews.com)

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