Photo: John-Morgan, Flickr Creative Commons
I try to avoid writing too many sports posts. After all, most of my friends aren't big sports fans and I try not to bring up topics that I know will basically only entertain myself. Maybe this is why I suck so much at making small talk. Most of my interests are a little outside the mainstream and I'm not good talking about crap I don't care about.
Anyway, I'm starting to finally understand what being a fan of a good team feels like. See, my problem is that I'm an Atlanta homer when it comes to sports, college and pro. Sure, the Braves were awesome in the 90s, but I'd already given up on baseball by then. I'm only now getting over the scarring I received from being benched in favor of the world's worst athlete in a sport I didn't even really like and that was like 20 years ago. Georgia Tech is usually good at football, but they haven't been a real contender for anything other than a league championship in the second-worst conference with automatic BCS qualifying. The Thrashers have a history of hockey misery and the Hawks are generally unable to beat the top teams when it matters. I've been a loyal fan of the Falcons ever since I started caring about the NFL just after college and that's been a very frustrating experience. Started in the Sixties, the franchise couldn't manage to put together back-to-back winning seasons until 2009. Their one visit to the Super Bowl ended in prostitutes and a blow-out loss to Denver. Michael Vick was good enough to make me hate him for being so damned mediocre. (I'm actually happy to see him succeed in Philly, but I hated him when he was on the Falcons. I think he's paid appropriately for his crimes and if he stays clean, he deserves this second chance.)
And then last night. The Falcons were playing Baltimore, ESPN's number one team in their Power Rankings. The Falcons have been incredible at home the past three years, but Baltimore is a brutal defense and more-than-competent offense. Surprisingly, the Falcons actually dominated for most of the game. The team never really looked like it was struggling in any area. Solid defense, successful passing game. The run was pretty much stuffed all night, but it didn't seem to matter. The Ravens kept them from scoring enough to put the game away, but the Falcons used up an unfair portion of the clock. At the end Atlanta was able overcome a late-game TD by the Ravens with a touchdown drive that took less than a minute to win the game.
The Falcons are just straight up good this year. I may end up as obnoxious as Yankees, Alabama, and New England fans if I'm not careful.