Some people are fans of the Atlanta Falcons. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Atlanta Falcons. This 2016 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here. And buy Drew’s new book here.

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Your team: Atlanta Falcons.

Your 2015 record: 8-8, featuring a white-hot 5-0 start that ended in a 3-8 finish…

Yes, they lost that game, too. This is all for the best, mind you. No one outside of Samuel L. Jackson actually wants to see the Falcons SUCCEED and then spiritually vacate a playoff spot. Those spots are valuable. I can’t have these Football Hawks fritter them away in front of an audience of zero people. The Falcons are where excitement goes to die. They should be forced to play on Tuesday mornings.

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Your coach: GusDan BraGanoPetQuinn. RISE UP!

Imagine how embarrassing it must be to play for this coach. These players must just walk around all practice long going, “Daddddddddddddddddd…”

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By the way, Kyle Shanahan is still here, and Roddy White recently accused him of driving him out of town. Forget for a moment that Roddy is old and decrepit and was gone from Atlanta regardless. I find it amusing that Shanny manages to make lifetime enemies literally EVERYWHERE he goes. He could stop at a gas station for coffee and walk out of there with at least three other customers wanting him shot and killed. It takes rare talent to be that repellent. I look forward to Julio Jones beating Kyle to death with his own shoes.

Your GM: Still this moron:

Look at that picture and tell me you don’t see a man who is eager to do butt stuff but also really bad at it. Julio is a fucking superstar and a football genius, and yet his best efforts will be squandered by Thomas Dimitroff, who is Crispin Glover Playing A Villain In A Direct-To-DVD Italian Action Film. Dimitroff’s ability to judge talent is exactly one level below leaving shit on autodraft.


Your quarterback: Walking Panera Bread store Matt Ryan. Even Falcons fans can’t stand Matt Ryan. I’d rather suck without him than be good WITH him. I bet these fans would gladly trade Ryan straight up for Dak Prescott and five mint-condition Vick jerseys (Personally, I would turn the trade down but kinda hate myself for it).

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What’s new that sucks: BAHAHAHAHAHAHA you’re fucking joking, right? These are the Falcons. They’ve probably had the same roster since 2002 for all I know. Yes, they brought in LB Sean Weatherspoon, WR Mohamed Sanu (who is a better option QB than wideout) and C Alex Mack, but all they’ll be absorbed into the Vanilla Collective and turned into spiritual clones of Mike Kenn. And as a whole, Atlanta pro athletes exist only to waste everyone’s time.

Oh, and Matt Schaub is BACK!

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I remember when Schaub was the most promising backup quarterback in football his first time here. That is no longer the case.

What has always sucked: Take it from the legendary Spencer Hall: “I’ve lived in Atlanta four different times and keep trying to find some reason to like this team and maybe go to a game but the closest I ever got ended with their quarterback being indicted in a dogfighting ring and the coach fleeing to Arkansas. By the way: imprisonment or exile to Arkansas is how most large corporate ventures here end.”

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Indeed. This is a bland, shitty team that’s second banana to a college football team that doesn’t even PLAY here, and is itself second banana to half of the SEC. I have trained myself to ignore anyone who tries to get me to pay attention to the Falcons, and that rock-steady index fund of terminal indifference has paid off handsomely. The Atlanta Falcons could go 16-0 and I would bet $500 on them losing in the first round of the playoffs, and win. Half of Atlanta would bet likewise.

They’re also moving into Megatron’s Butthole a year from now… a stadium named after Mercedes Benz as a living tribute to the never-ending hatred that Atlanta’s sports teams have for poor people. If you ride a bus or you are gay, this team wants nothing to do with you.

And frankly, you should want nothing to do with them or with Atlanta proper. I’ve been to Atlanta. Every cool place you find in Atlanta is a happy accident. The rest of the joint was engineered to be segregated misery. There’s no actual urban planning in Atlanta. It was a city designed for people terrified of leaving their cars. That certain parts of Atlanta have managed to raise up a vibrant culture despite all that is a real testament to the potential of the human spirit. We should airlift those parts to Memphis.

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What might not suck: I was gonna say Devonta Freeman until I realized that he averaged 3.15 yards per carry in the second half of last season. Fuck him.

Let’s remember some Falcons:

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  • Michael Haynes
  • Scott Case
  • Jessie Tuggle
  • Brian Finneran
  • Kurt Kittner

Hear it from Falcons fans!

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Hasan:

Fuck Kyle Shanahan.

Lewis:

Please visit our city so we can afford the new stadium.

More Spencer Hall:

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As a franchise and a brand it’s astonishing that, in a city paved wall-to-wall with mildly charming bulk brand signage, the Falcons—an NFL franchise with the blandest, most dumbed-down sports branding on the planet—still exist as a kind of benign algae incapable of growing deeper roots in the city.

Maybe it’s because the response to the Vick-era team exiting the tunnel to “Bring ‘em Out” by T.I. was to have Travis Tritt write a country theme song for “The fans who don’t appreciate rap.” Travis Tritt is fine, btw, but he’s from Cobb County, not Atlanta, and now you see they basic struggle: a franchise in a largely black city still trying to make sure it can market to some imaginary largely white fanbase in the northern suburbs in a not-too-obvious fashion.

Maybe it’s also that that fanbase doesn’t exist, or blows all its money on Saturdays puking into bushes at Sanford and Jordan-Hare Stadiums, or that everyone here really is that racist. They did do one smart thing: shooting the gap with Samuel L. Jackson, who sells credit cards, and therefore must be trusted by corporations.

Other than that, and having Julio Jones, and having the best Madden QB of all time prior to his ACTUALLY BEING INVOLVED IN A FELONY GRADE DOGFIGHTING RING?

There’s an owner who seriously wastes your owner in looking like the villain in a Raymond Chandler novel.

Arthur Blank passed me in a golf cart once and he is so tiny and perfectly coiffed and manicured that he looks like a marionette icon of what wealth looks like. He even smelled wealthy; his cologne, wafting in the air behind him as he passed us in a golf cart, had to be made from the powdered penises of a thousand unicorns.

He only took $200 million from the city for their new stadium, which from above looks like the contracting asshole of a plane- sized robot.

Oh, and what sucks about Atlanta? Besides no one being sure exactly what it is or where it ends, it has the worst sewer system in the country, seizes up and dies when covered in three inches of snow, has some of the most complex racial tension, is perpetually killing its own vibrant nightlife scene, and is known mostly for being an ocean of damnable parking lots, demolition sights, abandoned houses, and other assorted pre-Detroitisms.

You know why the Walking Dead was shot here? Because there’s very little to do to much of the city to get it into zombie apocalypse mode. The Falcons’ most notable accomplishment was ruining the utterly beautiful 1998 Vikings season with one of the most horseshit finishes in NFC Championship history. They followed that up by having their NFL Man of the Year safety get arrested for soliciting a prostitute the night before the Super Bowl. Other than that, this franchise is a blank randomness that will probably end up in Canada.

Darius:

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Five indisputable facts about the Falcons and why we will lose this season:

1) Kyle Shanahan.

2) Kyle Shanahan.

3) Thomas Dimitroff.

4) Kyle Shanahan.

5) Kyle Shanahan.

Seriously. How did Dimitroff manage to keep his job when Mike Smith got canned? And Kyle Shanahan is the worst offensive coordinator in all of football. Roddy White was a potent threat with Julio Jones on the opposite side of the field. Then Shanahan came along and he all of a sudden wasn’t our 4th best receiver. The whole thing is pathetic.

The city of Atlanta hasn’t had a championship parade since 1995. Now that Cleveland won one with the Cavs, we are next. We are the most tortured sports town in America. Yay.

Byron:

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The Falcons fucking suck. They’ve always fucking sucked. They suck because they are a sports team from the stupid fucking city of Atlanta. It is a city full of people who have settled in life because “it’s cheaper here.” It is a city of people who think culture is a new Chili’s opening up next to the Target in whatever suburb they live in. Atlanta is a giant suburb whose slogan should be “Welp.”

Want to know the life cycle of the average “Atlantan”?

You’re born in a shitty suburb north of the city (Marietta, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, etc). You go to a state school like UGA, Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, etc.You graduate and work in PR or Sales and move to Buckhead. You go to the same bars for 3-5 years until you meet the perfect douchebro/blonde idiot. You get married before you’re thirty, then move out to the suburbs to have some shitty kids and start the cycle all over.

Even better, the majority of people who say they’re from Atlanta are people who live in the suburbs and are afraid to go inside the perimeter (I-285 for you carpetbaggers) because the city is dangerous (read: Black). Other cities may have invented White Flight. But ATL made an art out of it.

The number of times I’ve heard “We have a shot this year” is laughable. UGA fans have thought this every year since Herschel Walker helped them bring in a title 36 FUCKING YEARS AGO. They have not won an SEC title in more than 10 years. Hang around any mouth breathing UGA fan for more than 10 minutes and you’ll hear “We were this close in 2012!” For the record, they were not close. The Patron Saint of “good is good enough” Aaron Murray ended up 5 yards short of winning the game that would have allowed them to further shit the bed in a national championship game. But I guess if you’re a UGA fan, you hold on to what you can.

The “but we were so close” mentality also exists with The Falcons as well! “If only Harry Douglass hadn’t tripped!” Yeah, if he wouldn’t have tripped you could’ve let the whole nation watch your asshole get ripped apart by the Ravens worse than Elway and Co. did in 1998. Sounds like a great time.

There’s also a whole contingent of fans who believe the Hawks have rejuvenated their roster by letting the best player of the past decade walk for nothing, signing perpetual malcontent and human telenovela Dwight Howard, and giving the reins of the offense to a kid that looks like a fucking alien who can’t make good decisions and weighs less than the average 3rd grader in rural Georgia. Oh, and they’re about to do the same thing they did with Horford with Paul Millsap. It’s cool though, because we still have Kyle Korver. Atl fans will never fail to overrate slightly above average white guys. (see: Freeman, Freddie)

Also amazing is the fact the city embraces the uniformed Ponzi Scheme known as the Atlanta Braves. “Take millions of dollars to build a stadium without representation? Fine! But don’t raise my taxes to pay for government benefits or extend MARTA to a point where any minorities might be able to come and get me.”

They built a clusterfuck of a city on the basis of wagon trails and train tacks, then had it all burnt down, only stubbornly built it back without a grid or plan of any kind. This embodies Atlanta.

My dad was born in 1962. The Falcons franchise began in 1965, the Braves came in 1966, the Hawks came in 1968. He has seen one Championship in 148 years of Pro sports. He told me the other day he doesn’t think he’ll see another ATL championship before he dies. I hope he’s wrong, but knowing the perpetual disappointment that is Atlanta, he’s probably right.

Felix:

I’m a Falcons fan from Berlin, Germany. My passion for the Falcons started with their Playoff loss against the Packers in 2010. I should have known what I was getting myself into back then. The major event that made me hate my team was their London Game in October 2014. As a European football fan, having your team play in London gets you excited for months and as I was pretty optimistic going into the season I felt like the Lions would be a guaranteed W. I was going to see the Falcons win in my first live NFL Game.

But they managed to fuck it up. Losing a game is one thing, but blowing a 21-0 halftime lead by basically staying in the locker rooms for the entire second half is another. That Matt Ryan interception, with no Falcons receiver being around in an area of 10 yards and throwing a perfect spiral into the hands of the Lions secondary got me facepalming for 15min straight. What made this loss even worse was Mike Smith’s time management and the complete lack of effort.

My awesome weekend in London was ruined by a senile old men and his inability to read the gameclock, and the team’s inability to run down the clock (Steven Jackson running into 5 defenders maybe is the perfect summary for the Falcons post 2012).

Considering this, I knew what I was in for from the start and I got the Falcons in a nutshell. Being promising for the first half of either a game or a season (Last season was heartbreaking!), then relying on the infamous Matty Ice to win an unnecessary close game and failing, and Devin Hester returning kicks and getting destroyed 80% of the time, but because he is Devin Hester and thinks he can outrun a handful of guys who are in a 5-yard radius of his catch. Why use a Fair Catch? Right, cause you don’t have a run game and can’t get shit done without Julio having an incredible game.

As for the next season - again I’m very optimistic, but I am certain the Falcons will find a way to shit on every fans hopes, with Matt Ryan seeing ghosts, the O-Line having an On-field holiday and Thomas Dimitroff signing 500-year old linebackers, who miss open field tackles like their opponents are carrying a contact-contractable disease instead of a football.

Jacob:

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- I’m an atheist, but even I know demolishing historically relevant churches for this team is bad fucking luck. Luckily, if God does exist, we already know how he feels about the team.

- At least they didn’t move to Cobb County with the fucking robber baron Braves.

- There is no reason to be excited about our offense. You guys just shit all over Mike Mularkey, who did more with mostly the same people.

- Roddy White is with the fucking Saints now

- You would have thought we won the Super Bowl when we beat the panthers last year

- When I moved back east from Arizona I had a decent collection of Atlanta teams jerseys stolen by the movers, Spud Webb, Chipper Jones, Dominique Wilkins etc, but none of my Falcons jerseys got yanked.

- Thomas Dimitroff could draft me in the first round and keep his job. I’d get resigned at least once, too.

- For at least 5 years every article about what we need to improve for next season, what to look for in the draft, what to look for in free agency has been more pass rush. We have never addressed this need.

- Headline on USA Today: “Quinn wants fan support to help Falcons pressure opposing offenses”. Guess when you can’t play it through the speakers anymore...

Elijah:

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I love the Falcons more than life itself, but the only thing that can truly encapsulate how bad the Falcons are is losing to Matt Hasselbeck and Blaine Gabbert, not to mention putting only 10 points on the board against the Titans. And that was all just last season! To put a proverbial cherry on top of that, The Georgia Dome is incredibly quiet 80% of the time.

Brent:

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If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, then does it make a sound? If the Falcons complete a fourth-quarter two-minute drill comeback in the final seconds of the game, then would anyone notice? The stadium is usually empty by that point. (Twice my best friend has wanted to leave before last-second field goals to win the game.)

In 2013, the Falcons hosted a Monday Night game against the Jets. The guys behind us were REALLY drunk, but I tried to be polite to them anyway. During the third quarter, my buddy went to the restroom. The guys behind us could barely stand. I stood up to watch the game, and one of them fell into me, causing me to fall two rows ahead and plow into an old man.

“I’m SO sorry!” I said to the old guy.

“Leave now or I’m calling the cops,” he said.

I was a little buzzed myself and I said, “I’m leaving.” I grabbed by buddy and we bolted, afraid our season tickets would be revoked.

When I got home, I turned on the TV. The Braves were knocked out of the playoffs. Minutes later, I watched the Falcons lose on a last-second drive to Geno goddamn Smith. And just for good measure, the Hawks also lost in a preseason game that night. I cried into my Atlanta Thrashers and Flames jerseys because I am a manchild.

At the next game, the season ticketholders who sit near us said those drunk fans eventually fell into the old man again, and they were all arrested.

This team didn’t have back-to-back winning seasons till 2008 and 2009, and no back-to-back playoff appearances till 2011 and 2012. We were founded in 1966, the same year as the Miami Dolphins.

Our team managed to blow a 21-0 lead in London to the goddamn Detroit Lions in one of the most fucked-up calls in NFL history.

The most high-stakes game the Georgia Dome hosts every season is the fucking Peach Bowl.

I would make a joke about idiotic our fan base is. But let’s be honest: We’re constantly outnumbered by opposing fans. And I guarantee you it’s rarely people flying in from out of town. The opposing fans usually live in Gwinnett or Cobb counties. We’re not fairweather, we’re just a transplant city.

One of the elephants in the room that no one wants to admit is that race still plays a big factor in Atlanta, the birthplace of the modern-day KKK (at Stone Mountain, which itself is the world’s largest bas relief carving in the world and a memorial to Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee). The self-proclaimed ‘city too busy to hate’ has a lot of racial problems — The Braves moving to Kobb Kounty, where Leo Frank was lynched; the Hawks’ e-mails showing the ownership wanted a “less urban” environment; segregated proms (that aren’t school-sponsored but still); Confederate flags, etc.

It’s gotten better, but white people around here typically support college football while black people around here typically support NFL football. And it shows in fan attendance. My racist uncle still calls them the fal-COONS.

Fuck Atlanta.

Jevin:

They managed to hire the only coach with less personality than Mike Smith and let an entitled coach’s son OC run a team legend out of town. I don’t blame Roddy for being salty. Kyle Shanahan is a fraud. I’m positive Julio will be in a crimson full-body cast rooting from the sidelines when Alabama beats Tennessee because Little Shanny is going to force-feed him the ball until all of his beautiful being breaks. And fuck his Skeletor-ass dad for out-coaching a recent heart attack survivor in what will forever be the team’s only Super Bowl.

Fuck John Elway and fuck the Braves. God damn I hate sports.

David:

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The new stadium looks like a butthole. The team knows it. The city knows it. Everyone knows it.

Dustin:

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The Falcons suck because even though he’s gone, Mike Smith is still searching for answers on the sidelines.

Also, our owner looks like a villain straight out of a 1980's comic book.

Joey:

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Our coach looks like some guy we found doing semi-pro wrestling at a middle school. Every fucking interview Dan Quinn gives is about being “fast and physical” on defense. He really puts the “bro” in bromide. But there’s nothing physical about this defense. The last decent hit made by someone from Atlanta was on an Outkast album. This team has such an amazing start to last season and didn’t make the playoffs because they lost to guys like Matt Hasselbeck and Blaine fucking Gabbert. Now we get the play the toughest schedule in the league. *drinks bleach*

P.S. “Mercedes-Benz Stadium” is a shitty name.

Johann:

There are 32 teams in the NFL, and the law of averages says that each team should win the Super Bowl about 1x every 32 years, right? I’ll be 37 this year and the closest we’ve ever been in my lifetime was getting blown out by the Broncos once.

So as a Falcons fan, I’ve adopted different metrics to gauge success. Sadly, we’re nowhere near the top no matter what the metric is, unless the metric is “most uneducated fan base” or “highest number of 1st round draft busts.”

Tommy:

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Over the years I’ve come to believe that, in much the same way pets and owners begin to resemble each other, NFL teams become a reflection on their home city. Some examples: The Dolphins and Miami, shoddy leadership, B-list celebrities, overarching chaos; the Chargers and San Diego, mildly entertaining but easy forgettable, etc…

Our local NFL entry is a group of professionals from all over the country, many of whom don’t mind being here but equally wouldn’t mind being somewhere else, nearly all of whom have no cultural bond or affinity for the area. The organization’s ‘tradition’ seems forced and is mostly used to paper over all of the awful things that happened in the past. More often than not the talent and ability to do something notable is there, but instead they prefer year after year to just half-ass it and try to do just enough to keep from losing their jobs.

The Greater Atlanta Chamber could spend $20 million and not come up with better example of life in the ATL than this team. Paul Worrilow is the NFL equivalent of the guy that sits in my staff meetings cramming pencils up his nose.

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