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Some people are fans of the Atlanta Falcons. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Atlanta Falcons. This 2017 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: 28-3.

 Your 2016 record: 28-3.

You had one job, Falcons. ONE FUCKING JOB. Hoo boy, was I feeling myself early in that game. I got EXTREMELY drunk and began celebrating prematurely with the rest of this site’s staff, minus the couple of repugnant Pats fans currently in our employ (Billy, Samer, Cooke, Mephistopheles). Look at us rejoicing before the darkness prevailed upon the land.

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Of course, we all should have known better. As joy slowly turned to horror over the course of that second half, I was alone in drunkenly holding onto the outlandish belief that the Atlanta Falcons—the worthless, useless, terminally irrelevant Atlanta Falcons, who have never accomplished a goddamn thing—would somehow hold onto a 25-point lead and put an end to the greatest dynasty in NFL history. You cannot expect the Falcons to overcome their innate Falconness. Here is proof of my desperate naiveté in the face of the imminent collapse:

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That game was like taking the horror and incredulity of Pete Carroll’s goal-line pass and stretching it out for a quarter-plus of football. There was only one sequence of events that could have gotten the Patriots in position to win the game, and the Falcons made sure every one of those events unfolded. The failure to run the ball. The sack-and-strip of Ryan with the lead at 16 (and just 8:26 left to play in the fourth!). The sack that took Matt Ryan out of field goal range. The Edelman catch. TWO two-point conversions surrendered in a row. That never happens. How many times have you seen a team down 16 pull that off? Never. But New England did. Know why? Because they were playing the stupid Atlanta Falcons. I will never forgive them. Someone should write 28-3 in permanent marker around the rim of Megatron’s Butthole. What an awful night. Just thinking about it gives me a stroke.

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Your coach: 28-3 guy. Something tells me this guy wasn’t the brains of last year’s outfit.

Your quarterback: 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3 28-3. Hey, guess who says he’s, like, WAY OVER blowing a 28-3 lead?

“I don’t think there’s any hangover. We’re not those other teams. We can’t worry about that now.”

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AHAHAHAHAHA YEAH SURE WHATEVER CHOKEBOY. You don’t get to tell me you’re over it when you haven’t played a meaningful game since, nor when you’ve spent your last two playoff losses blowing a combined 42 points worth of leads. And it gets even worse because Ryan then goes ahead and pulls the tired “We wouldn’t change a thing!” garbage that no athlete or coach ever truly believes:

He paid closest attention to that disastrous offensive possession late in the fourth quarter. Of course, in hindsight, he could have changed the call, thrown the ball away, or called timeout. But he defends the late sequence, even now. “Absolutely, I believe in [staying aggressive],” he says, adding, “Go after it. That’s the style of team we are. We will attack. People can say whatever they want, but that’s not what I’m focused on. We had a chance to win.”

Yeah well, you didn’t. You blew it because you were stupid, and you’re gonna blow it again. Look how out of place Matt Ryan looks in this Gatorade ad:

Everyone else in that ad is a champion. Matt Ryan, on the other hand, is football Dan Majerle. I can’t believe they gave him an MVP with Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady sitting right there. And I can’t believe during the first half of that Super Bowl I was like, “Hey, maybe he deserved it!” He did not. He deserves to have a box of Ritz crackers thrown at his head.

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What’s new that sucks: The brainiac behind Atlanta’s Super Bowl collapse was hired by San Francisco to go piss on that franchise’s ashes, which means your new offensive coordinator is…Steve Sarkisian? Whuh? Why? If you recall, Sark was fired by USC due to his severe, recurring problems with alcoholism, and then resurfaced to coach with Nick Saban at Bama for the 2017 national title game after Saban shoved Lane Kiffin down a staircase. Bama lost that game and now Sark, who has just one year of experience coaching in the NFL (QB coach for the ‘04 Raiders and Kerry Collins, who threw 20 INTs to 21 TDs that year), is in charge of repairing the psyche of THIS offense? I’m… concerned. They also gave Devonta Freeman a fat new deal, which I assume still doesn’t require him to pass block. Julio Jones can catch pretty sideline passes but can’t hang onto precious jewelry.

Most important, the team has moved into its new stadium. Ah yes, the House That 28-3 Built. Sponsored by Mercedes! Because the Germans ALSO know a thing or two about lost momentum. As with seemingly every new stadium, the new joint cost a bazillion dollars, boasts harsh angles designed to poke out taxpayers’ eyes, and replaces a stadium that was perfectly serviceable. Now, you already know about the in-stadium Chick Fil-A that won’t be open on most game days. But also, the roof of Megatron’s Butthole is also currently experiencing severe sphincter issues and won’t be operational for the beginning of the season. And no one who went to the Georgia Tech game could find a way out. Just like the Falcons to have issues with functioning at critical junctures.

What has always sucked: After what happened last winter, you now know for certain that there’s NO reason to ever ever ever believe in this franchise. They are the football Hawks. It doesn’t matter how good they look. It doesn’t matter how far they get. It doesn’t matter how many free drugs they hand out. They will vanish, and anyone who buys into them will end up like this:

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Even when we were all making 3-1 gags about the Golden State Warriors, there was always the prospect of that team eventually finding a way to render those jokes dated. And they did. That will NEVER be a danger with the Atlanta Falcons. You guys will wear 28-3 around your necks forever, into the next life and the life after that. It’s the worst loss in sports history, and will be for as long as I live. Listen to Bomani Jones and listen good:

Everything in that rant still applies. Never pay attention to this team. Banish them from your consciousness, as Atlantans have for DECADES. Do not let them sucker you in with a big lead before putting on a sustained, focused display of one perfectly incompetent move after another, each one setting up the next. They’re chokers. They’re chuds. They’re nothing.

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Did you know? Jamal Anderson jacked off in a convenience store.

What might not suck: Okay, I like the bird statue.

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E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!

 HEAR IT FROM FALCONS FANS!

Adam:

Do I really need to write anything here?

JD:

28-3. Twenty-eight to fucking three.

Fay:

Oh my god.

Oh my god.

Oh my god.

OH MY GOOOOOODDDDDDDD.

I may never get over it.

Adam:

28-3 is a death sentence.

Mike:

WE BLEW THE BIGGEST LEAD IN SUPER BOWL HISTORY TO THE FUCKING PATRIOTS.

Caitlin:

I knew it was coming.

Johann:

We are never winning a SB. The ghost of this game will haunt us forever.

Joey:

I’ve started a sentence with “All they fucking had to do is ...” so many times in past few months that it’s practically my catchphrase.

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Danny O:

Because they had everyone in America (besides the six states in the northeast corner and the shithead in the White House) rooting for them in the Super Bowl, and they blew a 25-point lead.

Fuck Kyle Shanahan with a running play clock.

Mark:

As soon as James White crossed the goal line in overtime, I simply turned the TV off and stared blankly at the screen until my party guests began packing their things and leaving in silence. In a way, I’m staring at that blank screen to this day. There’s a Falcons Super Bowl LI shirt stuffed in my drawer that I treat like a pair of baby shoes that were never used - I know I should get rid of it, but the very act of doing so might open a door to my soul that I can’t easily shut. Any team can give you run of the mill disappointment, but a betrayal like that is... generational.

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Mike:

After the collapse in the Super Bowl, I am utterly convinced this team will never win a championship in my lifetime, my kids’ lifetimes, or until the ultimate heat death of our planet. Actually, that’s how it will end. The Falcons will have an insurmountable lead in Super Bowl MMMCMXXI, and just before the clock runs out the firestorm takes us all.

Jack:

Just so I don’t trigger my PTSD and swan dive into an empty pool, I won’t be talking about the Super Bowl.

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Gregg:

We went to the damn Super Bowl and played one of the most dominant 1st halves of professional football ever and you know what the fine people of Georgia are most excited about this year? THE CHEAP CONCESSIONS AT THE NEW STADIUM. Fuck these fans and fuck Matty Ice twice.

Darius:

I keep trying to type what I want to say and I can’t even come up with the words. I’m still going through the PTSD from that 4th Quarter. I hate you Kyle Shanahan.

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Brent:

We are a spectacular disaster of failure, in a city built upon spectacular disaster and failure.

Travis:

When we went up 28-3, I immediately went to record the last half of that game on my DVR, along with the celebration that would ensue under the guise of seeing sweet Lombardi over and over again…

You know how you felt when Blair missed that chip shot against Seattle? Ten times that. SITUATIONAL FOOTBALL, KYLE.

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Josh:

I drank 14 Bud Light Limes during the Super Bowl and threw up on the shoes of a Patriots fan. The guy wasn’t even upset. During the game, I repeatedly high-fived a bunch of Trump-loving bandwagon Falcons fans until the 4th quarter, when our high school JV defense gave up the largest lead in Super Bowl history to a 40 year old who’s afraid of strawberries.

Julio Jones will probably sign with the Patriots in 2021 and finally win a Super Bowl...against the Falcons. I will never watch football again.

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Rhodes:

I will never be comfortable with a Falcons lead again until two hours after the game has already ended.

Matthew:

I live in Cincinnati but I’m a Falcons Fan. My friends call me “Skyline” for short but they can chug sand and so can you, for disgracing the name of Skyline.

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Adam:

I blame Gaga’s halftime show.

Christopher:

We won most of the Super Bowl, just not the end-part. That’s honestly enough for some of us who are so used to Atlanta underperforming.

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Thomas:

I am a Falcons fan living in Boston. I stupidly watched the Super Bowl at some friends’ place in Charlestown. I was wearing Falcons gear, including a hat picturing a goat wearing Matt Ryan’s jersey. I am a moron. At halftime I had visions in my head of me walking to my car, getting jumped by pissed off townie douchebags, and bleeding out on the curb. I now wish that’s what happened instead.

Ait:

A friend from Atlanta turned to me at halftime and said “I wonder when the Falcons will start to be the Falcons.” And I should’ve known there. When we did eventually lose in overtime, I threw my Braves hat on the ground in frustration, a reminder of another disappointing franchise that shined so brightly in my youth, now lusterless in a haze of guacamole and pigs in a blanket.

Fuck Kyle Shanahan so, so much.

Fuck Tom Brady’s veggie-eating, cheating, five-ring having ass.

I’m gonna go play an Outkast CD in my room and scream to the heavens like the old days.

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Mike:

This team managed to get the entire city of Atlanta on the bandwagon, steamroll through the playoffs, and the suffer the worst loss in Atlanta sports history, and it’s not even close. At least the Braves had to blow multiple games in all of the World Series they’ve lost, and nobody gives a shit about the Hawks. Not even UGA or Georgia Tech, with both of their tortured histories, have a loss like this.

Today is March 6, one full month after the Super Bowl. I have not watched a single second of highlights, I threw away any and all newspapers/magazines that referenced the game, and yet I still get irrationally angry whenever I hear the words “Kyle Shanahan.”

Good luck San Francisco. Watch out for those 25-point leads.

Ira:

I think few people realize how shitty and depressing the Falcons have been as a franchise in their roughly 50 years of existence.

This is a team that did not have back-to-back winning seasons until 2009, 40 years after they came into the league.

This is a team that traded Brett Favre, so it could go all-in on Chris Miller.

This is a team whose star defensive player, team leader and Bart Starr Man of the Year Award winner Eugene Robinson was arrested for soliciting a prostitute on the EVE OF THE SUPER BOWL.

This is a team whose franchise player was involved in a multi-state, multi-million dollar dog fighting ring.

This is a team whose head coach quit in the middle of the year (without telling the team) to go coach Jerry Jones U.

Then, after years of climbing back to relevance (suffering brutal playoff loses along the way) with a good QB, a great WR and a great RB, and a glimmer of hope, we had to endure the most gut wrenching loss in history in the most important game to the most despised franchise in the sport.

Knowing the Falcons, it can, and will, always be worse.

Kris:

Because even as I was planning on buying my Super Bowl Champion gear in the middle of the 3rd quarter, I knew when they showed the graphic of the largest Super Bowl comeback that that graphic was going to show the Falcons name after this year because I KNEW they were going to blow it.

Because the one Falcons game I’ve actually been to in my life was one where they generated zero offense in spite of Matt Ryan being their quarterback. I got a wicked sunburn too. Four days later, they put up 56 on the Bucs and still didn’t have the decency to make the playoffs.

Because Kraft, Belichick, and Brady’s awfulness made everyone overlook Arthur Blank making us buy an unnecessary new stadium that’s a literal SKY BUTTHOLE(TM)

Because every time Bomani Jones tells me not to trust the Falcons and gives every reason why, I have to agree with him.

Also fuck Bobby Petrino.

Greg:

This is the franchise that:

Stopped to have an in-game celebration for the team’s first runner to have a 1,000 yard season, only to have him lose 4 yards on the next play and finish the season at 996.

Hired Marion Campbell as head coach TWICE

Had 3 different players die in separate incidents in a 14 month span in 1988-89

Traded Brett Favre for a box of cheese-its

Had its star wide receiver’s house get burned down by a member of TLC

Waited 30+ years to make its first Super Bowl. Upon doing so, its star defensive player got busted for prostitution after winning the Bart Starr award on the eve of the Super Bowl, spent the night in jail, and promptly got burned for an 80-yard TD

Their potentially revolutionary QB admitted to not preparing for games, not taking his work seriously, lied to the team owner, and got sent to jail for DOG FIGHTING. A large percentage of the fan base still thinks he got shafted.

Took 39 years to have consecutive winning seasons

Was up 17-0 in the 2012 NFC Championship game, at home, and lost.

Blew the largest lead in Super Bowl history by inexplicably NOT running the ball at every opportunity.

This is my team.

Jack:

The only thing stopping Atlanta from becoming the most miserable sports town in America is the fact that 85% of the residents just don’t give a shit about the teams there. If anymore northerners moved there, you’d think Sherman was coming to burn it down again. No Falcons team will ever have enough loyal supporters that can’t be considered bandwagon fans. I wouldn’t take a piss on Kyle Shanahan to save him if he was crawling out of Andre Rison’s house.

By the way, I like Arthur Blank, but why is he always dressed like he has to attend his own open casket funeral after each game?

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Travis:

My dad died in 2014 without ever seeing the Falcons win the Super Bowl. I’m sure other submitters will properly articulate the awfulness of SB51, but all that game did was reaffirm what I’ve known all along. My moron friends keep believing the window is open and the team will get theirs in the next 2-3 years. But I know we’re fucked and SB51 was the eternal proof. It’s a race against mortality I will lose. I too will die without ever seeing the Falcons win the Super Bowl.

Samuel:

Why did this fucking team have to break my then 17 year old heart like that? Fuck it I think I jinxed it. My friends and I talked about skipping school to go to the parade in the 3rd quarter, because we for SURE thought that it was all over. And then we all know what happened. Fuck you Kyle Shanahan for being the sole cause of my GPA drop and I hope Roddy White beats your ass whenever he sees you again, fuck Devonta Freeman for that missed block, and I’m sad because I know this team will keep on breaking my heart till I’m 38 when the NFL will basically be flag football and I just won’t give a fuck anymore.

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Dan:

THIS should be one of the most enduring images in sports history, and the ultimate mic drop response to every insufferable “Brady is the GOAT” Masshole. Instead it took a 10-minute google image search to track it down.

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Grant:

I’m 29 years old and have been a Falcons fan since the Dome opened in 1992 - my Dad bought season tickets and held on to them until I graduated high school in 2006. Falcons games were what I shared with my Dad - it was our thing, and I wouldn’t trade attending any of those blowout losses back in the mid 90s for anything. The brief highs and painfully long lows are what being a sports fan in Atlanta is all about, and it’s all I ever knew.

My Dad passed away in November, right in the middle of what we both knew was a very special season. I was able to watch a few games with him in his final months, and he would remind me of a simple yet always true saying he and his friends used over and over on the long ride home from another crushing Atlanta Falcons loss:

“They’ll break your heart”

I grew up knowing that the Falcons will break your heart. It’s been ingrained in me since childhood. I said it at halftime, I said it in the third quarter, I said it as the game (and all of my hopes and dreams as a sports fan) slipped away. I thought of my Dad and could almost hear him whispering it to me as he slowly shook his head, eyes closed and lips pursed together tight.

On the long ride home from the Super Bowl party I laid crying in the backseat of my friend’s car, finishing a fifth of Crown Royal, and muttering, “They’ll break your heart”

Some months later and it still makes me shake my head whenever I think about the game, and I suspect it will always be that way. I have faith that we will have a great team this year, but I have no faith in them ever doing anything but breaking my heart.

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Tent:

My favorite Valentine’s Day card post Super Bowl existential crisis:

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James:

I quickly hatched a plan after the Packers blowout – I rented out a bar in the middle of Atlanta and invited as many of my friends and family as I could to justify the cost of the rental. I was never trustworthy of my team, but I figured we could have a good time and drink some beers and maybe – just maybe we would get a chance to celebrate in the streets afterward. After 3 quarters of jubilation, I began to throw my hat at the projector more times than was necessary. As we rolled into Overtime I picked up a pitcher and started chugging. Woke up the next morning at 5am (had a flight out at 7) and had to ask my girlfriend who won.

February 5th was also my birthday.

I’d say Fuck the Falcons, but this is actually an improvement for Atlanta sports teams.

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David:

The game against Kansas City wasn’t going so well – Matt Ryan tossed a pick-6, and the Chiefs were up a couple scores midway through the 3rd quarter. But the running game got going, the defense made two stops, and with 4 minutes left Ryan found Aldrick Robinson (a *lot* of guys scored for the Falcons last year) to put Atlanta up one.

Falcons went for 2, as they should’ve, but Matty Ice threw a fucking PICK-2 of all things to Eric Berry. The Falcons turned a go-ahead score into the losing margin without the clock moving and the Chiefs’ offense ever having to touch the ball. One of the weirdest ways to lose a game I have ever seen, and that night, I tell my wife: “I don’t think I’ll ever see the Falcons collapse like that again.”

Well, shit.

Darren:

Since the game my life has fallen apart. Broke up with my girlfriend of 4 years. Got moved internally in my job and I’m now doing a job I hate. Tore a disc in my back which left me in a crumpled heap and unable to compete in powerlifting anymore at a decent level.

Somehow, above all that, the Super Bowl loss hurts the most. That probably says more about me than anything but I can’t help how I feel. I still haven’t been able to watch the game back.

Fuck the arrogant Kyle for not running the ball in the second half. Fuck Devonta for missing that block. Fuck Jake for the holding penalty. Fuck Matt for taking that sack. Fuck the Pats for knowing our weaknesses. Fuck Edelman for being so sure-handed. Fuck Bill and Tom for always doing the right thing, for being so damn cerebral and for breaking my heart.

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Austin:

Afterwards it was just me and my then-girlfriend. She really felt for me and wanted to help take my mind off of things. She earnestly tried to get me to talk about other stuff, make me laugh, and she did some pretty neat sex stuff. But I just ate a sandwich, shook my head, and apologized.

Ginna:

Fuck the Falcons. Fuck the NFL. Fuck Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Fuck Edelman for catching that ball. Fuck Lady Gaga. Fuck Kyle Shanahan with a nuclear warhead and fuck Mike Shanahan while we’re at it. But most of all, fuck me, for thinking for even three fucking seconds that we were going to win that game. I hate football and I hate all of you.

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Adam:

Arthur Blank looked like such a moron standing on the sidelines as Kraft celebrated the comeback from the owner’s box. And the worst part is this came against the Patriots, who already have a bunch of titles and — even worse than that — the most obnoxious, least deserving fans on earth. Atlanta needed this so much more and their fans deserved it so much more.

I hold no ill will toward the Pats because they did what champions are supposed to do, which is never give up and fight until the end. What I want moving forward is for the Falcons to fail miserably and stay as far away from the playoffs as possible. If that requires player injuries, then so be it. Falcons fans don’t deserve to be toyed with by them again. It doesn’t matter how well they play, they have already proven they are incapable of winning a title.

I can only hope for this generation of Falcons to move on from the game as soon as possible, but this agonizing era could drag on for awhile because Ryan has yet to sign his franchise-crippling contract.

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Funky:

Fuck Jim Leyritz with that ball that’s probably still going.

Kyle:

I think I could stomach the blown lead if it weren’t for all the god damn Barstool “28-3" flags.

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Kyle:

This year’s Super Bowl happened to coincide with our trip Bangkok, Thailand. Kickoff was around 7 AM local time and we watched the big game at than the local Hooters.

Each Falcon score was followed by a wave of early morning Fireball shots and chicken wings. The venerable patrons of this Hooters were already congratulating us on our incredible victory. We were on top of the world! I assure you there aren’t many better feelings than smoking victory heaters with strange Thais at a Southeast Asian Hooters.

As glorious as the comeup was, the downfall was far, far worse. Desperate yelps of denial were followed by spilled beers and thrown chairs, only to be interrupted by explosive dumps from the concoction of cheap booze and chicken wings. Bangkok is a place of unbelievable highs and lows and we had come full circle. Signing that check for 9,642 Thai Baht will surely be one of the more depressing moments of my jackass young adult life. And to top off this horrendous day, we ended up getting scammed into buying a few thousand dollars worth of shitty Thai suits later that afternoon. I blame the goddamn Atlanta Falcons.

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Ginna:

Fuck Kyle Shanahan with five arsenic-soaked Lombardi trophies.

Will:

I’m one of the few born here and I wear it like a badge of honor and wave off the heat, humidity, terrible transit, Varsity diarrhea, etc. With that being said.....

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Britton:

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Submissions for the Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: New England Patriots.