Some people are fans of the Atlanta Falcons. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Atlanta Falcons. This 2018 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Atlanta Falcons.
Your 2017 record: 10-6. Did I say 10-6? Interesting, because that was also the lead the Falcons held over Philly before blowing it in the divisional round. FUNNY HOW THAT WORKS. You people let Nick Foles happen. You could have snuffed out this insanity before it even started and you fucking failed. NEVER TRUST A FALCON TO DO A MAN’S JOB. Their last play against the Eagles was foiled because the Eagles defense knew the call in advance and yelled it out at the damn line of scrimmage:
“It was right hash. That’s a lot of teams’ tendencies for a sprint out. As soon as I saw the tight end come over, I was like, ‘There it is!’” McLeod said. “This is everything you dream of as a player.”
The Atlanta Falcons: Everything You Dream Of As An Opponent. Why do we even let the Falcons IN the playoffs? All they do is blow leads and enable dickheads. Imagine blowing a 28-3 lead to New England in the Super Bowl, and then spending the very next postseason watching Nick fucking Foles beat that same team by doing all the things you were too stupid to do. The Falcons are worthless, and the Eagles just showed them how worthless they truly are. I say we banish all these shitbird Atlanta sports teams from their respective postseasons. Who’s gonna even notice? Not this city.
But let’s go back a bit, back before the Falcons gagged on a twig the way they always do. They hired Steve Sarkisian to replace Kyle Shanahan and the offense immediately averaged 50 yards less per game. The quarterback had his touchdowns nearly cut in half and his picks nearly double. They scored nearly 200 fewer points than in 2016!!!! Keep in mind that there were no catastrophic injuries or significant free agent losses along this offense last year. They just withered. The deep passing game disappeared because Sarkisian decided to turn Julio Jones into a possession receiver. They lost back-to-back games in their new stadium to the Bills and the Dolphins. Matt Ryan had a pass intercepted by a guy’s butt. Arguably the most entertaining member of this team last season was fog.
SO COOL. It’s like all the players are dead! Anyway, the Falcons blew any chance at that particular game when Sark called a jet sweep with Taylor Gabriel on 4th and goal at the one. This team has arguably the best backfield in the game, and in every possible critical moment, they elect to send Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman out to go get Junior Mints or something. It’s BAFFLING. I’ll never understand it.
Your coach: Dan Quinn, who looks like solemn Goldberg. And yes, he kept Sarkisian around to run the offense. Let’s see how that’s going:
[Julio] Jones said that he and Sarkisian have a better relationship now that the team has moved past the “hype, stress and pressure” that accompanied Sarkisian’s arrival in Atlanta. The coordinator agrees that a full regular season and two playoff games have made things smoother.
That’s great. Nothing like needing an entire calendar year to help your new OC get comfortable designing plays for a bunch of Pro Bowlers. Totally normal learning curve. Only the Falcons could find a way to rebuild something that was already built. Quinn is now signed through 2022.
Your quarterback: Matt Ryan. No need for me to evaluate Matt Ryan when I can just have Jalen Ramsey do it instead:
I think Matt Ryan’s overrated. You can’t tell me you win MVP two years ago, and then last year, you a complete bust, and you still got Julio Jones? There’s no way that should ever happen. I don’t care. You know what that tells me? That tells me [Offensive Coordinator Kyle] Shanahan left, went to San Francisco, got Garoppolo, made Garoppolo this big thing. And now Garoppolo is a big name—and now [Matt Ryan] has this bad year? Alright, well, was it really you, or was it your coach? He was doing what was asked of him and it was making him look really, really good.
Lemme tell you something: It’s never cool when you have to ask, “How much of this was just Kyle Shanahan magic?” about an NFL team. Matt Ryan is the name you hear listed any time an analyst begins a sentence, “And in my second tier of quarterbacks…” Statistically, the best quarterback on this team is Mohamed Sanu. Here’s special Atlanta correspondent Spencer Hall with more:
“Matt Ryan still can’t get recognized at a Panera and it gets worse if he stands within five feet of the cookie display. Any object of remotely significant interest is a cloaking device for him. In an Ikea he turns into the Predator.”
What’s new that sucks: Megatron’s Butthole formally opened for business last season and it didn’t take long for it to spring an anal fissure:
It was $1.6 billion for that joint and the fucking roof doesn’t work. Outstanding. I like that Brandboy there framed the repairs above as some kind of sacrifice Arthur Blank was gonna have to make to the community. It might cost HIM potentially hundreds of millions of dollars! LOL he ain’t paying for that shit, Darren. Have you met Atlanta? Atlanta is one giant teeming mass of people trying to get someone else to pay for something. Blank, seen here…
…was responsible for getting Roger Goodell his contract extension and snuffing out an effort to oust Goodell led by Cowboys owner and horny skeleton Jerry Jones. This makes Blank the good guy? I guess? The most prominent NFL owners are in a constant race to see who can be the most demonstrably evil bastard, but it’s the CLASSY ones you gotta watch out for. Those are the ones who’ll fuck you good. Oh, the Falcons serve craft beer for five bucks? I’m sure that’ll make up for taking $700 million from the city.
They drafted a running back named after the O.J. judge. Who does that to a child?
What has always sucked: They never should’ve rebuilt Atlanta after it burned to the ground. That city is nothing but traffic and people who pretend they enjoy a slower pace of life but only need the thermometer to hit 92 to demand a second Civil War. And somehow the rest of the state is much, much worse. It’s just one big dead forest of long faces, dad jeans, and racism.
The Braves, who executed their own white flight from the city, co-hosted a fundraiser for a dude who wants to throw immigrants into the back of his truck. People gather at Stone Mountain to sit on lawn chairs and stare at giant racists. All the schools are either hollowed out or run by Nazis. Hundreds of thousands of voters were conveniently purged from the rolls and the state will gladly shut down any voting station where they think them there folk won’t be votin’ right. UGA fans are, against all odds, the most annoying fans you’ll encounter at an SEC bar. The only things keeping Georgia from becoming a national punchline are Alabama and Donald Glover.
Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t portrayed an actual character since the 1990s.
What might not suck: They dicked Julio around on his contract and nearly drove him to hold out of camp, but then tossed a few extra dollars his way and so, in theory, you will get a full season of Julio Jones catching bombs opposite Calvin Ridley, and sending defenders flying with a wave of his hand. In theory. In practice, Sark will probably make him a fullback.
Let’s remember a guy who sucked: O.J. Santiago scored nine touchdowns in his whole, shitty career. And yet… and yet when he played my team in the NFC title game he magically turned into fucking Antonio Gates. You burn in hell, O.J. Santiago. BURN IN GREAT FIRE.
HEAR IT FROM FALCONS FANS!
Hey, remember the offensive coordinator responsible for the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history? We’d kill to have him back.
They are getting overshadowed in their own stadium by a soccer team in their second year of existence. The Falcons are playing games in Atlanta United’s stadium. They’re crashing on Josef Martinez’s couch. The flag that says “BLESS YOUR HEART” at ATL United games is for the Falcons, not the opposition.
It’s embarrassing how much better ATL United is in every way at being an actual Atlanta-feeling team than the Falcons. The crowd is actually as diverse as the city is, the game experience is so much more pleasant, and they don’t have the creeping evil of THE SHIELD lurking behind the whole atmosphere. Also ATL United hates Orlando, which makes sense. The Falcons hate New Orleans. Hating New Orleans for any reason is stupid. Hating New Orleans because you support a team that blew a 28-3 lead in a Super Bowl is stupid plus.
Takk McKinley is wonderful and I have nothing bad to say about him and neither do you.
It’s also a delight that as bad and hamfisted and troubled as the Falcons local presence can be, the Braves still exist. They are in first place, have Ronald Acuña, Jr, and still trip on their own dick by signing on to a fundraiser for the latest private school boy who got a UGA degree and decided to do a racist, xenophobic road show to get the governor’s seat. HE’S GONNA ROUND UP THEM ILLEGALS HISSELF WITH HIS GUN AND HIS TRUCK. I hope he gets hogtied and left face-down in the parking lot the next time he shows his face at a Mexican restaurant.
The lingering stink from Super Bowl LI will never completely go away unless the Falcons move twice and everyone associated with that debacle dies.
Let’s be real here. The Atlanta Falcons are just the Warm-climate Minnesota Vikings.
They are definitely gonna run Julio Jones into the ground which is just so sad. I’m willing to bet the end will be due to one of Matt Ryan’s infuriating hospitals passes.
We have perhaps the most talented roster across the league with a handful of young Pro-Bowl caliber players on defense and an offense that features the best receiver in the league and a former MVP. None of that shit matters. 28-3. Never forget.
I miss arguing about our sentient loaf of white bread QB’s eliteness and the unreliability of our entire defensive unit. Just 28-3 for eternity now.
Our offensive coordinator calls plays in the booth while wearing a backwards hat... he’s 44 years old.
The Falcons are somehow the most embarrassing team in the division that has Bountygate, a taxi groper for a quarterback, and a contractually obligated Jerry Richardson statue.
Fuck Jerry Glanville, fuck Cobb County, and fuck anyone who thinks the Clermont Lounge was ever a good time.
On offense, we have the equivalent of a 600 horsepower, 6-speed manual transmission Ferrari. Too bad our OC doesn’t know how to drive a stick.
Watching the Saints get their hearts ripped out, Last of the Mohicans-style, by the Vikings gave me wayyy more pleasure than a single thing the Falcons did the entire 2017 season.
The Falcons are in the middle of easily their most successful decade in franchise history and the local MLS team still draws more fans to the stadium. Fuck Steve Sarkisian with a sandpaper 40 liter.
Falcons fan here. 28-3 and fuck Keanu Neal’s knee.
Double fuck Mike Smith. But infinity fuck Bobby Petrino.
I remember the last time the Falcons had a shot. I was in first grade. There was a Falcons day celebration where everyone wore Falcons shirts. It was great fun and full of happiness. This planet was no longer capable of that kind of optimism and compassion. I felt it last year. I knew it wouldn’t work. We’re going to be worse this year.
I went to UGA. I was at the National Championship game this past year. I was on the 20 yard line, 20 rows back, on the same side as that sack on the penultimate play of the Championship game...the same side as that play that ended the game. I’m a diehard UGA fan and I was THERE for that.
It still wasn’t the worst thing that happened to Atlanta sports over the preceding 365 days.
Fuck Tom Brady. Fuck Bill Belichick. Fuck the Patriots. Fuck Boston fans. And Fuck the Falcons.
Still not over it.
I’m a Canadian. 50 years old. As a child, I could’ve picked any team to be my heroes. I chose Atlanta.
I knew at halftime of the Super Bowl. I just knew. I’d lived it too many times.
I just feel for new Falcons fans. They had hope. Run away now fuckers. Save your souls.
On that fateful night of February 5th, 2017, I walked into a bar in the small Michigan town where I lived, where a surprising number of people were wearing Lions gear. I sat next to a friendly older couple who told me they were wearing their Lions stuff “because it’s not like we will ever see them actually playing in the Super Bowl,” and watched my team build a 28-3 lead midway through the 3rd quarter.
Thankfully it was a short walk home. It was painful enough to watch unfold, but the Lions fans I sat next to twisted the knife. As I was walking out, I heard one of them say “I feel so sorry for him.”
Last year I bought season tickets for the new MLS team, Atlanta United, figuring an expansion team will be a disaster anyway, and maybe the lack of expectation will make games fun. United turned out to be good, great at times. A scoring machine, two goals a game minimum. Expectations were high going into the playoffs (the playoffs! As an expansion team!!). In their 1st round home playoff game, they tied 0-0 and lost on penalty kicks. They wear red and black and play in Megatron’s Butthole ... I should have known better.
Fuck Josh McDaniels for replacing Petrino for the biggest shitbag coaching move in NFL History ... Once again Atlanta can’t win anything.
Did you know the new robot dirt-star stadium had no real plan for traffic around it and they have had to close the roads around it at least 5 times since it opened to try to figure it all out?
Did you know they tore down an historic black church to build that monstrosity?
Did you know the historically black areas near the stadium are being gentrified because people that ran from people of color in the 80’s are finally tired of the 2- and 3- hour commutes?
Did you know that Turner Field is STILL empty despite the fact that there are two large schools in downtown that could probably use it?
Did you know the new Braves stadium is in the middle of a fucking office park? They have to close all the offices in the area to use their parking lots for parking because they put a fucking stadium in the middle of a fucking office park.
This team and this town deserved to be the team that got wrecked after a huge lead in that Super Bowl. The suburbs are filled with clueless, entitled soccer/lax moms changing lanes without looking… The ones that will denounce the separation of kids at the border but privately would vote to re-elect that human chemical plant fire.
I know people that have never attended a class at UGA with UGA tattoos.
The Atlanta fan base contains some of the worst cretins on the planet. We are a toxic slurry of SEC sycophants, carpetbagging front-runners, racist assholes, and plain-ole stupid people. Every message board, radio show, twitter feed, and tailgate is chock full of these troglodytes, who share the paradoxical trait of believing they are smarter than everyone and also being shameless fucking idiots. A sample:
•Every draft is proclaimed ‘a disaster’ because the Falcons won’t draft UGA players
•Matt Ryan (who has his faults but is an unassailable Top 7 QB and a literal MVP) ruins the team because “his noodle arm can’t throw the deep ball”
•Thomas Dimitroff, a multi-Executive of the year and a man who has held tenure over the greatest run of success in franchise history, is decried for using hair product and biking to work (because apparently real men don’t take care of their hair or environment); every decision he makes is declared inexcusable, until it works, upon which it is then credited to the coach / owner / SEC school from which the player played
•Our multi-billion dollar stadium constantly looks empty because the crowd is so enamored with 2 dollar hot dogs and LED lighting that they actively choose to hang out inside the bowels of the stadium and watch the game on TVs instead of sit in their fucking seats.
Fuck Atlanta Falcons fans with Robert Kraft’s greasy championship ring.
We’re now more than a year removed from 28-3, but it’s still impossible for any rational fan to believe these Falcons— as long as Dan Quinn and Matt Ryan are there — will ever win a title. I mean, they had it won and gave it away. There is no fan who can convince me that 28-3 isn’t the worst, cruelest thing that could be done to a sports fan and I will never forgive the Falcons of the Quinn-Ryan era for it. They are the ultimate frauds, and everyone knows it. I’m actually glad that, in 2017, the Falcons took one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history and handed it over to a fired-with-cause college coach who had zero NFL experience as an offensive coordinator. That achieved my wish for the team, which was to underachieve and stay the fuck away from another Super Bowl. But, just to twist the knife in the heart of Atlanta sports fans, I won’t be surprised if the Falcons make it to the Super Bowl again this season — it will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta — and fucking lose that too.
I didn’t watch one fucking minute of those bums. Sundays were free and wide open. I went for walks. I grew a personality. It was fucking great. I still flinch a little every time I think of That Night but with time it’s getting better. Saints fans can’t hurt you when you’re already dead inside. Fuck the Falcons. They’re cursed. Give it up, friends. Can’t wait for Atlanta United to fuck me over the next three decades like these assholes did.
On 7/24 it came out that Julio Jones would likely hold out of camp as he is trying to get a new contract. I bring this up around my co-workers just to get a football conversation going. In less than a minute the conversation somehow switched to Anthem Protests and how we should spend more money on taking care of Veterans. WTF! I just wanted to talk about how Julio Jones doesn’t deserve a new contract.
Everyone here is a College Football fan (So am I) and most don’t really care about the Falcons, but that doesn’t stop them from going on Facebook to proudly brag about how they are boycotting the NFL. Bitch, you weren’t watching anyways. Had cars in my neighborhood with window paint saying “We Stand for the Flag and kneel for the Cross!” I hate these fucking people!
I watched that Super Bowl in a bar and there were a couple Patriots fans around. When it was over none of them gloated, they just bought me a pitcher of beer and left. This team made me ashamed of receiving a free pitcher.
28-3 still hurts every time someone mentions it. When you rag on someone for 28-3 and they brush it off like it’s nothing it is total bullshit and it has hurt them BONE DEEP.
Julio Jones had 3 touchdowns last year. THREE.
The Falcons won’t sell single tickets to games, so corporations and politicians are the only people with seats to games unless you want to spend a hundred bucks to get a single ticket to watch the Falcons lose or almost lose to the Bucs.
I also attended the University of Georgia, so in the span of one year, I saw my two favorite sports teams reach their respective championship games and both lose in horribly painful ways to literally the two most vile, evil coaches in history.
Also in that same year, a bridge of one of our major highways caught on fire and collapsed after our DOT thought it was a swell idea to store flammable material under a highway bridge and then some bums smoked crack nearby and caught that shit on fire. Atlanta, man.
Fuck Kyle Shanahan with the Super Bowl 51 Lombardi trophy.
You know that viral tweet about how insane it is that the Mayor in Jaws is STILL the Mayor in Jaws 2? That’s how I feel about Steve Sarkisian STILL being the offensive coordinator of the Falcons. The Falcons not firing Sarkisian is like if no one told Lil Wayne to stop playing guitar. Every time Matt Ryan goes three and out against the 2-11 Buccaneers this year, and they cut to a half-asleep Steve Sarkisian chewing gum in the booth, I will imagine Lil Wayne noodling around with a Fender like a drunk dad at Guitar Center trying to figure out the opening chords to “Purple Haze.” That is our offensive coordinator.
The Falcons offense now runs like a 1996 Compaq PC trying to load Fortnite. The only explanation is that the current Falcons playbook was written at 3 A.M. at the Joe’s Crab Shack bar. I am positive that Sarkisian’s binder smells like suntan lotion and vodka Red Bulls. “All right, we’ve got a 3rd and 13 against the Lions? Let’s run the, uh...Mason Jar Margarita with Extra Cuervo.”
Adding Calvin Ridley to join Julio Jones just means that Steve Sarkisian now has two gifted wide receivers to ignore in favor of 2-yard screen passes to our chunky tight end. I don’t know if I can take another season of the haunted specter of Arthur Blank sulking around on the sidelines as the Falcons defense blows a game-ending goal-line stand to Jon Kitna or whatever. At least we’re not going to lose the Super Bowl again!
If you want to see the shiny, new Mercedes Benz stadium full, you’ll have to go see an Atlanta United soccer game.
If you were to round up our entire fan base and ask everyone individually who their favorite football team is, every single response would be a team from the SEC.
A sizeable portion of the fan base believes that our offense took a step back in 2017 because we didn’t re-sign our fullback.
P.S. Fuck the Saints
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