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  • Writer's pictureEvan Woods

The Falcons Don't Suck, They're Cursed

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

It should pain me to write this article. As an Atlanta Falcon fan for 24 years and season ticket holder for many years of those years, I should be gut-wrenched after the abomination of execution at the end of the the week 2 match up with the Cowgirls, and the pitiful defensive meltdown against the Bears in week 3. But I’m not. The results of these games came as no surprise to me, ¹ even though no other team in the last 20 seasons has blown two 15-point, 4th quarter leads in the same season - let alone in back to back games, according to ESPN's Field Yates. Maybe I’m jaded, maybe I’ve become desensitized to egregious football, who knows. But, as any Falcon fan can tell you, we are used to our perpetually mediocre team letting season altering games slip through our fingers. We have the talent on both sides of the ball, and playoff expectations every year. But regardless of all the talent and pedigree assembled on the roster throughout the better part of the past two decades, the Dirty Birds will always do what they do best: break our hearts. Of course there are many theories for this constant disappointment, and all of them very well many be validated. However, when logically thinking about it - taking into consideration the composition of the team and how much potential they have, I can only come to one conclusion: the Atlanta Falcons are cursed.

Now, I’m not necessarily a superstitious person, but, in the words of Michael Scott, I am a little 'stitious'. I get blaming the Falcons constant blunders on a curse could be considered a cop-out, but hear me out. Let me take you back 15 years. The year is 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The year our gulf coast line was destroyed by the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. The citizens of the Big Easy proved to be some of the most resilient people after havoc had been wreaked on their home. One factor that gave these displaced citizens hope was their home town Saints. If you know anything about the Ragin’ Cajuns, you know they LOVE their Saints, and as their football team goes, so does the city itself. Not only did the Mercedes Benz Superdome provide a safe haven for those seeking refuge during the aftermath of this catastrophic natural disaster, but it also served as the physical embodiment of the spirit of the people of New Orleans - setting the stage for games hosted there for years to come. Fast forward to September 25th, 2006 - the first Saints’ home game in the Superdome following the destruction of their city.  The Falcons came into town off a solid start to the season with a 2-1 record to face the division rival Saints who were 3-0 on the season. Suffice it to say, the game did not go as well as the Falcons had hoped. There was something in the air that night which was a precursor for what was to come. After Michael Vick fumbled the ball out of bounds on third down of their opening drive, the Falcons were forced to punt. The very next play, just three minutes into the game, would be the birth of the curse that would plague the Falcons for years to come.  ² The play started off as any normal fourth down until the Saints' Steve Gleason broke through the line and blocked a Michael Koenen punt, resulting in a Curtis DeLoatch scoop and score for the first touchdown of the game. Here's a refresher - Falcons fans, look away. The Saints went on to score one more touchdown and kick two field goals before half time, only to be answered by a single field goal from the Falcons. At halftime, the score was 20-3 in favor of New Orleans. Unfortunately for the Falcons, the emotional turns did not end there.

Typically, halftime entertainment is rather forgettable in any NFL game other than the Super Bowl; however, this performance was an exception to that rule. While the teams were in their locker rooms, Green Day and U2 came out to center stage to deliver a legendary performance of "The Saints are Coming", based on Woody Guthrie's "The House of the Rising Sun", that rocked the world and fueled the fire for the Saints and their fans. After half time, the results were more of the same with the Falcons being held scoreless and the game ending 23-3 with the Saints winning. ³ The Saints went on the win NFC South with a 10-6 record that year, ⁴ while the Falcons, who started the season off with high hopes, ended with a pedestrian 7-9 record.  ⁴ Since this franchise defining defeat in 2006, the Falcons have recorded a 52% win percentage (at the time of this article), complied of underachieving seasons and head scratching moments - most notably, the meme-worthy 28-3 blown lead against the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. ³ For sake of comparison, since that Week 4 victory against the Falcons, the Saints went on to win 61% of their games (including Super Bowl XLIV) ⁵ while beating the Falcons 18 times out of their next 27 meetings. 

I realize I may be harping on the ‘Aints too much for an article based on the Falcons sucking. But I believe that there is some correlation here. Stay with me here, because the reason for all of the turmoil the Falcons have faced has an explanation, albeit one that may be hard for some to believe. My theory is that the ghost of Marie Leveau, a legendary Louisianan practitioner of dark magic, unleashed her New Orleans Voodoo (it’s a real thing, look it up) on the unfortunate Falcons in order to ensure the rebuild of not only the Saints, but the entire city of New Orleans. The Birds were a blood sacrifice for the greater good of the bayou, and honestly I can understand it given their storied rivalry. With all of the star power the Falcons possess, it makes sense that it must be something mystical that is hampering their prospects of success.  The Falcons have legitimate stars on their team. Matt Ryan won the 2016 NFL MVP and is a Hall of Famer in my book has the stats to back it up (and I’m willing to die on that hill).⁶ Julio Jones has arguably been the best wide receiver in the league for the past several seasons, and in 2018 he became the fastest player ever to reach 12,000 receiving yards. One would think that these stars, coupled with other great defensive players like Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones, and Keanu Neal, would indicate the Falcons' franchise is on the verge of something special. But after years of disappointment, fans have been left to be nothing but discouraged.  Sure, the most obvious (and maybe more reasonable) explanation for the consistent, monumental let downs for the Falcons is Head Coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff. ⁷ Publisher Dave Sim once said, “There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, but one should always make new ones. Repeating mistakes is a hallmark of dim consciousness.” By this sentiment, the Falcons organization is the definition of dim consciousness. They never address their problems on the offensive line, and God forbid they try to fortify their defense around the studs they already have. So what’s the logical thing for Owner Arthur Blank to do? Give the decision makers the boot - which debatably should have been done years ago. The fans are anxious for this decision to be made. They have been calling for Quinn's job ever since the embarrassing defeat to the Patriots a few years back, and those and grumblings have turned into roars over the past seasons. To quote my father, "DQ needs to start grabbing boxes out behind the liquor store to be put his stuff in". You may be right about that one, Dad.


But the question still remains: would this solve anything? Can bringing in a new play caller and roster architect actually lift the bad juju that has infected the organization for all these years? My answer to that question is a resounding no. Sure, the departure of Quinn and Dimitroff is on the horizon and probably necessary, but who would you trust to fill their vacancy? It would be like trying to fix a torn ACL with a band-aid. The problem is rooted deeper than the coaching staff and front office. I’m not sure how many prayers and Hail Marry’s will satisfy the angry spirts, but what I do know is that the Falcons will always be doomed to mediocrity unless they experience some sort of divine intervention.



 

Sources:

¹ Yates, Field (@FieldYates) “Over the last 20 seasons, no team has blown multiple 15-point fourth quarters leads in a single season. The Falcons just did it in back-to-back weeks.” 9/27/2020, 4:29pm. Tweet.


² “Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints - September 25th, 2006.” Pro, www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200609250nor.htm.


³ “New Orleans Saints Team Encyclopedia.” Pro, www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nor/.


⁴ “Atlanta Falcons Team Encyclopedia.” Pro, www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/atl/.


⁵ John Troan. New Orleans Saints History, 1 May 2020, www.jt- sw.com/football/pro/teams.nsf/histories/saints.

⁶ Will McFadden. “Julio Jones Surpasses Jerry Rice as Fastest Player to 12,000 Receiving Yards.” Falcons Home, 23 Dec. 2019, www.atlantafalcons.com/news/julio-jones-surpasses-jerry-rice-as-fastest-player-to-12-000-receiving-yards.


⁷ Dave Sim. “A Quote by Dave Sim.” Goodreads, Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/quotes/232429-there-is-nothing-wrong-with-making-mistakes-but-one-should.





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