For most of my life my favorite NFL team was the Atlanta Falcons. I think you can clearly pick out the key word in that last sentence.
Since moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 2014, I have slowly transitioned to having my allegiance changed to the Tennessee Titans. My allegiance was confirmed yesterday while I was watching the Titans-Falcons game yesterday. I could sense I was pulling for the Titans.
The Falcons have been a disappointment. I think the final straw was the historic collapse in Super Bowl LI when the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to lose to the New England Patriots. I sensed my loyalties making the shift after that game.
There were some good moments – but there were many disappointments. Before the stunning failure in the Super Bowl, the lingering pain was from the 1980 NFC Divisional Playoff game when the Falcons folded against the Dallas Cowboys. Unlike SOME fans, I was never a “fair weather” fan. With the Falcons you couldn’t be one of those because there wasn’t much “fair weather” to enjoy anyway. There were many lean years but I hung in there with them.
There were a few happy moments such as the 1998 NFC Championship Game when the Falcons stunned the heavily-favored Minnesota Vikings for their first trip to the Super Bowl. I watched the game from the conference room at the office where I worked because my former in-laws were visiting that weekend and they did not want to watch a football game so I decided that I needed to “work” that day. When Morten Anderson kicked a 39-yard field goal in overtime to win the game, I was laid out in the floor overcome with emotions.
Another highlight that stands out in my memory was in a game between the Falcons and New Orleans Saints. It was in 1978 and the Falcons were down 17-13 with 19 seconds left in the game. Falcons’ quarterback Steve Bartkowski aired what they call a “Hail Mary pass” down to the end zone. The ball was tipped by Falcons receiver Wallace Francis into the hands of his teammate Alfred Jackson to give the Falcons a 20-17 victory. That win propelled the Falcons to their first playoff appearance.
I even wrote to the Falcons years ago asking them to please change their logo from that of the Falcon with its wings in a down swing motion. I thought that image set the tone for negativity. They eventually did alter the logo slightly a few years ago but I’m sure it had nothing to do with my suggestion.
So, now I have transitioned to the Tennessee Titans. Some would say it’s not much better. Probably not. The Titans have not been the model of consistency in recent years. They have a record of 34-50 since I have lived here and one playoff win. I needed a change.
I do still cheer for the Falcons when they are playing anyone else but it is no longer a dilemma when they play the Titans.
Yeah, I could probably do like most do and cheer for the Cowboys or Patriots. It’s always funny to see the Cowboy “fans” come out when the team is playing well as if they had always been a fan of the team. It’s easy to be a fan when a team is winning. It’s even tolerable when they have bad seasons but it’s agonizing when they are losers more than they are winners.
It’s a game. That’s all it is anyway. It isn’t going to matter which team I support.