Welcome back to continuing coverage of me throttling the neck of “The Dirty Bird”. In this follow-up (link to previous article), I would like to resurrect the bird, although I would like to give him a better name. In plain words, the Falcons organization has a new identity, and it is time that we as fans use the right labels and displays to reflect that. The old “Dirty” has to go. “Dirty”, when applied to the Atlanta Falcons, has had a connotation of lawless, lewd, or self-defeating behavior. While I personally value all of these qualities, I much prefer to see them in rappers, rock stars, and Charlie Sheen. I hate to see them in my football team because the competition is too fierce to produce a “Dirty” champion at the professional or even collegiate level. As I said in part one, the “Dirty Birds” were a team satisfied with a fortunate Super Bowl berth. I am not on that team. I am on the team of Matt Ryan, Mike Smith, Thomas Dimitroff, and Arthur Blank. We hunger for the Lombardi Trophy and we will rip the throats out of those who stand against us! That’s right, and I’m speaking on behalf of all five of us.
So where do we go from here? We are vicious, but we are not dirty, and in fact, we are beautiful. Fortunately, for Falcons fans, our mascot embodies the perfect compromise.
The falcon is a bird of prey on a freakish level. It can fly at over 200 mph, diving in your general direction, and then, at the very last instant, it can change its flight path dramatically and gouge out your eye with one of its large talons. Do you think it is hard to swat a housefly? That turd-gobbler is capable of bursting to 15 mph when threatened. Scientists recently clocked the falcon at 242 mph. It is the fastest living thing, period.
What will you do when the Falcon decides that your eyeball would look good on his thumb talon? You should be very vigilant. Try to detect the Falcon before he strikes. It will be hard for he is not large. You could perhaps spot him at 50 or 100 yards. The problem for you is that when you see him from that distance, he can see you as though he were five or ten yards away. His visual acuity is at least ten times greater than yours. Yet, you still feel secure. The falcon is weak compared to you. You have the strength of a Chicago Bear, a Detroit Lion, or a Tennessee Titan. Ha-ha-ha! The Falcon laughs at your strength. What good is your strength when you have no eyes? The Falcon will strip every inch of your flesh if it takes from August to February.
You never even considered it, but in the UFC of NFL mascots, the Falcon wins (don’t try to argue for the Chargers, I have that one COVERED…. $#*@ – a charger is defined as something used to charge batteries, a war horse, or a decorative platter – if you want to ignore the definition and focus on the bolt symbol, then in order for a lightning bolt to compete in the UFC of NFL mascots, it must have a will of its own, which is of course, one absurdity heaped upon another). The falcon is at the apex of the food chain, meaning it has no known predators, including man. If you are considering hunting one, leave the shotgun at home. Napalm is a better option, but the falcon would probably escape that as well. You guessed it – to kill a falcon you will probably have to exercise the nuclear option.
Therefore, my point is that, once you understand the falcon’s alpha dominance, you do not have to make up silly nicknames for it to be a special mascot. I say that we give it a fierce nickname that reflects the vicious glory of the animal. The falcon is the world’s most widespread bird of prey, or raptor (no, raptors are not eight foot tall genius dinosaurs that made Jeff Goldblum speak in choppy sentences in the nineties – don’t tell Toronto, but that was pure Hollywood). Raptor is from the same Latin root as the words rape and rapacious. So why don’t we build on the word raptor for a fun nickname? How about the Red and Black Raptors? That is so simple, why didn’t I think of that? Even more fierce, is Black Raptors, which kind of sounds like black rappers, which may or may not be a good thing. You decide. The Ravens cannot call themselves that because they are classified as scavengers, not raptors. They are stout birds, but pussies compared to falcons. I think that will suffice. Let us focus on the fierceness of the raptor rather than the dirtiness of the bird, whatever that was. Now, let us build on the “Raptor Revolution”.
One fun motto for the Raptor Revolution can harken back to Napoleon Dynamite who asked, “Do the chickens have large talons?” Unfortunately for Napoleon, the question was never answered because the farmer didn’t know what a “talon” was. For our motto, we can answer his question. “We Have Large Talons” can be a fun slogan for fans of the Red and Black Raptors.
But wait, there’s more!!! Instead of doing the stupid “dirty bird” dance, you can show your Falcons pride by “showing your talons”. To do so, simply extend your thumb, index, and middle fingers while clenching the other two (see pic above – it is really made of four talons, but the shape is three-pronged). You can do it palm facing out like you are snatching prey. Try it – suddenly you are doing it repeatedly like the “tomahawk chop”! My dream is a sea of fans all doing the “talon clench” in unison (I considered calling it the “talon snatch” but restrained myself). If you really want to get freaky, belt out your best high-pitched “caw” as you strike at the air.
But that is not all you get!!! To be even more aggressive, fully extend all three talons and face the palm inward, like you are “flicking the bird”. Do this while making a tough face, and you are “flicking the raptor”. I don’t know about you, but when I do it with my hand and face, it looks pretty fierce.
“Flicking the raptor” will serve three purposes. First, it will serve as the Falcons fan’s universal response to chants of “Who Dat” (hopefully, at least one person will get stabbed because of this). Second, it is a way to wake up fellow Falcon fans who are not participating in the “Raptor Revolution”. If you see someone occupying a dome seat who is not yelling and cheering like their hair is on fire, perhaps you should “give them the talons” in a serious yet encouraging way. Finally, “showing your talons” will be a way for fans to salute one another in any situation. For example, when I wear my Falcons hats and t-shirts in public, I would like to have a way to say hi to others who are wearing Falcons gear. Up until now, I usually just said “Go Falcons” which made me feel a little proud but a lot awkward. For some reason, I think it would be much smoother to flash my talons at my fellow fan, and if he/she is not paying attention, I will demand it with a fierce “Caw!” I leave you with some sounds and images of the way the “Raptor Revolution” feels about the other 31 NFL franchises. Finally, if you still doubt the alpha dominance of the falcon, go here.