I was a nine year old kid when the Atlanta Falcons were introduced to the National Football league.
I followed them through six years before 1971 finally produced a winning season thanks to a tie
and number 60, Tommy Nobis. The offense was led by a quarterback named Berry, a rusher called cannonball Butler and wide out Ken Burrow. It wasn’t until 1978 to 1980 that the team became a playoff team and division winner with some national attention while being led by quarterback Steve Bartkowski, William Andrews and Alfred Jenkins. Bartkowski and Andrews led the offense
which was the most balanced the birds had in their fifteen years, but the Dallas Cowboys ruined
the January parties. The rest of the eighties decade saw running back Gerald Riggs carry some dismal
teams that went nowhere, and then in 1981 the Falcons regained some of the spotlight under a Jerry Glanville defense and a offense led by QB Chris Miller, receiver Andre Rison and running back Steve Broussard. They again sunk into some poor years while moving into the Georgia Dome.
In 1998 after two previous horrible years the team in their thirty third season pieced together on the back of Jamal Anderson and some steady play from QB Chris Chandler a Super Bowl appearance with a playoff game in Minnesota still rated as the teams best in my Birds book. The Bowl was lost when Darrien Gorden intercepted Chandler to stop a scoring drive in the third quarter that the Falcons couldn’t recover from.
Roller coaster seasons seemed to be Falcon make up with a 2002 wild card and a 2004 division crown
led by MikeVick and Warrick Dunn in the books but a tell tale sign of Alge Crumpler leading the team in receptions in 2004 explains early playoff exits and bring us to the hell of that 2007 disaster season,
and then as if on the wings of a peregrine, – a new era.
The up and down seasons ended, the Dimitroff, Smith and Ryan age of five consecutive winning seasons has produced two division titles and two wild card playoff appearances. Until last season we rode the rushing of Turner the Burner to victory as Ryan and Roddy White slowly emerged to stardom.
In 2012 the Falcons shed the predictable run first offense and with the addition of Julio and Tony took flight through the air for their success. New offensive coordinator Dirk chalked up the screen pass addition and with Ryan perfecting the no huddle the Falcons flew to the NFC Championship. The air show was a thing of beauty and never could the Birds be counted out of any game with the air strike ability they showed in 2012.
But in January we saw that one dimension, if it be on ground or through the air, can be tamed.
2013 brings hope of a Run and Gun offense that with any improved defense will take us to the second bowl
of our forty eight year history. The rushing game led by a revitalized Steven Jackson, a now veteran Jaquizz Rogers, a solid back up in Jason Snelling and a healthy Bradie Ewing can be a good offense in itself but with the air attack the Falcons showcase could be absolutely downright the very best balance the Atlanta Falcons have ever had on that side of the ball in my long fan history opinion. Jackson also improves the screen pass playbook as Ryan’s weapon arsenal is one that can match any team in the game.
A decent ground game can cast off being predictable, eat up clock that could have been so helpful last January, move the chains in short yardage and bring touchdowns instead of field goals in the red zone.
A decent rushing attack can even make the aerial game more dangerous and that would be Super indeed.
True fans know a rushing game can help a defense stay off the field and that is important.
The balance of such an offense thrown at opposing defenses will benefit a new offensive line that will be
the ignition to this explosive South division winner who can be the first to repeat that feat this year.
Run and Gun as One. It should be Fun. Perhaps it should read Run and Gun we hope spells Won.
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":