Why is Atlanta a Constant Underdog?


Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs off the field after the NFC divisional playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

As Falcons fans, we have to constantly beat back the doubters.  I do not believe that there is a single newscaster out there who actually believes the Falcons are a legitimate contender for a super bowl.  In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a few that think the Falcons are a legitimately good team.  But throw the Peyton Manning-led Broncos and they seem to fall head-over-heels in love with them.  Why is that?  I really want to look at the logic of this argument.

When people doubt the Falcons, they always turn to playoff results.  That’s not a bad place to turn, nor is it a meaningless realm of facts.  The Falcons have consistently come up short in the playoffs.  But to who?  As long as they have been led by Matt Ryan, Atlanta has not lost to a single team that didn’t win the super bowl, or almost won it.  The Cardinals and the 49ers both came very close to winning it all while the giants and Packers won it all.  In my honest opinion, the Falcons, as many teams do, have had bad luck with the first match of the playoffs.  But let me make this clear: I am NOT making any excuses for underperforming in the playoffs.  The only point I am making is that if in 2011, the Falcons played the lions instead of the giants, or if in 2010 they played the Seahawks instead of the Giants, or if in 2008, they played the Vikings and not the Cardinals, the “Matt Ryan can’t win a playoff game” argument wouldn’t really be there.  That doesn’t excuse the fact that they were not the best team in the playoffs, but they had the ability to beat many teams that were in the playoffs with them.

But what about Peyton Manning and his team that the sports media is oh-so in love with?  Since 2008, when the Falcons started making a name for themselves, Peyton Manning only won two playoff games including to a loss to the Chargers that didn’t make it any further.

I am not comparing Matt Ryan to Peyton Manning either, but in 2012, both of their stats looked very similar.  They had the same completion percentage, Ryan had more yards, almost as many touchdowns and a few more interceptions.  Not to mention, they got farther in the playoffs.

Both teams have two powerful teams they have to go through to get to the super bowl.  Atlanta has to beat out Seattle and San Francisco and the Broncos have Houston and New England.

But the only reason the Falcons had a 13-3 season last year was due to an easy schedule right?  Except I’m pretty sure the only team that had an easier schedule was Denver.

Oh, and Atlanta Beat Denver that year.

So can someone please tell me why it is so easy to see the Denver Broncos in the super bowl, but for some reason Atlanta making it is a pipe-dream?