Atlanta Falcons Fans, Rest of City Don’t Need Your Pity America

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) leaves the field after being defeated by the New England Patriots 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) leaves the field after being defeated by the New England Patriots 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Falcons may have lost a 25-point lead in Super Bowl 51, but stop throwing your pity and pathos towards the city’s sports fans, America.

America was hoping the Atlanta Falcons would unseat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51 and send them skulking back to the northeast with a stinging defeat.

Sorry, America. It just wasn’t meant to be. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick proved once again why they are what they are, and that the Patriots are just a notch above pretty much everyone else in the NFL.

Yes, it hurts. Yes, it’s going to take some time for Atlanta fans to get over the loss, but get over it we will.

So, please. Don’t pity us. Don’t feel sorry for us, but most of all…don’t mock us.

Atlanta is not a miserable sports town. It is not a town who abandons their teams. And despite what the headlines and talking heads may have you believe, it’s not a town without success in sports.

“But Atlanta only has one professional sports championship in 168 total seasons” you say?

This isn’t new information or anything that true fans are concerned about. It’s also not an exclusive club. Atlanta is one of 10 North American cities who have (or had) professional teams with only one title, and there 12 more with precisely zero titles.

We’ve had sports success in Atlanta, and a lot of it. It hasn’t always worked out to be a championship, but we’ve enjoyed the rides.

Colleague and fellow Atlanta radio personality

John Fricke

summed it up nicely in a Facebook post:

You want to feel sorry for and/or make fun of someone? Send those packages to Cleveland, Ohio. We’re just fine in Atlanta.

Why Cleveland? Because that’s where the real suffering is, despite what LeBron James might have to say about it.

In the modern professional sports era of the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Championship and Stanley Cup, Atlanta has had a pretty good showing. No, not as good as New York, Boston, Los Angeles or Chicago (the only four American cities who can brag modern day championships in all four major sports), but still respectable.

Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons /

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Braves have hung banners for two wild card berths, 17 division titles, five World Series Appearances and one World Championship in 1995.

The Indians? One wild card berth, eight division titles and two World Series losses.

The Atlanta Falcons have totaled 13 playoff appearances including six division championships and two trips to the Super Bowl.

The Browns? 13 playoff appearances including six division championships (before the team pulled up stakes and moved to Baltimore). The new incarnation of the Browns has only managed a single wild card berth since 1995 – a 2003 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The NHL? Atlanta has had two monetarily mismanaged teams – Flames and Thrashers – for a total of 20 seasons who left for Canada despite decent fan support.

Cleveland had a team – the Barons – who, in 1978, ended up merging with the then-Minnesota North Stars after only two seasons. The Barons remain the last franchise who were part of the four major North American professional sports leagues to completely cease operations.

The Hawks?

OK Cleveland, you have us there. The Cavs have more conference titles (3) and championships (1) than Atlanta. But with five division titles and a current string of nine straight years in the playoffs (and a tenth on the way), Atlanta fans are pretty happy with the direction of the team.

So you see, things aren’t so bad in Atlanta. Even when we our teams lose, we support them.

The Braves – who just finished one of the worst seasons in nearly three decades – still managed to draw 2.1 million fans to Turner Field. The World Series runner-up Indians only drew 1.6 million home fans.

The Falcons continued to fill the Georgia Dome to near capacity every season, win or lose, while the Browns hover around 90 percent capacity year in and out.

All of Atlanta’s sports teams continue to draw big crowds and fill stadiums despite the fact that  45 percent of metro Atlanta’s 5.7 million residents are comprised of transplants from other states and cities.

Atlanta fans support their teams and love their teams, regardless of any false narrative that may come from those who have barely set foot outside of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

So go feel sorry for Cleveland…or Seattle…or possibly Charlotte…or maybe even Houston. Go razz a few towns who have wallowed in misery without so much as sniffing a championship. We’re just fine here in the Peach State. The Super Bowl loss stings, but this too shall pass.