With so much to offer, why are the Atlanta Falcons not a destination for the NFL’s elite players? After 2016, it looked like things were changing, but here we sit in 2019 still wanting what we don’t have – a big name free agent to choose us.
There are two things that must preface this conversation – 1. In recent years, the Atlanta Falcons have had a slight cap issue and 2. we have no idea who the club has made offers to and been turned down by. The second area is what this conversation will be about.
Sitting around watching players force trades to crap cities really has me in my feelings today. I am not a native to Atlanta nor originally an Atlanta Falcons fan, matter of fact I grew up in Phoenix rooting for the 49ers because they were on my TV every week in the 1980’s. However, I have been here for most of the last 23 years and have become a true Falcons fan. Atlanta is a great city – great weather, beautiful city, lots to do and more importantly low taxes with very affordable housing.
So why is Atlanta and the “brotherhood” not a destination for the upper echelon NFL players? Many choose to live here when not in season, so why not stay and play? I think this question has been asked many times over and the answer is never quite clear.
- Quiet neighborhoods? Check
- Club scene? Check
- Strip Clubs? Best in the country, check.
- Contending Super bowl team? Check.
- Elite hall of fame QB? Check.
- Beautiful state of the art facilities? Check.
- Players coach? Check.
Seemingly, everything that a professional football player could ask for is right here in this city. Nearly 10 percent of the players currently on NFL rosters are from the state of Georgia, so why do they not want to come back home and help bring that elusive Lombardi trophy?
I can usually come up with answers to questions like this. Normally the coach, GM, owner or the city are awful, but even Cleveland is bringing in guys these days. I have racked my brain for days to come up with the answer and I cannot do it.
Maybe players really do think Atlanta is a bad sports town. Maybe they have watched the SNF, MNF and TNF games that have featured the Falcons and have seen the beautiful Mercedes-Benz Stadium more than half-empty, despite all tickets sold.
I argued for years on my local radio show that Atlanta was a great sports town. There are great groups of die-hards that show up and show out every week regardless of the outcome. I understand, that many fans feel like they were “priced out” with the new PSL’s, however, the secondary ticket market last year was more affordable than it has been in years and yet people still did not show up to games.
Sadly, the majority of this fan base only shows up when teams are winning. That last part is what sets other NFL cities apart from Atlanta. Fans in Philly, New Orleans, Seattle, Green Bay, Cleveland and Chicago whether the team is great or awful. The majority of our fan base shows up when the team is playing well.
All that said, with all the metrics that are available to teams, the Falcons have to figure out how to draw in the big free agency players and fans so that the best years of this franchise are ahead. A big start to that – locking up Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones and Keanu Neal long-term.