Atlanta Falcons fans and media alike have been irritated for years about the “Falcons filter”. However, when looking around the league over the last decade, that filter has kept the Falcons from committing some embarrassing moments on and off the field unlike their NFL counterparts.
When you look around the league, what do you see? An owner facing charges after a “special massage”. A QB who apparently threw a game years back out of spite and has players speaking out against him and his actions in and out of the huddle. Another QB who doesn’t play well with others and holds grudges from 2006 because he didn’t get drafted as high as he thought he deserved. Simply put, you see widespread dysfunction. Organizations that can’t seem to get out of their own way. Then you look at the falcons. (Crickets) you hear nothing.
Outside of fans being loud, as fans will be, there is no major drama within the front office or the locker room. Ever since Bobby Petrino left us in the middle of the night for a less attractive situation, the Falcons have put the real athletes of Atlanta mentality behind them. The locker room is stable. They have a QB that is respected by his peers and doesn’t need to be the center of attention, an owner who truly loves his city and players who understand the dynamic of being a team.
This doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a fair share of drama. The point is, it’s behind them. For over a decade now, this organization has found a formula for cohesion among players and a balance between coaches and star athletes.
These things might seem insignificant, but when you look at what dysfunction can do to a team you realize, it is one of the most important aspects of an organization. It has a direct correlation with how successful you will be. In 2007, the year Petrino left, the Falcons finished an abysmal 4-12. In the following 11 seasons including last year, the Falcons have had only three seasons with a losing record and six playoff appearances.
As fans, it’s easy to look at the missed opportunities. In poker, they say you remember the hands you lose more than the ones you win. That saying is true for football as well. It is easier to remember the 2013 NFC championship game and how much that stung. It’s easier to recall bad plays that could have turned a failed drive into a game winner.
However, people rarely sit back and look at the bigger picture and see the fact that despite the hard losses and bad beats, this team over the last decade has competed at the highest of levels and is easily a top 10 team in the league year in and year out. So this off-season, take a second to be grateful for an organization that stays out of the headlines because more times than not, no news is good news.