In the late summer of 2003, the Atlanta Falcons watched as Michael Vick went down in a meaningless preseason dress rehearsal against the Carolina Panthers. Vick had set the league on fire that previous season and this next one was supposed to be Atlanta’s year.
The team had legitimate Super Bowl expectations and they were going to do it with the most exciting QB in the league. Well, that dream was snuffed out one particularly hot August night, and the city of Atlanta was plunged into heavy mourning for a season that would never be.
Ever the eternal optimist I believed in Vick’s replacement to get the job done and carry a talented roster into the playoffs. Despite the lack of Super Bowl aspirations fans were still searching for a reason to believe this team could still make the playoffs. That hope came in the form of Vick’s backup Doug Johnson.
Of course, Michael Vick’s replacement did not save the day. Instead, Johnson went 1-7 and quickly destroyed any last hope that the 2003 Atlanta Falcons could become the Cindarella story we were hoping for.
The point here is belief, a belief every fanbase loves to find and hold onto heading into a season. Finding a way to convince themselves this is their year no matter how little truth may be in that sentiment.
Welcome to Atlanta in the summer of 2022, where people are rushing to write off the team’s chances before a single meaningful snap has been played. There are three clear reasons to approach this season with optimism no matter how the season may look.