Atlanta needs Super Bowl win

Graham Cattanach

Atlanta sports teams kinda suck.

Not counting the Atlanta Chiefs’ North American Soccer League championship in 1968, the ‘95 Braves are the only major Atlanta professional sports team to win a championship.

Compared to the most dominant sports cities, like Boston’s 35 combined titles, Atlanta’s performance in professional sports is almost pathetic.

Now I know this is bad, like really bad, but this year the Falcons have an excellent chance to finally end Atlanta’s title drought. With the Super Bowl coming up this Sunday, Atlanta fans can almost taste the Lombardi trophy.

Matt Ryan is on MVP form this season, throwing for the second most yards in the league and having the highest overall quarterback rating of 117.1.

Although the Falcons are this close to a championship, Atlanta fans have a right to be hesitant. The Atlanta Braves won just one of five World Series appearances in the 90s, and the Falcons lost their only Super Bowl appearance to the Denver Broncos in the ‘98-99 season.

The ‘16-17 Falcons on the other hand have the best chance the city has ever seen to finally get another title. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones headline an explosive offense that scored the seventh most points in NFL history and have kept up this incredible offensive performance throughout the postseason.

This season Matt Ryan passed for 4,944 yards, second in the league, as well as 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions over 16 games.

The Falcons also have the league’s best receiver in Julio Jones who put up a league second best 1,409 yards receiving while still missing two games.

The offense isn’t the only thing that gives the Falcons a legitimate chance either. The Dirty Birds have a defense full of young and skilled players like 24-year-old linebacker Vic Beasley Jr., who lead the league with 15.5 sacks, as well as seasoned veterans like 36-year-old Dwight Freeney who was plenty of Super Bowl experience.

The Falcons brought in veteran Dwight Freeney to help mentor the young defense. Freeney led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl in 2007.

On top of this combination of young talent and experienced leaders, the defense is coached by head coach Dan Quinn, the mastermind of the infamous Seattle “Legion of Boom” that choked out opponents and held the Denver Broncos to just eight points in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The game this Sunday won’t be easy, as the Falcons are coming up against the NFL superpower the New England Patriots, who have been to six Super Bowls and won four under the infamous head coach/quarterback duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

The Patriots have an extremely well-rounded team, putting up the fourth best total offense in the NFL despite Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension, as well as the eighth best total defense in the league.

What will ultimately be the result of the game? For the Patriots to have a chance, their defense will have to stop the Falcons’ high-powered offense, and if the Falcons want to walk home with the Lombardi trophy, their young stars will need to not crack under the pressure of the biggest game of their lives.

Either way the game goes, every Atlanta sports fan will be glued to their TV hoping that Feb. 5 2017 will be remembered as the day the Falcons finally won their first Super Bowl.


Photos courtesy of Keith Allison and Jeffrey Beall via Creative Commons

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