The Atlanta Falcons are in the Super Bowl. Just let those eight words sink in for a minute.
The Atlanta Falcons are in the Super Bowl.
See how crazy that is?
It’s like suddenly reading that U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-GA 1st, said something like "Obamacare is the greatest thing there ever was," or somebody from Richmond Hill City Council up and told a builder, "Go away, we’ve got too many houses already."
Crazy. Never happen.
And then it happens. The Atlanta Falcons are in the Super Bowl.
They’re playing it somewhere this Sunday, in case you didn’t know. The Pembroke Mafia already has their picks in, too, and our esteemed leader B.J. Clark will adjudge a winner from amongst our ranks somehow and let me know after the event, which I hear is pretty big, though I probably won’t watch. The commercials get on my nerves.
It is, however, worth noting that all but one members of the Pembroke Mafia Football League is picking Atlanta, which is probably the only thing crazier than Atlanta actually being in the Super Bowl. The only way the Patriots lose is if Tom Brady gets arrested the morning of the game for tweeting something bad about President Donald Trump’s hair or duct taping Roger Goodell to the roof of NRG Stadium. Naked.
All that said, The Atlanta Falcons are in the Super Bowl. OMG. LOL. OMG.
Naturally, we’ve got Atlanta Falcons fans coming out of closets from here to St. Mary’s to Athens to Carrollton to other parts of Georgia, like Akron.
People who wouldn’t know the Dirty Bird from Gov. Nathan Deal, who was, as we all know, once known as "Disco Deal" before he became "Let’s Make a Deal Deal" in his days in Congress, are boogying down in Rise Up T-shirts like they were born next door to Tommy Nobis and had Steve Bartowski and William Andrews over for dinner twice a week.
This is because there are no greater front-runners on the planet than NFL fans in the South – largely because most NFL fans in the South are actually from somewhere like Ohio or Chicago or some other cold-weather state where ears get frostbitten and people honk through their nose instead of talk. Their college teams usually aren’t all that good, so they go about rooting for the Bears or Steelers or Patriots or Giants, then suddenly the Falcons are in the Super Bowl and the next thing you know, they’re fourth-cousins to Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank, a native New Yorker and Dracula lookalike who somehow got Georgia taxpayers to build him a new stadium after taxpayers already paid for the one he’s leaving behind.
But I am being unfair. Because in actuality, there are a lot of Atlanta Falcons fans I know who have been there through thick and thin, mostly thin. One is Mrs. Linda "Woodie" Hansford, one of my favorite people of all time. She told me the Falcons will kick the Patriot’s rear end. I made that up, but I know she’s thinking it.
Another is Mrs. Wendy Bolton, who many folks in Bryan County know from her good work on behalf of the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation and Bryan County Bark Park.
Wendy is another grew-up, diehard Falcons fan and as a result went through all those years when the only thing less fun than the Falcons was the Braves of the ’80s.
Wendy shot me an email after the Pembroke Mafia announced its pickings last week, and I’m sharing with you"
"How nice that everybody except Mr. Clark picked the Falcons to win! It’s been a year for the underdogs (Cleveland, Chicago, Clemson) — I’m hoping desperately that trend continues. I was fortunate enough to attend both the first and last game in the Georgia Dome. The NFC Championship game last Sunday was an amazing experience. I finally got my voice back Thursday!
I’ve been a lifelong Falcons fan, which at times is quite painful, as they’ve broken my heart more times than I can even begin to recall. I remember their first Super Bowl appearance well. It was played the day before my fortieth birthday. To celebrate the big day, I wanted to go to Highlands NC, wanted it to snow and for my beloved Falcons to win. Two out of three of those came true but the one I wanted most did not. It’s been a long wait to finally make it back. We just have to win this time. I think it’s destiny — it’s the 51st Super Bowl and the Falcons 51st year as a team."
As for what Bolton will do on Super Bowl Sunday, well — I asked, assuming she, like many others I know, will have some sort of "do" to celebrate a day that has become for some odd reason almost a holiday.
Her response was perfect:
"I’ll be home. This is serious and I have to pay attention. Can’t be at a party with people that only watch for the commercials."
That’s what I’m talking about. But just to be sure, I uttered the two words — via email — that every hardcore Falcons fan must dread to hear right about now.
"Those are two very painful words — I cringed when I read them. I’ve thought recently about Atlanta’s first Super Bowl in 1999 how a moment of bad judgment cost us the game. He went from being awarded the Athlete’s in Action Bart Starr award to being arrested and thrown in jail all within a 24 hour time period. Let’s hope the Falcons keep their eyes on the prize this time!"
For Wendy’s sake, and for Woodie’s, and for all those long suffering Falcons’ fans out there who actually really do care, the next crazy sentence I hope gets written will be this one:
The Falcons win the Super Bowl. Only six crazy words, but we’re already in the realm of crazy now, so let’s finish the drill. Rise up and hunker down, you hairy Falcons.