Editor Note: the wild playoff win this weekend over the Seattle Seahawks inspired long-time Altanta Falcons fan Alex Webster to write this about the great Falcons win:
I have been a Falcons fan since the early 70's when my dad would take me to see them perpetually lose in the old Atlanta Fulton County baseball stadium. You had to be a long time Falcon fan watching the Falcons/Seahawks last Sunday to experience the full scope of the emotional swing from the pride we felt at the end of the first half (which lasted until Atlanta began to blow their 27-7 fourth quarter lead) to the lump in the throat when Atlanta fell behind for the first time in the game with only 31 seconds left, then back again.
By the end of the first half I had this cocky feeling that the Falcons were finally going to earn the respect that has eluded this team in most of the NFL world despite their regular season record. It looked to be a sure bet that the Falcons were going to finally exorcize the demons that have afflicted them during the playoffs ever since Mike Smith and Matt Ryan rode in with their shining armor that, until now, would tarnish as soon as post season play began. This righteous feeling began to sour in the fourth quarter.
When the Seahawks took the lead, Falcons fans everywhere were united by the collective sense of doom and the feeling of "oh no - here we go again" that was pervasive throughout the living rooms and sports bars all over Atlanta (not to mention inside the Georgia Dome). Thoughts of a new head coach began dancing in most Falcons fans heads.
Then a bright glimmer of hope swept in as we watched Matty Ice demonstrate a newly acquired ability to live up to his regular season moniker in a playoff game by completing two passes in two plays to put the Falcons in FG range with eight seconds on the clock and watched Matt Bryant walk on to the field with a chance to win the game! But then our hearts fell through the bottom of our feet when we watched the kick sail wide right (not even close actually). But wait - it seems that Pete Carroll in his infinite wisdom, followed the traditional "ice the kicker" logic and called a timeout right before the snap. Replays show him debating whether he should do so - talking on the headset and discussing it - which resulted in waiting till the last second. So Bryant got a practice kick then a second chance (after correcting his timing and trajectory) at being the hero instead of the goat.
Euphoria!!!!! Nothing short. Our hearts jumped off the ground below our feet and back into our chest where it swelled so big it then burst out of our chest with joy. Many Atlanta fans then achieved a new personal best vertical leap. Tears of despair became tears of joy. I can't recall any time in my life when I felt so low only to be catapulted so high into the air emotionally in a matter of less than a two minute span of time. It was an experience shared by many hundreds of thousands of long time Falcons fans. That monkey (can't win in playoffs) was hanging on till the bitter/joyous end and did NOT want to let go but it's finally off the Falcons backs! There is a God and he has finally shown mercy on the city of Atlanta! Relief! No more monkeys - no more demons. Look out 49ers!!!!
Alex, Thanks so much for sharing with us. The ups and downs and peaks and valleys of this game were definitely a rollercoaster of emotions. After the brutal losses at Green Bay and New York it's hard to put this game behind us, as fans, and start looking towards the 49ers.