The Atlanta Falcons season came to an abrubt end Saturday night in Atlanta. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers proved to be too much for the number one seeded Falcons to handle in the Georgia Dome in front of the loudest audience the Falcons have witnessed in years. While Saturday nights uninspired performance and disappointing result may have left Atlantans with a bitter 'what could've been' taste in their mouths, there is hope following another great season and as head coach Mike Smith said, "The Sky has not fallen."
For the third straight season, the Falcons ended the regular season with a winning record. That means every year that Mike Smith and star quarterback Matt Ryan have been in Atlanta, they've won more than they've lost. This is big news, as its never happened previously in franchise history. A playoff win has eluded the team, but there's no doubt the Falcons are flying in the right direction and have the right people leading them.
For the first time, the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons have the most players playing the game's most sought-after event, the NFL Pro Bowl. This year in Hawaii, the following Falcons will be leading the NFC team and Mike Smith will be coaching:
Atlanta Falcons Pro-Bowling in Hawaii:
- Matt Ryan
- Michael Turner
- Roddy White
- Tony Gonzalez
- Eric Weems
- Ovie Mughelli
- John Abraham
This talented list is full of high class veterans (Gonzalez, Abraham) as well as young budding stars (Ryan, Weems). Although some talent on the roster may be lost due to retirements and/or league trades, the Falcons seem to have plenty of talent to compete in the League for years to come.
More optimism resides even higher up the Falcon's ladder -- Owner Arthur Blank and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. These two leaders have proven to be dedicated to winning at all costs and fans can fully trust the decisions they make for the organization - on and off the field.
As a Falcon fan, it was difficult to watch the lousy performance Saturday night. It was even more difficult to accept that game as the final perfomance in an otherwise beautiful season. However, I have no doubt that lessons will be learned, changes made, and the Falcons will be back and hungrier than ever in September.