Sunday, September 07, 2008

Turner's field

"The Atlanta Falcons will go 16-0 this year."
- Josh Massey, September 4, 2008

You scoffed. You made fun. You called me a pathetic, ugly, unlikable loser. Which was a little harsh. However, the Atlanta Falcons - heretofore known as "we" - didn't listen. And we believed.

The Atlanta Falcons are now one-sixteenth of the way toward making my prediction come true. It's, like, basically a sure thing at this point.

In fact, I'm ready to rename the Georgia Dome this evening. I'm thinking Turner Field is an appropriate moniker after today's 220-yard rushing performance by Michael Turner (who single-handedly saved my fantasy team as well, after Tom Brady went down). I don't think that name is taken, but I can't be sure - the existence of any other Atlanta-based sports team officially disappeared from my brain at kickoff today.

"A liiiiiitle to the right..."

It's just nice to have the feeling, for the first time in years, that the team might not better off with me as its general manager. Although I like him as an owner, Arthur Blank and I have rarely agreed on personnel moves, all the way back to the firing of Dan Reeves as head coach. And in nearly every instance, I was eventually proven correct.

New GM Thomas Dimitroff is something different, however. I completely agreed with his signing of Turner, calling it "an exceptional move". And though I haven't been on-board with a few things since then (the selection of Ryan, for instance), I'm beginning to feel the team is actually in capable hands. Maybe, just maybe, I - with my zero professional football experience - might know less than the guy with Super Bowl rings on his fingers.

Ok, it's one game, I realize that. But Ryan and Turner could not have been more impressive. And I think I mean that literally. Maybe if one of them had given the Heimlich to a choking child at halftime, or stumbled onto a cure for AIDS during the two-minute warning. Other than that, however, I couldn't be more thrilled.

It looked like a team out there. Guys having fun, guys perhaps playing a bit above their heads, guys not worried about having to answer another dog-fighting question in the locker room. Sure, the opponent was the Detroit Lions, but hell, they won three more games than we did last year. We were underdogs, we won, and sometimes that's all that's needed to start something unexpected.

From here, we go to Tampa Bay, have Kansas City at home, and then go to Carolina. All are winnable. All are possible. And all will be afterthoughts once Matt Ryan hoists the Lombardi Trophy in February, having finished the first completely undefeated season since 1972.

16-0, baby. 16-0.

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