Lifetime Falcons Fan Can't Believe What I'm Writing

Jonathan CooperContributor ISeptember 24, 2009

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes upfield against the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on September 20, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Before I begin my first article on Bleacher Report, let me define who I am - A Falcon Fan. If you've seen Fever Pitch with Jimmy Fallon, it could serve as an autobiography on me as a long-time suffering Falcons fan. Someone I know actually scheduled a wedding on opening weekend for the Falcons in New Jersey. I had to wake up my beautiful wife and seven-month old baby at 5 a.m. so we could catch a 7 a.m. flight and I made it to the Georgia Dome by 11, two hours before kickoff (still needed time for tailgating). I have not missed a home game in 25 years and Sundays revolve around a Falcons game. My wife will tell you I'm a freak on all sports, but Falcons top the list. 

I'm also a realist which is why I can't believe I'm writing that the Falcons MAY beat the New England Patriots on Sunday in Foxboro. When the schedules were released, I was praying the Falcons could win those first two home games because this was a loss, no matter how optimistic one is. The Falcons have beat two playoff teams, the Dolphins and Panthers, by comfortable margins. And as a critical judge of my favorite team, I can tell you the Falcons didn't play very well in either game. Not that I can complain after never posting back-to-back winning season, but Matt Ryan can get better. Eventually, Tony Gonzalez won't have to be Superman to catch his passes and Michael Turner and the running game will be more efficient. OK, so Chad Pennington and Jake Delhomme don't really test a defense, but last time I checked, if you score every time, you win more than you lose (see the great Colts teams from the past 10 years or the Minnesota Vikings with Culpepper and Moss). This isn't a game the Falcons "have" to win heading into a bye, but it sure is a game we "want" to win. Do the Patriots still scare me? Yes, yes and yes. But other than the difference in QB which is closing by the day, I don't see many advantages for New England. OK, maybe Randy Moss and Wes Welker top Roddy White and Michael Jenkins, but add in Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner, and I'll take the Falcons offense. Of course, there's still the name on the jersey - The New England Patriots and an Atlanta Falcons uniform has no reason to go into Foxboro and win. So I'm not telling you to risk your paycheck on a Falcons team that can't stop the passing game, but I'm telling you there's a chance. And for long-time suffering Falcons fan, I can't ask for anything better.