The Ups and Downs of Being an Atlanta Falcons Fan

Wes HoltzclawCorrespondent IMay 16, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Fans of the Arizona Cardinals hold up a sign reading 'Dirty Birds' during the NFC Wild Card Game against the Atlanta Falcons on January 3, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

After 26 years of rooting for the Atlanta Falcons, I have come to the realization that most years, I am going to be disappointed more than proud. I am a fan of an organization that has never had back to back winning seasons, ever!

I have seen some great players play in the red, black, and white. I have also seen some horrible ones as well. I have seen some great draft-day gems and some of the most stupid trades an organization can make.

One way or another, over the years, my hopes have been sky high, only to have them driven into the ground.

They have drafted Scott Case, Bill Fralic, Deion "Prime time" Sanders, Brett Favre, Chuck Smith, Jamal Anderson, Kieth Brooking, Patrick Kerney, and most recently, Michael Jenkins and Roddy White.

The players I just mentioned were picks that actually panned out for the Falcons, except for Favre, who was traded the next year for the No. 19 pick in the 1992 draft.

This was one of the stupid trades that I spoke of previously. Everyone has seen what Favre has accomplished during his 17-year career, but the fact is, the Falcons actually got nothing in return, except a running back that would play sparingly for three years.

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Another stupid trade in my opinion was the 2001 draft-day trade with the San Diego Chargers.

In that trade the Falcons gave up the best return man they had in Tim Dwight, the No. 5 pick, a third-round pick and a second-round pick in the 2002 draft for the Chargers' No. 1 overall pick.

Even though the Falcons selected Michael Vick with that pick, the fact is the Chargers selected LaDanian Tomlinson with the No. 5 selection.

If you look back over both players' careers, Tomlinson, in my mind, would have been a better fit for the Falcons. Vick's off the field issues nearly destroyed the organization, and Tomlinson has been a model citizen in San Diego.

There have been several draft-day busts that have had us asking, "what are you thinking?" Players such as Shaun Collins, Steve Broussard, Bruce Pickens, Mike Pritchard,Tony Smith, Lincoln Kennedy, Devon Bush, T.J. Duckett, and DeAngelo Hall.

Yes, I consider Hall a bust because he gets burned more than a drunk redneck at the lake on the 4th of July.

With all that said, there is something about the organization over the last year or so that has me proud to be a Falcons fan.

All the moves the ownership and coaching staff have made over the last year have been for the good of the franchise. From the hiring of Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith to the free agent signings of Michael Turner and Mike Peterson.

The last two drafts that Dimitroff and Smith have been through resulted in the face of the franchise QB Matt Ryan, WR Harry Douglas, T Sam Baker, DT Peria Jerry, and DE Lawrence Sidbury Jr.

For some of these players, it's too early to tell if they are busts yet. But it seems that the Falcons are finally drafting players from legitimate universities that have talent and will contribute.

This year will be the year that the Falcons finally break through and win for a second year in row. I can feel it and makes me excited to know that we are building a team that can and will be competitive for a long time to come.

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