Falcons' Arthur Blank Tests Positive for COVID-19, Will Miss 1st Game as Owner

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2022

Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank watches his players warm up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank will miss his first game as the team's owner on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19, per the team.

According to that announcement, "Blank is doing well and is in great spirits, experiencing only mild symptoms at this time. Blank is fully vaccinated and has received his booster shot, and encourages others to do so."

Blank, 79, has owned the Falcons since 2002. In that time, the team has made eight playoff appearances and one Super Bowl berth, famously losing to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI after blowing a 28-3 lead. 

He also owns the MLS' Atlanta United and co-founded Home Depot in 1978. 

The Falcons (7-9), who have already been eliminated from playoff contention this season, will face the New Orleans Saints (8-8) on Sunday. The Saints could still make the postseason with a win and a San Francisco 49ers loss. 

While the Falcons appear to be in need of a rebuild around young players like rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, don't expect to see the team move on from veteran quarterback Matt Ryan this offseason:

Chris Mortensen @mortreport

Anyone trying to move Matt Ryan to Pittsburgh as Ben Roethlisberger’s successor can put that speculation to rest. Falcons coach Arthur Smith wanted Ryan to return when he took the job & he has made it clear to owner Arthur Blank and GM Terry Fontenot that Ryan is his QB for 2022

The direction Blank takes the Falcons in the future remains to be seen. In the present, he'll miss his first game as team owner while he quarantines. 

The coronavirus pandemic remains a storyline for NFL teams as the omicron variant has come to the forefront in the winter months. Between Dec. 1-27, the league put 521 players on its reserve/COVID-19 list. In all of last season, 428 players went on that list.