Undefeated, But STILL Not Respected

By: Kalyn Reece

The Atlanta Falcons joined the National Football League (NFL) in 1965.  In the 47 years since joining the NFL, they have won four division championships and have only appeared in one Super Bowl. Looking at these numbers over a long time span, it is not a great record. But in the last four years the franchise has shown much improvement.  Head Coach Mike Smith, paired with Quarterback Matt Ryan, has brought the team four consecutive winning seasons, setting a record for the first time in franchise history.  Throughout the past four years, the Atlanta Falcons have lead the National Football Conference (NFC) in number of wins. During this time, the Falcons have qualified for the playoffs three times, but lost in the first round each time.

Well, we could sit here and discuss the past, but I feel it most important to discuss the Atlanta Falcons current situation. Six games into their 2012 season, the Atlanta Falcons are undefeated and some even say they are living the charmed life. The Falcons started out their season against the Kansas City Chiefs, and it looked like an easy win for them. Their first game of the season in the Georgia Dome was against the Denver Broncos, where Peyton Manning threw three interceptions in the first quarter, which gave the Falcons a good lead and later led to their win. This game was also where Matt Ryan threw his 100th touchdown pass of his career. In week 3, the Atlanta Falcons blew the San Diego Chargers out of the water with their 27-3 win.

My personal favorite game of the season has been week 4’s game against the Carolina Panthers. After Carolina fumbled and recovered the ball, they punted leaving Atlanta at the 1. Matt Ryan threw an exceptional 59-yard pass to Roddy White, then four plays later, Matt Bryant kicked the winning 40-yard field goal with five seconds remaining in the game. The Atlanta Falcons won 30-28 win over the Panthers. In their next game, Atlanta handed the Washington Redskins their eighth consecutive home loss. This Sunday’s game six against the Oakland Raiders was a sloppy one, I will admit. Matt Ryan had a rough game this week throwing three interceptions. But Atlanta was brought back into the game when Asante Samuel returned an interception 79 yards to score a touchdown and put Atlanta ahead with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter. Just as soon as Atlanta fans began to celebrate, Oakland scored a touchdown giving them the lead. With the Falcons receiving the ball with 40 second remaining, Matt Ryan completed four passes to put Matt Bryant in kicking position. And wow, did Bryant kick! He kicked yet another game winning field goal, this time 55 yards with only one second left in the game.

With this impressive 6-0 record, The Atlanta Falcons woke up on Monday as the only unbeaten team in the NFL. Also, with this upcoming week being their bye week, this record will remain savored yet again. The Falcons are off to the best start in franchise history, which is quite an accomplishment. They also have a big lead in the NFC South, but all this aside, they are still somehow not receiving much attention or credit from the press and critics. Instead of gaining respect and being praised, people just keep stressing the point that “they haven’t won the Super Bowl yet.” I believe, had this of been Green Bay or New Orleans, people would be praising them due to their past success, but since the Falcons haven’t played well post-season, people are not respecting them. Atlanta knows that they will have to continue to play with heart and dedication and keep in mind that their record will only cause teams to play harder against them. But all this being said, I feel Atlanta has earned more respect than they are receiving, must I remind all they are the ONLY undefeated team in the NFL.




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