Fond Falcons Memories, Rise Up!

Today brings back so many great memories from 5 decades of Atlanta Falcons football. I was lucky as a kid having a grandfather who gave me most of his Club Level season tickets every year to attend games at AFC Stadium with my dad and his customers/friends. We tailgated, froze our asses off a few times but always supported the Birds no matter their standing. We were there for Tim Mazzetti’s 5 FG game on an October Monday Night that helped propel us to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. We saw Steve Bartkowski arrive in Atlanta as the 1st overall draft pick and immediately become known as ‘Peachtree Bart’, a southern version of ‘Broadway Joe’. RB Dave Hampton became the first Falcon to gain 1000 yards rushing in a season only to fall below the monumental mark on the very next play as he was tackled behind the line. One of the more bizarre moments at old AFC stadium was Jim Mitchell and Art Malone coming to blows in the huddle during another lost season. If nothing else, the Falcons were always entertaining.

Then we moved to the Dome where dad and I shared season tickets for over 20 years. It brings a big smile to my face recalling how much fun he had tailgating – cooking steaks, mixing bloody mary’s and just being a great Falcons fan as we gathered in the ‘Gulch’ for pregame festivities. Saints games were always the best since so many of their fans traveled to Atlanta and walked through the “Gulch” from the bus parking lot on the way to the Dome. The trash talk was at it’s best with the Who Dats!

As I watch the game this evening, I will be thinking of my dad who put up with me and my friends tagging along with him and his buds in the 60s and 70s as the franchise rose up from inception. It was great time to be a kid in Atlanta and even better experiencing it with my dad on Sunday afternoons. Cheers to you Jimmy Brannon! Rise Up Falcons Fans!

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