Monday, September 5, 2011
NFL ACLB PREVIEWS - #7: ATLANTA FALCONS
PERTINENT DATA: 13-3, won NFC South and NFC home field advantage, then got destroyed by Packers in divisional round game; 15 to 1 odds to win Super Bowl XLVI.
BEST CASE SCENARIO (Neil): I’ll be honest, I have never particularly liked Atlanta. It has a soulless corporatism to it that feels vaguely desperate, like it’s just a slow moving escalator to hell and the people on it have the nebulous feeling that they are drifting towards something ugly and awful but don’t know how to get off the damn thing before they are driven into their fiery doom. This was confirmed by a close friend who spent a year living and working in the soul sucking malaise of the capital of the New South, in the home of Ted Turner and Coca-Cola. He would call me every day in misery and despair and I would tell him that it was his own damn fault for following the candied lure of a harlot he called a girlfriend and he eventually saw the light and moved on to better places and better people and she went on to found a whorehouse outside of Savannah until she was carried away by an angry whore hunting ghost who took her for his bride in the afterlife and now the two of them live in a mansion by the sea, haunting the living and pimping out the dead. Okay, I may have made some of that up, but you’ll never know which parts. Really, though, I am just putting off talking about the Falcons because, you see, I don’t really care that much about the Falcons. I don’t particularly like their quarterback Matt Ryan, whose nickname, Matty Ice, sounds suspiciously douchebaggian to me, although I admit my distaste for young Matty might be accentuated by his ass whipping of the Lions during his first game in the NFL, which by the way was the first game on that long, inglorious trail of tears known as 0-16. NEVER FORGET. But since the Falcons are the beloved team of my boy Adrian and for the sake of Kevin and Larry King and all the other Falcon lovers out there (I’m extremely tempted to go off on a tangent about erotic falconry right now which is actually a real thing if you can believe it. Don’t ask me how I know this. I have low friends in low places.) I will do my best to remain positive. The fact is, is that the Falcons will have a good season. They simply have too many weapons and too many good things going for them. I can see them finishing 12-4 or even 13-3 and winning the NFC South, as distasteful as that may be, but what the hell, you asked for a best case scenario and I am bound by honor and the oaths I swore to Raven Mack, those mushrooms and that talking tree to give it to you. So there you go, you beasts, I hope you’re satisfied.
WORST CASE SCENARIO (Raven): There is something amiss about this Falcons team, and there always has been. Back in '98, when they went to the Super Bowl to get housed, they just didn't seem like a legitimate Super Bowl team. Even when the Michael Vick star status was still in its first ascension, it didn't feel right. And they still don't feel right. I can't really put my finger on it though, so there's no gridiron pseudo-scientific explanation I can give you. I do know that their coach does not seem like the type of guy you'd run through CIA-trained Libyan rebels who are murdering all blacks now that they are in charge to win a Super Bowl for. Shit, even his name - Mike Smith - is as anonymous as possible, and you combine that with the fact he looks like about 95 million other white dudes, it just seems unbelievable that anything special is coming from his dry erase board diagrams. I feel similarly about Matt Ryan. He has been excellent thus far in his NFL career, and I like the guy - it's hard not to like the guy if you hear even two minutes of an interview with him. And adding Julio Jones to Roddy White might be pretty fucking amazing for scoreboards and fantasy geeks this year. But there's just something missing, some undefined intangible, that moves an unproven QB from being really good to being a potential Super Bowl winner. Like, when you looked at Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger, from the beginning, you could tell they could win a Super Bowl. You didn't know why, but you knew it. But when you look at Matt Ryan and even Philip Rivers, you don't get that same feeling automatically. They suffer from Dan Marino Disease, which to be fair is a pretty good disease to suffer from, because no one in their right mind would not want a Dan Marino or Matt Ryan as they starting QB. But it's never going to translate into championships, ever. And that's sad, because unlike Neil, I like Atlanta, and Georgia, and have good Rojonekku street peoples that way, who have taken me onto their couches when my Greyhound showed up all of a sudden, and have shared long sleepless weekends in $32-a-night motel rooms. I would like these people, and that area, to experience the euphoria of being the best, because Atlanta is a great example of the New South I often brag about to others - the great cross-pollination of immigrant Mexican and southern black and southern white, with both upper and lower class elements to all three of those cultures, so that it's not just broke ass black people but rich and successful black folks, and it's not just illegals but formerly illegals who have built a nice small business lifestyle for themselves in America. All of this blends and blurs together and ferments under the thick humidity of the southern skies into a wondrous place that fills me with pride, because shit like this don't exist in other parts of the country. And yet, in regards to Atlanta football, something is not there, some necessary ingredient for being a champion.
Of course, my theory that the NFL is engineered is probably still true and applicable here, and this is all a vast sham to make southern people feel inferior, even though we do live in this rich tapestry of American cultures, because the only southern team to ever win a Super Bowl was the New Orleans Saints two years ago, and if the NFL is engineered, then that would've been a feel-good boost for New Orleans as a tourist destination to symbolically to have been reborn on the national stage from the soggy ashes of Hurricane Katrina. But I am digressing here into William B. Cooper/Alex Jones football conspiracies, and I should keep it simple since you are a football fan and probably the target demographic for those commercials that wrap fake titties in a bikini top and put a beer in front of it and sales spike almost immediately.
Something is still not there for the Falcons, and they will be very good this year, but not a factor come playoff time. The sad thing is, there's no real way to tell what's missing, and although their offense is gonna be seriously the shit and a lot of fun to watch, they have the feel of becoming the NFC's Chargers, which is not a good thing to become.
PLAYER TO PULL FOR (Neil): I like Tony Gonzalez. He’s been around for a thousand years and although he’s slowed down a little bit, he hasn’t fallen off too much even after being written off by the Chiefs and those monsters in Kansas City who I suspect never fully trusted or embraced him due to his Latino heritage. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it might be. It feels like something that could be true, though and so we’ll go with it. Those racist animals. Shame on them. Anyway, the real reason I like Tony Gonzalez, though, is because he is a vegan (or at least he was as of a couple of years ago. Things change, though, and I understand that. For our purposes here, he still is. Don’t take that away from me, you heartless fiends.), and while that word immediately caused revulsion in just about all of you, who simply don’t trust a man who won’t eat the occasional steak or think that it is the sign of a weak soul, of a man gone terminally soft, let me tell you something – I am a vegan too and I am a fucking warrior of light and I will gnaw on your wicked bones. I just won’t swallow them. I haven’t always been a vegan, though, and neither has Tony Gonzalez. We are reformed savages, and there is nothing deadlier than a reformed savage. All that means is that we have discovered wisdom during our many battles in this plane of existence. It doesn’t mean that we have softened. It means that we’re too chill for your bullshit, but if you piss us off sufficiently, we will eat your soul. I still have blood on my lips from my wild eyed youth. I don’t have anything to prove to you degenerates and neither does Tony Gonzalez. I once killed and ate a Silverback Ape in front of the Gates of Hell just because he bet me I wouldn’t. I promised him that I would look after his children and his children’s children just before I ate his heart. I’m willing to bet that Tony Gonzalez had something similar happen to him. I bet he had to kill and eat Willie Roaf for reasons that none of you can fathom. But I understand, Tony. I understand.
PLAYER TO HATE MOST (Raven): Me and Neil had sort of promised to not step on each other's toes with these players to love and hate, but I just can't bite my tongue on my distaste for Tony Gonzales. Not that he's an outright shithead like a Deion Sanders or Michael Irvin or something, but, again, there's something intangible and unspoken that makes him seem off to me. He's the prime example of the fantasy football era superstar - a guy who has never accomplished a fucking thing in January, but is regarded as an automatic Hall of Famer, because of statistical productivity. Fuck productivity. This is Labor Day, and as the America Empire becomes it's twenty-year crumble into second-rate oblivion, it's important to note that productivity is a bullshit concept force into our collective consciousness by soulless cyberlords like Ray Kroc and Henry Ford and Nelson Rockefeller and William Randolph Hearts - the very men who gutted America of it's true pioneer spirit and filled it with the red and white and blue wiring of cyborgs, which we've all become, happy to toil away monotonously so long as we meet our daily/weekly/monthly quotas, and get very little recognition nor financial satisfaction in the process, barely able to keep our head above the flood waters of our own collective eventual financial armageddon. So fuck a guy like Tony Gonzalez, who is "productive" at tight ending, and has been so for a long career, without actually winning on a grand scale, because we don't need guys like this as heroes. We need motherfuckers who slit the throats of their overlords and manifest their own fucking destiny in this sick, crooked fucking world, like Oscar Zeta Acosta.
BEST NAME ON TEAM: Ovie Mughelli, because he sounds like an alternate name for the big retard in Of Mice and Men.
IN A PERFECT WORLD (Neil): In a perfect world, it would be discovered that Matt Ryan is a soulless clone – which I suspect isn’t that far from the truth – and then he would be hunted down as a Replicant by galactic bounty hunters, humanists at heart really, men who understand only all too well the philosophical perils that come with accepting the soulless presence of a clone. He will then be sent to the moon to work as a space miner, where he will dig for precious metals and some sense of his own humanity. He must earn his soul in the space mines. Look, I don’t make the rules. This is just the way it is. If Matt Ryan wants my respect he has to turn himself in as a soulless Replicant and volunteer for a tour of duty in the space mines. That sounds fair to me. I am, after all, a man of deep compassion and I believe in offering everyone – even the soulless – a chance for redemption. Sometimes I think I’m just too kind and monsters like Matt Ryan will always be around to take advantage of that kindness. Oh well. Don’t weep for me. I will get my reward in the Kingdom of Heaven.
PROGNOSIS (Raven): They will be good, like I said, and go 11-5, win the NFC South (which will be the best division in the NFL this year, other than the Panthers obviously), and if they slot into a wild card home game, they'll probably win that, but once they get to the NFL's final eight, they will be sent back home to wonder what's needed to get to that next level, yet again.