The NFL offseason is well underway. It has been almost three weeks since the “David Tyree Helmet Catch” placed MVP Eli Manning and the New York Giants as unexpected champions. The Giants beat NFL MVP Tom Brady and the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, in a game that Tecmo Bowl and bookies said they would lose. American’s stuffed their faces, recovered from the post-Super Bowl hangover, and promptly shifted their focus to the offseason. It is already scouting combine and Senior Bowl time.
Because of a three-way tie, the draft positions of the Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Oakland Raiders, had to be determined by a coin toss that was held today. After the coin toss it was determined that the Falcons would pick third, Raiders fourth, and the Chiefs Fifth. Grown Pumpkin let out a Ric Flair “Woo” after reading this news.
As an Atlanta Falcon fan and cross-country season ticket holder, the offseason began almost at the same time as the regular season. We were doomed from the get go. The Michael Vick
railroading incident lead right into the worst possible head coach hiring. Bobby “coward” Petrino used MV7 as a scapegoat for all that was wrong with the team and ultimately quit in the middle of the season he just wrecked. The team had lead the entire NFL in rushing for the previous three seasons. Petrino changes Alex Gibbs’ run-blocking scheme and the Falcons drop to near the bottom of the league in rushing. He cut fan favorite Grady Jackson, flip-flopped between quarterbacks Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, and Chris Redman, and then just quit to take the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas a few HOURS LATER.
Owner Arthur Blank removed general manager Rich McKay from running the day to day football operations and hired Thomas Dimitroff away from the New England Patriots to take over. The first order of business was to hire a head coach, which ultimately ended up being Mike Smith, defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is worth noting that Bill Cowher and Pete Carroll both passed and Bill Parcells publicly jilted the Falcons in favor of the Dolphins. Dimitroff and Smith promptly released seven players in an effort to lower the salary cap. Among those cuts were recently acquired Byron Leftwich, starting left tackle Wayne Gandy, part-time starting corner corner Lewis Sanders, linebacker Marcus Wilkins, wide-receiver Jamin Elliott, arguably the best interior defensive lineman in the league Rod Coleman, and tight end Alge Crumpler. Crumpler has been my favorite player, he has been one of the best tight ends in football, and has been the face/voice of the Atlanta Falcons and makes me more mad than any of the previous moves. Yes Alge was hurt last season and he is due a good chunk of money, but why not work out a deal or at least trade him? Instead possibly our best player walks away for nothing… likely with Coleman to a division rival Panthers or Buccaneers (which will make me sick). Additionally there are rumors of the Falcons cutting Warrick Dunn, Lawyer Milloy, and Keith Brooking while trading DeAngelo Hall to the Giants for just a draft pick barely inside the first round.
If the above moves happen, then the Falcons will have successfully discarded 80% of the strong points of the team to rebuild for the future. As “stakeholder” in the team, I have yet to see a return on my investment or a break in my costs. In fact this year will be the first year my tickets have not gone up in price (they are staying the same as last year). So to summarize, a 4-12 team gets rid of all “star” players (or at least fan favorites) and offers no break to the committed fans. If they draft Matt Ryan with the 3rd pick or do not spend the $20+million on some big names to join Norwood, Abraham, and Boley I will be officially on suicide watch. Please bring Mike Vick back, SERIOUSLY.