Happy (belated) birthday, (new) Falcons

Forbes.com Photo
Forbes.com Photo

Though it has yet to yield a Super Bowl trophy, or even an appearance, the first 10 years and one day of the Arthur Blank era have been a model for consistency.

The Atlanta Falcons have always been consistent, but for a majority of the franchise’s history, they were consistently bad. Winning seasons appeared about as often as the cicada, leaving Atlanta fans wondering when they’d finally have a team they could be proud of.

In that regard, Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank was like a savior.

On Feb. 2, 2003, the Falcons were sold to Blank, a man who wanted to win at all costs. In 10 seasons, they have. Averaging 9.4 wins per year, the franchise has seen seven winning seasons over the last decade. Blank took a team that had never experienced back-to-back winning seasons and molded it into a perennial playoff contender, and since drafting Matt Ryan in 2008, Atlanta has posted a winning record in all five seasons.

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The Georgia Dome has become a house of horrors for opposing teams. The Falcons have done no worse than 6-2 at home in any of the five regular seasons with Matt Ryan at quarterback, and in two of the last three years, they’ve been the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the postseason.

The knock on the Falcons remains that they’re not very efficient when they get to the playoffs, and it’s true — they still only have two postseason victories in the Arthur Blank era. But this squad is young, and with Blank and general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the helm, Falcons fans are confident that the right alterations will be made to the roster to bring a Super Bowl to Atlanta.

What Blank has done so far is nothing short of amazing. He turned a college football town into a pro football-crazed town, and it didn’t even take a decade. Fans are so supportive that he knows he can get a new stadium. Every Sunday is as much fun as the 1998 season of destiny.

So thank you, Mr. Blank. Here’s to the next 10 years, which started today.

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