Atlanta Falcons

So This Is What It’s Like? Life with a Superstar

Growing up in Atlanta in the 1980’s with a father that went to Mississippi State offered me a few things as a sports fan.  No, no, not enjoying games on prime time television or the thrill of winning the big one.  Think more along the lines of humility and hopelessness.  Being a fan of the Falcons, Braves, and Hawks as well as Mississippi State football and basketball in the 1980’s was much like pledging Omega in Animal House.  More often than not, I found myself assuming the position and shouting “Thank you, sir, may I have another!”But one thing it did allow me was a certain underdog purist spirit.  I hated every favorite and every dynasty.  Hated Michael Jordan.  Hated the 49’ers.  I had no use for front runners and no use for the media-anointed superstars.  The only athlete I loved who was close to superstar status was Dominique Wilkins, and believe me when I tell you that he gets far more credit now than he ever did when he was playing.  In those days, he was grossly overshadowed by the likes of Jordan, Bird, Magic, and Barkley.

My underdog status remained intact in the 1990’s as well.  Despite some sporadic success by the Falcons and the impressive run by the Braves, I never felt emotionally invested in anything remotely close to a dynasty team or individual superstar.

Then came the 2001 draft and Michael Vick.  Much like Anakin Skywalker, I took a look at the dark side and loved it.  When the Falcons traded up to get Michael Vick, I made the smooth transition to front running hero worship.  Though Chris Chandler started for most of Vick’s rookie season, it was only a matter of time until Vick took the reigns.  And when he did, it was something I had never experienced.  I could see the Falcons on the cover of every sports magazine, and not just in the background of a Jerry Rice touchdown picture.

The Vick era through 2004 was phenomenal.  Though off the field there always seemed to be somewhat of a cloud, on the field it was pure magic.  The Falcons made serious playoff runs in both 2002 and 2004, failing only in 2003 due to the 11th commandment that the Falcons shall never have back-to-back winning seasons.  It was in 2005 when life as a superstar apologist started to get a bit more difficult.  That was the year that one of Vick’s friends stole a watch at the Atlanta airport and Vick dropped the Ron Mexico alias in a local clinic.  After that, Vick treated us to two years of mediocre football in which it became ever clearer that he likely was never going to progress in either talent or character.

But I was still on board.  Professional sports makes it a bit easier these days.  Even if your team is fronted by a dirtbag, there’s always a Terrell Owens or Barry Bonds out there to make you feel like things could be worse.

And then came the past year.  First, Vick cruised off the field at the Georgia Dome after a subpar game against the Saints giving the crowd the middle finger.  Not good.  Then came the bizarre secret-compartment water bottle incident in the Miami airport.  That’s not that weird, I guess.  I mean it kind of makes sense, right? It’s a water bottle with a secret compartment where you keep your watches and jewelry and stuff, and maybe it smells like pot, but that doesn’t mean anything, right?  Well I had just made it through the two month exercise of finding a way to shake that one off when the dog fighting allegations came along.

And so here I am, six years into the uncharted waters of climbing aboard the bandwagon of a superstar, and I want off.  I never thought I’d be lucky enough to have my favorite player’s jersey coveted across the country.  It’s what I always hoped for when I was growing up watching my teams get throttled by one superstar or another.  And now, I would love nothing more than to be able to hope for a complete Vick implosion just like I used to wish on those who won titles and graced video game covers in my youth.

And so with that I’m off to watch some golf, at least until someone blows the lid off of a Tiger Woods cockfighting ring.  With my luck, it’s right around the corner.

5 replies on “So This Is What It’s Like? Life with a Superstar”

not Vick’s fault As the world’s biggest idiot since I’ve never lived in Atlanta yet adopted the Falcons as my team 10 years ago, I must state that it isn’t Vick’s fault. Take away Alge Crumpler, who is the best true TE in football, Vick is surrounded by nobody.

Our offensive line is the worst in the division. We haven’t found a successful wide receiving core. Our running back situation has been shaky at best since Jamal Anderson (the first) went down on Monday night in 1999.

Defensively, our secondary has one overrated CB who is mentally retarded and a decent safety core. Our linebackers are decent, but we would have been much wiser to select the guy out of Mississippi who I thought was the best defensive player in the draft. We needed help on the line, so I’m not too pissed with the selection of Anderson.

Arthur Blank has taken a hands-on approach and he has no idea what he is doing. That is the problem. He hired one of the best GMs in football and watched the team disintegrate. Arthur Blank needs to sell the team or die or else we’re never winning anything again.

Anyway, nice article.

Pretty much agree Thanks for the kudos.  I don’t totally disagree.  We have had a lot of shaky pieces over the last five years.  To your point, I’ve never bought into the “Denver blocking scheme”, which apparently means you try to make your offensive line look like a line from the 1960’s (aka nobody over 275 pounds).

I wasn’t blaming the lack of success on Vick so much as I was saying that he is becoming harder to support by the day.

Thanks again.

yeah I believe that the most important part of any offense is the offensive line and with a less than stellar offensive line, 7-9 should be looked at as a good season. But we’ve not attempted to improve it. Sad….

Good read Nice article.

Let me get this out of the way, I dont like Michael Vick. Never did, and probably never will.

While I think that he’s thrill to watch, hes never had that ‘leadership’ quality that a guy like Tom Brady has. Being the ‘supposed’ leader of his team, all the while making a mess out of his public persona, doesn’t help matters either.

Keep your spirits up on the Hawks. They’re one quality point guard away from making some noise.

Hawks I really have tried to stay positive on the Hawks and will be hoping the lottery somehow leaves them with one of the top two picks.  The annoying thing is that they had a perfect opportunity to address the point guard position in last year’s draft, but Billy Knight for some reason felt the need to burn the number five pick on another forward.

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