Even though the Falcons were 6-0, they went into Philadelphia as underdogs and many of the national pundits picked the Eagles to win because they were ”the more talented team.” However, after the Falcons went into Lincoln Financial Field and dominated the Eagles most of the conversation after the game concentrated on Andy Reid and Michael Vick.
“Is the national media making a big deal about us like they would if it was Philly, Green Bay or New England? No, they’re not…We played Philly and beat them. And Philly was on TV all week.”
While Gonzalez may be right, the Falcons and their fans should not expect to gain anything from the national media with a win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Here’s a one-word crash course on the sports television business for all of you Falcons fans out there wondering why ESPN and NFL Network don’t spend whole segments breaking down all of the intricacies of the Falcons’ new pass-oriented attack: RATINGS.
It’s no coincidence that the NFC East gets more national coverage than the NFC South. The NFC East has four television markets (New York, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.) that consistently rank in the top ten television markets in the country (www.nielson.com). You add to that the fact that players like Michael Vick, Tony Romo, and Dez Bryant are such polarizing figures and you have a big part of the reason why we hear their names come off of the talking heads’ tongues so much. It’s business.
Even though Atlanta is a top ten television market, the Falcons lack the kind of drama (not personality thanks to Roddy White and Sean Weatherspoon) that the national media craves. I mean was anyone outside of Dirty Bird nation really excited about the possibility of the Falcons being on Hard Knocks when that rumor was out there? Didn’t think so. That is not an accident. Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank and Falcons’ General Manager Thomas Dimitroff didn’t set out to create a media darling in 2008. They set out to create a consistent winner. Falcons fans shouldn’t care how the team is perceived in the national media right now. Tony Gonzalez certainly isn’t losing sleep over the issue. He’s out to get a Super Bowl ring. This team was the subject of plenty of national attention in 2007, and I think that Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank would agree that the whole experience was overrated.
So don’t get sensitive and start boycotting the national media Falcons fans. You aren’t the Jets or the Jaguars. You’re above being so desperate for media attention that you act irrationally. Just go down to the Georgia Dome and scream your head off for this squad. If the Falcons keep winning they will get all of the attention that they deserve in February. Until then, just enjoy watching your Falcons create more drama for Dallas on Sunday Night.
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