Atlanta Falcons Punishment Shows Patriots Haters’ Colors


ESPN and others reported this morning (Happy Monday, A-town!) that the Atlanta Falcons will be docked a draft pick for playing fake crowd noise in their stadium in 2013 and 2014. Falcons president Rick McKay is also expected to be suspended from the NFL’s competition committee as a result of the infraction.

And the reaction around the NFL fan universe seems to be a collective “Meh”.

Are former players and current analysts like Troy Aikman and Marshall Faulk getting on their respective soapboxes and blathering about the “integrity of the game”? Where’s everyone saying that even if the Falcons go 18-0 next year, sweep the NFC South, and bring the city of Atlanta its first championship since the ’95 Braves (hey, we hate the Yankees here at Chowder & Champions too), the wins they get and the Super Bowl trophy they parade through downtown Atlanta isn’t as legit as (insert your favorite team here)?

Is Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star about to break everything in his office over this travesty of a disaster of an infraction of a disgrace of a black eye to the game of football?

It’s enough to make one wonder: How on earth is it even remotely possible that the Falcons, just two years removed from being a pass away from winning the NFC Championship game and punching a ticket to the 2012 Super Bowl, are more or less skating in the court of public opinion while the Patriots are still getting slammed in the media and in Buffalo Wild Wings across the country for some game balls being “a tick” below regulation air pressure???

This is a big deal! NFL fans that possess a functioning brain will remember the Indianapolis Colts being accused of the same crowd-noise transgressions back in 2007. That whole controversy…well, it wasn’t much of a controversy, really, because as things went, the NFL had the convenient situation colloquially known as SpyGate taking most of the heat from fans that were irate that their team was getting boat-raced 52-7. The Colts, at the time, blamed a technical glitch with the broadcast and emphatically denied they had done anything of the rule-breaking sort (sound familiar?), and the season rolled along with fans nationwide furious that the Patriots had done something with video cameras that was legal until the 2007 season.

So what’s the difference between the world’s vitriol for the Patriots *allegedly* tampering with the PSI in game footballs and the Falcons point-blank admitting that they played fake crowd noise over the stadium speakers for the last two years in an attempt to sabotage the opposing team’s offense?

The only logical explanation is a double standard for teams that win, and keep winning, and knock your team out of the playoffs (or into a top-5 draft spot) year after year after year.

It’s ok. People do the same mental gymnastics with why Alabama football is so dominant all the dang time, or USC in the mid-2000s, or the Lakers, or whatever team Urban Meyer coaches this year. People need a reason why New England can make it to the AFC Championship game against Peyton Manning’s juggernaut 2013 offense while Brady is throwing passes to Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Matthew freaking Slater. There needs to be some reason those cocky Patriots can put the AFC East on a barbecue every year. There has to be some reason why teams can load up with the best free agents the market has to offer, and then face-plant the next season while Tom Brady’s win percentage will actually decline if he doesn’t win the Super Bowl every year.

But, ok, the Patriots are cheaters and their Super Bowl trophies are “tarnished” and have an “asterisk” next to them and somewhere, Marshall Faulk is still telling himself that the Greatest Show on Turf is the real 2001 Super Bowl champion. Uncle Rico, if you will.

Are the Falcons winning the public’s approval because owner Arthur Blank admitted that the crowd noise thing happened for two years, and it’s “obviously embarrassing”? Well, typically, when you’re caught red-handed like this, fessing up and apologizing is what a rational person does. Like Chris Rock says “People always want credit for doing (stuff) they’re SUPPOSED to do.”

Is there going to be a two-month debate about this with “leaks” and “sources” filling in details while creating just as many questions as they answer? Are people going to go on and on about how the Falcons are a dirty team that has to cheat to win?  Is there going to be a sweet name for this, like NoiseGate? CrowdGate? CheerGate? Crowd-that-doesn’t-exist-Gate?


Take away that aformentioned draft pick, like the sources say, and hope everyone is too busy watching Kentucky finish an undefeated basketball season to notice.

Meanwhile, whether you’re a ‘Hawks fan, a Steelers fan, a Jets fan, a Bills fan, or wherever else your allegiance lies, you can just keep telling yourself that the Patriots break the rules and let air pressure out of their offensive footballs and videotaped…whoever, and your guys do things the right way.

Having a double standard for teams that you hate is 100% fine…as long as you acknowledge that it exists.

Just ask Falcons fans what they thought about BountyGate.