2013 was a year that the Atlanta Falcons would like to forget in many ways. The preseason darlings to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl ended up with a 4-12 record, a ton of key injuries, and a quarterback who spent far too much time on his backside.
On the latter, Falcons owner Arthur Blank was on a local Atlanta sports talk station, and said that the team’s reaction to one of those hits on Matt Ryan had bothered him.
The play in question was in the Falcons season opener against their bitter rivals, the New Orleans Saints, when safety Kenny Vaccaro slid late into Ryan, costing his team a personal foul penalty and his wallet a $7875 fine.
Via ESPN.com, Blank told 680 the Fan radio in Atlanta:
“And that play really bothered me, sincerely. It bothered me that none of our players, they all complained, but none of them went to the safety on the Saints and did anything. Not that they would start a fight, but just kind of put their finger in his chest and saying, ‘That’s not acceptable.’”
The toughness of the Falcons has been a sticking point for a number of years in Atlanta, and now it seems as though the owner is calling out his team on that point.
Does this mean fans will see a meaner, tougher, nastier version of the Falcons? A return of the “Dirty Birds” perhaps?
Only time, and the NFL Draft, will tell, we suppose.