The last few years have been a bitter sweet experience for much of the Atlanta Sports and Georgia based fan-bases. The recent trend of blowing healthy leads has to end, or else.
If you are hoping that this will be some self-flagellating exercise in how to cathartically cast out demons by specifically going through each and every instance and example of our beloved Atlanta Sports (and Georgia) teams blowing what seemed to be insurmountable leads, you can go somewhere else. I just can’t muster the anger to go through writing something like that. Frankly, it’s not healthy. But, something needs to be written. It needs to be acknowledged, because there is a trend and feeling emerging.
What is meant by that is that there seems to be a pendulum swing occurring, and it is one that is new to the area. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, being a fan of Atlanta and/or Georgia teams usually meant getting blown out. The Falcons were awful. The Braves were arguably worse until 1991. The Hawks were the only local team that was even in position to blow a lead in an important game. GT and UGA basketball were pretty good. Tech and UGA football were nothing special. In other words, this article wouldn’t or couldn’t have been written then.
Now, though, many of our teams are competitive and at a high level. You have to be in important games to blow leads in those games. So, in some sense, this new phenomenon is a new thing. Being nationally relevant is nice. Most fans wouldn’t trade it.
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But it is becoming apparent that with every instance of a lead being blown in a game, fans have less and less tolerance for it. This crosses and dissects fan-bases, as well. It isn’t relegated to just Falcons fans. Reality is many fans cross-pollinate and are inter-sectional with other teams. Lots of Tech fans are Falcons fans. Lots of Dawg fans are Braves fans, etc.
One gets the feeling that, what used to be a muted, softened response to losing big games in heartbreaking fashion, is now a firm and staunch “this ish is getting old”.
That feeling is like one of the amorphous, ephemeral type of feelings that you can’t put that proverbial finger to, but you can sense it welling up in the public consciousness.
I’m pretty sure Atlanta Falcons fans can’t take another year like the last two. Georgia Football fans just ate that crap sandwich of blowing a double-digit lead in a championship game. Georgia Tech Football blew several double digit leads this past year, and to arguably inferior teams. Atlanta United FC had a great year, but did the same at home in the playoffs. The Braves blew more leads than all of them last year. The Hawks never have the lead.
Mark Fox and the Georgia Basketball team just blew a 14 point lead at halftime to lose to conference rival Auburn by 14 points. That’s a 28 point turnaround. In basketball and in one half.
Look. Like I said, I don’t think fans would trade being in the big game. Irrelevancy tastes worse. But this is a fair warning to all coaches out there in coaching land around the Atlanta, GA region.
If you get in a big game, and somehow put your team in a position to have a lead late in said game, you better not do anything yourself that causes the loss. It better be an act of God. Not throwing to Julio Jones, or some nonsense, won’t be gently excused.
Otherwise, you are going to hear it. And the it won’t be pleasant. Folks have had enough.