The Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta 44 to 21, and are headed to their second Super Bowl game, Super Bowl 51. While the winner of the AFC Championship Game is to be determined, it’s time to stop and congratulate and celebrate the victory. The reason is because Atlanta is a model NFL city with a model NFL owner in Arthur Blank (Zennie Abraham vlog at Zennie62 on YouTube).
Oh, and before we take a look at Atlanta the City, we have to shout out the Atlanta Falcons. Head Coach Dan Quinn came in from the Seattle Seahawks, and with a blueprint based very much on what he learned from the legendary former USC and now Seattle head coach, Pete Carroll – a plan based on the assembly and training of a very fast defense and a ball-control offense. That was certainly the message this blogger got when interviewing Coach Quinn at the 2015 NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona.
In building the Falcons to fit his ideals, Quinn resisted the temptation to replace Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan. The former Boston College star was always considered a good passer, but the Atlanta media constantly talked about the big games he lost with bad throws and interceptions. Not this time. Now, Matt Ryan can finally bask in the glow afforded an elite NFL signal-caller in the Super Bowl Game – a win would cement the title for Ryan. (Against the Packers, Ryan was 27 of 38 for 392 yards and 4 tocuhdowns, and one TD running.) It would also give Atlanta something it’s never had: an NFL Champion.
Atlanta is a great city on the rise. According to Sustainable Atlanta, Georgia, the Capital of The South added 40,000 new residents between 2010 and 2015. It’s gained back almost half the residents it lost during what is called the great exodus of the 1980s, when 100,000 Atlantans departed for the suburbs. And Atlanta and the North Georgia region have grown to become one of the entertainment production hubs of America.
Film LA reports that Georgia is number five in the World for film production behind only California, New York, and two international locations. Spending by film companies in Georgia has increased to $1.7 billion in 2015 and that’s up by 500 percent over the year 2008.
And what this blogger likes most is that Atlanta is a city that appreciates sports as economic development, and has plans for the retention of its teams, rather than reacting to any threat to move – there is none. Atlanta is also a city that is unapologetically Southern and black, yet is the growing tech hub of the South.
Oakland can learn a lot from Atlanta: from how to keep its sports teams, to how to embrace, not fear, black culture, to how to maintain affordable housing in the face of rampant growth, to how to be a top place for women in the workforce. Thanks to the Falcons NFC Championship Game win and trip to Super Bowl 51, and President Donald Trump’s ill-advised tweets against it, Atlanta now has the World’s attention and it deserves every bit of it.