Part 2: Expectation and Heartbreak.
Despite some close games the Falcons held the one seed in the NFC after a 13-3 record from the regular season. Despite this dominance all Falcons fans had been hearing all year is that their team was going to choke come playoff time, well it was time quieten the doubters.
The Sports Bar & Grill inside Marylebone Station, London had been the bar of choice to watch Falcons games since they started showing NFL games at the start of the previous season. I’m not going to call it regular as due to its rather expensive nature and as watching the Falcons is so stressful you tend to get through a few beers which doesn’t help the bank balance so around 4 or 5 trips here during the regular season is a good number.
Since it was the playoffs a trip to the aforementioned bar was definitely in order and a it was the playoffs a recruitment drive was in order. Now, for the previous six years the un-official London Falcons fan club consisted of two people, myself and Zack a Falcons fan I met in the Sportscafe, another NFL location that many American’s will be familiar with and just for the record it has recently closed down.
I met Zack whilst attending the Sportscafe to watch the Falcons play the Steelers back in 2006. The Sportscafe was like a Steelers home game, seriously I’ve never seen anything like it. There must have been anything between 30-50 of them complete with terrible towels.
After having said terrible towel waived in my face at a point in the game were the Steelers looked in control and can’t thank Morten Anderson enough for kicking the winning field goal in overtime making the rest of the evening a smug and enjoyable one.
Six years on and it was time to add to the London Falcon fan base which currently consists of seven with a couple of honorary members we can make that nine. Atlanta natives, Mo & Erica met via a message board whilst trying to get enough people in the bar to watch Saints @ Falcons, let me quickly explain what I mean.
The bar will show the live Sky TV game and then the rest of the games are done by a voting system, so the game with the most votes also gets shown with 4 other games shown on a split screen which is ok for fantasy football purposes but useless if your trying to watch your team play.
So having recruited Mo & Erica and got a couple of friends who fancied a night out but with little interest in the game, although Jon & Brett are now fans and both now have a jersey, I’m on a recruitment drive.
January 13th 2013 and the Falcons play the Seahawks in the Divisional Road of the playoffs. We are at the Sports bar on mass and this includes a few more recruited via the Falcons message boards and Falcons fans hit double figures compared to a handful of Seahawks fans.
A roller-coaster of a game to say the least got heated just as a sole Seahawks fan decided to celebrate his team taking a very late lead by getting right in my face whilst surrounded by around 6 or 7 Falcons fans. This was not a wise move on his part and something he soon realised although I was not too interested in his apology, I am happy to say that heated words were all that were exchanged and he was nowhere to be seen when the winning field goal sailed through the uprights.
With the game over, relief was the over riding emotion knowing that I wouldn’t have to spend another year of hearing how we couldn’t win in the playoffs even though I knew that this team was capable of more than winning just one playoff game.
I don’t want to dwell to much on the NFC Championship game and I’m certainly not going to relive it, its way to painful. About a week or so after the game a friend asked me if I had got over the loss yet to which I replied no and I won’t until we play our next playoff game and depending on how that goes maybe another yet after that. I’m not sure I have actually gotten over the 2011 playoff loss to the Packers because I was convinced that we would go to the Super Bowl that year, maybe even more than this time around.
Coming soon Part 3 ‘Just One Lombardi’