By Caleb Weinstock
The Falcons had a 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday to win the NFC championship. The dominant win was led by Most Valuable Player candidate Matt Ryan and the injured star receiver Julio Jones. Ryan threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns while Jones had 180 receiving yards with two touchdowns. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was very proud of the team’s performance and contributed the success of the strong bonds between the players.
“The brotherhood that these men in our locker room have built has led us to this moment,” Quinn said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them for how hard they play and how hard they play for each other.”
Lots of Grady students went to the game and cheered on the Falcons. Amani Watkins, a junior, was at the game and did her best to support the team.
“It was just such a fun game and fun experience,” Watkins said. “It was a crazy atmosphere in the stadium and everyone was cheering hard for the Falcons.
The Falcons, who were predicted to have a mediocre season and given a 1.2 percent chance to make the Super Bowl by ESPN, will be in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1999 and will be facing the New England Patriots. The Patriots also had a very decisive win in their game to make it to the Super Bowl. They beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 36-17 blowout. The Patriots have only lost two games this season and the pair of quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have six appearances and four wins in the Super Bowl making a very tough challenge for the Falcons.
The conference championship game was the very last game in the Georgia Dome. The dome is planned to be demolished by the end of 2017 and replaced by the Mercedes Benz Stadium. To give the dome an adequate goodbye, the fanbase showed out to game by filling the stadium to capacity. Many Grady students attended the game to cheer on their hometown team.
“It was a great game and a crazy crowd, so I’m very happy the Falcons could leave the dome on such a high note,” Senior Max Menzies, who went to the game, said. “I’m very excited for the new stadium though; it looks awesome.”
Just by making it to the Super Bowl, the Falcons will do something that many Atlanta sports teams have failed to do in recent years. The Braves have not been to the World Series since 1999 and since the Hawks have moved to Atlanta in 1968, they have never even reached the championship game. The Falcons have an opportunity to fill a void for Atlanta fans and return the city to being a reputable sports city once again. Some students have started to support the Falcons more than other Atlanta teams due to their success compared to the other teams.
“The Falcons are my favorite team in Atlanta because they have been consistently good,” Junior Luke Levens said. “I don’t even remember the Braves being good in my life and the Hawks are always just decent. The team that does well will get the support.”
Dan Quinn was very thankful to the people of Atlanta for supporting the team in this monumental game.
“For the fans and this city and for teams that have rocked this city for 25 years, we felt your energy from the very beginning so it is only fitting that it was the NFC championship game and the last game here in the dome,” Quinn said. “We felt the juice and thank you for that.”