Tonight’s game between the Ravens and Falcons is being billed as a matchup of two very similar teams, with characteristics and qualities mirroring each other. And, for the most part, I understand the comparisons …..
Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan spawned from the same draft class and they’ve assumed starting duties, since day one.
John Harbaugh and Mike Smith ascended into their head coaching roles at the same time, as well. And, they’ve experienced early success.
Ray Rice and Michael Turner have developed into a couple of the NFL’s best running backs.
Both teams have achieved regular season records of 26 wins and 14 losses, since the Harbaugh/Flacco and Smith/Ryan tandems joined ranks.
The comparisons really are aplenty.
That said, I think it’s quite fair to suggest one team has overcome much more adversity and dysfunction, as they’ve climbed back to respectability.
To be blunt, it’s not even close …..
When Brian Billick left the Baltimore Ravens, he left a solid, organized, respectable franchise in his wake. The Ravens were a better team, thanks to his nine years of commitment. While the 2007 season was dismal, the organization was still foundationally strong.
However, the same flattering description cannot be attributed to the Atlanta Falcons …..
As we all know, the Falcons were a dysfunctional mess as the world celebrated the New Years holiday, in 2008. Their head coach deserted them, much like a call girl leaves her john behind …..
Their franchise quarterback was no longer the “franchise quarterback,” and the team was horrible, as it finished up with a 3-13 season.
As Michael Vick was settling into prison life, Bobby Petrino was familiarizing himself with the University of Arkansas …. and the Falcons were limping to close out a horrid 2007 campaign.
Say what you want, that organization didn’t deserve such an obstructed road of hardship and anguish.
It was beyond bad luck. It was wrong …..
In Baltimore, we’re spoiled by the riches of a football franchise built on stable management and in-depth personnel – on and off the field.
In Atlanta, just three short years ago, the Falcons faced the potential of unraveling into an era of disaster. They faced the uncertainty of finding the right general manager, head coach and quarterback to reverse the team’s wrong direction.
Enter Thomas Dimitroff …..