A person’s greatest sports thrill often depends on what’s going on their person life. When the Eagles defeated Atlanta for NFC Title in 2004, I was retired and it marked, for a while, the end of the frustration of three NFC Title Game losses. In the 1980 game with Dallas, I had just over ten years of service and was facing another workweek. I was pretty confident in 2004 that the Eagles would win. The Falcons were 11-5 but their last two games were meaningless losses. Their first three losses and one of their wins were not impressive. They also defeated the St Louis Rams in the Wild Card game 47 to 27 the previous week. The Eagles had the BYE week and the home field advantage in 04.
Prior to the 2008 Cardinals, no team to me looked more vulnerable than Atlanta Falcons. Following:
Week 3 Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta
Each team had four turnovers. The Cardinals hurt themselves with eight penalties for 66 yards. Atlanta halfback Warrick Dunn carried 20 times for 117 yards. Cardinal quarterback Josh McGowan completed 20 of 26 passes for 198 yards. Atlanta won what must have been a boring game 6 to 3. The Cardinals were 6-10 for the season.
Week 5 Atlanta at Detroit Lions
The Falcons yielded six sacks, four turnovers, and five penalties for 74 yards. Detroit beat the Falcons 17 to 10. The Lions finished 6-10.
Week 6 Atlanta at Kansas City Chiefs
Atlanta yielded four sacks for 25 yards and got only nine first downs. Trent Green for Kansas City was 20 for 27 for 269 yards. Priest Holmes rushed 22 times for 139 yards and four touchdowns. Derrick Blaylock carried 19 times for 90 yards and also had four touchdowns. The Falcons got only nine first downs in one of their worst losses ever 56 to 10. The Chefs were 7-9 for the season.
Week 13 Atlanta at Tamp Bay Buccaneers
The total yardage gained was very close. Atlanta had five turnovers, five sacks for 23 yards, and seven penalties for 50 yards. Tampa Bay shut out the Falcons 27 to 0 and was 5-11 in 2004.