More Human Than Human–Falcons 34, Panthers 31

Went to the Falcons-Panthers game last night–a birthday present from my wife, and a damn good one–the Falcons pulled off a dramatic overtime win. Now, it didn’t need to be that dramatic–Atlanta managed to turn a two-touchdown lead into a seven-point deficit in the second half, and that lack of 60-minute intensity is going to bite ’em in the ass if they can’t get it resolved by January. Still, it led to one of the most astonishing plays I’ve ever seen. Ninety seconds left, Atlanta down a touchdown, facing fourth-and-12 at the Carolina twelve. Score a touchdown or go home. Michael Vick takes the snap, looks left, looks right, then breaks right up the middle toward the end zone. He gets hit about three yards shy of the goal line and starts to fall. He’s almost parallel to the ground, and realizes his left knee will hit before the ball crosses the plane of the goal, and so he lifts his left knee in mid-air as he’s falling so that the ball breaks the plane an instant before his knee hits. This is astonishing instinctual play and genius-level physical gifts–like Jordan switching hands in midair on that dunk against the Lakers. Boy, am I glad Vick’s on our team–it’s finally a good time to be a football fan in Atlanta.

Oh, and one other note–no matter what this idiot may say, Atlanta does have some damn good sports fans–as long as the team is winning. The noise last night at the Dome for, let’s face it, a small-change game in this championship season was brain-rattling. Are we front-runners? Sure, but Atlanta’s sports teams–save the Braves–haven’t yet earned undying loyalty from their fans. A couple more winning seasons like this, though, and the Falcons will be right there.


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