Facing the hated Patriots, the Falcons are now America's Team

The Atlanta Falcons aren't just going to the Super Bowl. They're going as the choice of everyone who isn't a New England fan, and why would you be a New England fan if you don't, you know, live in New England? Maybe the folks in New Orleans will root against the Men of Quinn -- the way Atlantans did against the Saints when they lucked up and won that Super Bowl -- but those in Texas and Tennessee and California and Colorado and both Carolinas?

They just became Bird-lovers.

Because the Patriots, as great as they have been and are, aren't revered. They're reviled. There's that lingering suspicion that their coach and their franchise quarterback cheated along the way. Lose to Pete Carroll and you tip your hat. Lose to Belichick/Brady and you want to chew nails.

We'll have more about the matchup tomorrow, but the early lines have the Patriots as a three-point favorite. That's not much, and I'm betting, as it were, that it shrinks over the next fortnight. The Falcons just blew out Pete Carroll's team and then Aaron Rodgers'. They can win this game.

Further reading: A Super day - Atlanta domination, Atlanta validation.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley
Mark Bradley
Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.