January 1, 2017, Atlanta: Former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and owner Arthur Blank greet each other and exchange hugs on the sidelines before the Falcons play the Saints on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Here’s what Arthur Blank had to say about inviting Michael Vick

Here’s what Falcons owner Arthur Blank had to say after the win over the Saints:

Opening Statement:

“I’ll make this really brief. I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions. I just want to extend my congratulations to all of our fans, to Atlanta, and to all of the players in this locker room. I just want to take a moment and thank all of the players and coaches that were here today. Our tradition is based on a lot of history and they are a part of that history. We appreciate deeply everything that they have committed to us over the history of our franchise. It’s an exciting day for Atlanta. We will be back here in a couple of weeks and we will see who will play. I’ll be happy to take any questions.”

On the success of this season in the Georgia Dome and going into Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

“It’s been a great season. We’re thrilled with that and we’re thrilled with being here in the Georgia Dome. We’re looking forward to being in our new stadium. I also should say that we’ve had a great relationship with the [Georgia World] Congress Center over the past fifteen years that I’ve owned the team and represented the fans in ownership. It’s been an exciting fifteen years and the Congress Center has been a great partner. The Georgia Dome has been a great place to play ball and we’ve got more games coming up this season.”

Former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and owner Arthur Blank greet each other on the sidelines before the Falcons play the Saints on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Atlanta. 
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

On the decision to invite Michael Vick back, and discussion of his potential retirement as a Falcon:

“Well, Mike obviously has a great history with us, a great history with this franchise and he’s an important player in our history. We wanted him to attend today and we’re glad that he did attend. We had close to thirty players and coaches here today. Michael played an important part in my ownership period and an important part of the history of our franchise. He was thrilled to be here today and I think our fans, based on what I saw and felt, were excited to see him as well.”

On the job Dan Quinn has done as head coach this season:

“Well, to be in the position we’re in not only winning the division but having the number two seed and to have the opportunity for a first-round bye, it’s very, very exciting. Dan has been everything that I had hoped for and everything that our city and our players had hoped for so we’re thrilled about the job that Dan, Thomas [Dimitroff] and the entire organization has done. Dan talks about a brotherhood and it really is a brotherhood, a brotherhood for everybody in the building.“

On whether he really believed this was a playoff team at the beginning of the season:

“I really did. I felt that the team last year progressed a lot over the year before and I felt the momentum with the coaching staff and a lot of the players. I saw the work that Matt [Ryan] was putting in as Dan was eluding to, and that Kyle Shanahan was putting in working with Matt. I saw the effort on the defensive side of the ball. I saw free agency and the draft picks that we had. I saw them grow year over year. I saw the quality of the draft picks that we had and have seen them play and mature over the year. So I felt very good about the team, but this is a tough league. You’re playing against a lot of great players and a lot of great teams. My youngest son is here and he was nervous [during the game] and kept asking why the first team was still in there. I said ‘because the game ain’t over until the game is over, particularly when you’re playing against the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees.’ We’re excited to be where we are and look forward to the next couple of weeks.”

On who he thinks is the MVP today:

“Well, I think It’s a team game. I’d say Matt [Ryan] in my opinion because I’m biased. I look at the MVP selection process over the league and I think that Matt is the MVP of the National Football League. However, having said that, Dan and all of the coaches preach that this is a team game. So I would collectively give them all a team ball if you will.“

On the progress with Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

“It’s in a really good place. The Legend players had a chance to visit this morning and they were in awe and amazed, and we are as well. I think Atlanta is and will be [amazed]. It will be open this summer and we are as excited as we can be. We’ve invited opposing team’s ownership and management to go through the stadium and they’ve been very positive about what they’ve seen, so we are in a good place and look forward to opening up this summer.”

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