Michael Cunningham

Sports columnist and blogger

Michael Cunningham is a sports columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010. He is the author of the AJC’s Mike Check blog.

Latest from Michael Cunningham

NFL’s final four shows great offense overcomes bad defense, a good sign for Falcons
 Sunday’s NFL conference championship games are the logical outcome of a league that has engineered more offense for years. For the first time, the top four teams in points scored during the season are playing for a trip to the Super Bowl.  There isn’t an elite defense among the Chiefs, Rams, Saints and Patriots. Kansas City...

Posted: 19 hours ago

Sunday’s NFL conference championship games are the logical outcome of a league that has engineered more offense for years. For the first time, the top four teams in points scored during the season are playing for a trip to the Super Bowl.  There isn’t an elite defense among the Chiefs, Rams, Saints and Patriots. Kansas City...
After dust settles on QB transfers, Georgia in good shape with Fromm
 The transfer portal opened wide in college football. A lot of talented quarterbacks rushed through it.  Jalen Hurts, formerly of Alabama, will now play at Oklahoma. Austin Kendall, backup to two Heisman Trophy QBs at Oklahoma, is headed to West Virginia.  Ex-Georgia quarterback Justin Fields left for Ohio State, prompting Tate Martell...

Posted: a day ago

The transfer portal opened wide in college football. A lot of talented quarterbacks rushed through it.  Jalen Hurts, formerly of Alabama, will now play at Oklahoma. Austin Kendall, backup to two Heisman Trophy QBs at Oklahoma, is headed to West Virginia.  Ex-Georgia quarterback Justin Fields left for Ohio State, prompting Tate Martell...
Braves still need an outfielder, NL East is better and pitchers and catchers report soon
 Pitchers and catchers report a month from now and the Braves still don’t have a third outfielder. Well, they have Adam Duvall, but he produced and played little after joining them last July. I suppose the Braves could put Johan Camargo out there, but he was to be their super sub infielder and if he’s not that means their depth...

Posted: 2 days ago

Pitchers and catchers report a month from now and the Braves still don’t have a third outfielder. Well, they have Adam Duvall, but he produced and played little after joining them last July. I suppose the Braves could put Johan Camargo out there, but he was to be their super sub infielder and if he’s not that means their depth...
Offseason upheaval status quo at Alabama, but it feels different this time
 A week ago, Clemson bludgeoned Alabama in the national championship game. Since then Alabama has been bleeding players and coaches.  Seven Alabama underclassmen have announced their intention to enter the NFL draft. Four Tide offensive assistants departed: offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, offensive line coach Brent Key, co-OC Josh...

Posted: 3 days ago

A week ago, Clemson bludgeoned Alabama in the national championship game. Since then Alabama has been bleeding players and coaches.  Seven Alabama underclassmen have announced their intention to enter the NFL draft. Four Tide offensive assistants departed: offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, offensive line coach Brent Key, co-OC Josh...
New Falcons coaches may help, but it’s still about the players
 I liked talking to Mike Nolan when he was Falcons’ defensive coordinator. He had the wry demeanor of a coach who’d been around the NFL forever and seen everything, which he had. Nolan’s father, Dick, played and coached in the NFL for nearly 40 years and the Falcons were Mike Nolan’s eighth NFL employer.  If you...

Posted: 8 days ago

I liked talking to Mike Nolan when he was Falcons’ defensive coordinator. He had the wry demeanor of a coach who’d been around the NFL forever and seen everything, which he had. Nolan’s father, Dick, played and coached in the NFL for nearly 40 years and the Falcons were Mike Nolan’s eighth NFL employer.  If you...
Clemson king of college football after crushing Crimson Tide  
 Clemson pushed around Alabama, college football’s big bully, in the national championship game Monday night. That just doesn’t happen to the Crimson Tide, not in a game like this.  Clemson coach Dabo Swinney outmaneuvered Nick Saban, who is perhaps the best college football coach of all time. Swinney was a wide receivers...

Posted: 11 days ago

Clemson pushed around Alabama, college football’s big bully, in the national championship game Monday night. That just doesn’t happen to the Crimson Tide, not in a game like this.  Clemson coach Dabo Swinney outmaneuvered Nick Saban, who is perhaps the best college football coach of all time. Swinney was a wide receivers...
Georgia has narrowed gap with Alabama. Clemson has a chance to pull even.
 Georgia’s claim as a threat to Alabama is staked on the thin margin of a handful of plays in postseason games the past two seasons. Bulldogs recruiting classes now rival Alabama’s. Georgia has Kirby Smart building a program in a similar mold as his former boss, Nick Saban.  What the Bulldogs do not have is a victory over...

Posted: 12 days ago

Georgia’s claim as a threat to Alabama is staked on the thin margin of a handful of plays in postseason games the past two seasons. Bulldogs recruiting classes now rival Alabama’s. Georgia has Kirby Smart building a program in a similar mold as his former boss, Nick Saban.  What the Bulldogs do not have is a victory over...
Nick Saban is legendary college football coach with that pesky NFL asterisk
 If Alabama beats Clemson in the national championship game Monday night, as it is favored to do, it will be coach Nick Saban’s seventh title. That would be one more than Bear Bryant. That would be one more reason many will consider Saban the best coach of all time.  If the Crimson Tide wins, I won’t be among them.  Saban...

Posted: 14 days ago

If Alabama beats Clemson in the national championship game Monday night, as it is favored to do, it will be coach Nick Saban’s seventh title. That would be one more than Bear Bryant. That would be one more reason many will consider Saban the best coach of all time.  If the Crimson Tide wins, I won’t be among them.  Saban...
Falcons football structure looks strange again
 Four years ago Falcons owner Arthur Blank hired Dan Quinn as head coach and de facto head of football operations and retained Thomas Dimitroff as general manager. It was a seemingly awkward fit that produced very good results. The Falcons were 8-8 during the rebuild of Year 1, NFC champions in Year 2 and won a road playoff game in Year 3...

Posted: 15 days ago

Four years ago Falcons owner Arthur Blank hired Dan Quinn as head coach and de facto head of football operations and retained Thomas Dimitroff as general manager. It was a seemingly awkward fit that produced very good results. The Falcons were 8-8 during the rebuild of Year 1, NFC champions in Year 2 and won a road playoff game in Year 3...
It’s a bad idea for Dan Quinn, shaky game manager, to add to his Falcons duties 
 It was an addendum to the big announcement. Falcons coach Dan Quinn dismissed his three coordinators, and by the way, “Quinn will assume the responsibility of defensive coordinator.”  That shouldn’t be an aside. It is just as significant as Quinn’s decision to can coordinators Steve Sarkisian, Marquand Manuel...

Posted: 17 days ago

It was an addendum to the big announcement. Falcons coach Dan Quinn dismissed his three coordinators, and by the way, “Quinn will assume the responsibility of defensive coordinator.”  That shouldn’t be an aside. It is just as significant as Quinn’s decision to can coordinators Steve Sarkisian, Marquand Manuel...
The Saints are big favorites to win Super Bowl. I don’t buy it.
 Bookmakers made the Saints heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl and, as of Monday afternoon, the betting market agreed. The Saints were getting 5-to-2 odds to win it all with Kansas City next at 9-to-2. The Rams (5-to-1) and Patriots (6-to-1) were relative long shots.  I get why the Saints (13-3) are the favorites to win it all. They...

Posted: 18 days ago

Bookmakers made the Saints heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl and, as of Monday afternoon, the betting market agreed. The Saints were getting 5-to-2 odds to win it all with Kansas City next at 9-to-2. The Rams (5-to-1) and Patriots (6-to-1) were relative long shots.  I get why the Saints (13-3) are the favorites to win it all. They...