Herschel Walker

January 15, 2011 by staff 

Herschel Walker, Bart Starr. Lambeau Field. Ray Nitschke. Titletown USA. Reggie White. Heck, they even called the Super Bowl trophy after the most famous coach of Green Bay.

Yep, the Packers are just oozing with tradition.

The Atlanta Falcons? Not so much.

“We are fairly new on the block,” said Roddy White, the Falcons’ Pro Bowl receiver. “We always try to prove ourselves. You have to go and win playoff games. That’s what this league is all about.”

The Falcons (13-3) are the top seed in the NFC playoff position in the game of the division on Saturday night against Green Bay (11-6). Atlanta just needs to win two more games – both at the Georgia Dome, where the team is 20-4 over the last three seasons – to reach the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history.

The first, Atlanta will get a franchise with a much more impressive resume over the long term.

The Packers have won a record 12 NFL titles, three more than any other franchise, which includes a bonus three Super Bowls victories. Compare this with the Falcons, who managed only four division titles in 45 years and have lost their only Super Bowl in 1999. In fact, Atlanta has never put together back to back winning seasons to its current run of three in a row.

When it comes to Star Power, Green Bay is about as good as it gets. The franchise has 21 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and surely at least one more on the way Brett Favre, who started his career with the Falcons, but was traded, in one of the great blunders of the game staff. The Packers’ list includes the great coach Vince Lombardi, whose influence on the game was so deep in the NFL has put his name on the championship trophy shortly after his death in 1970.

Nobody thought to call a trophy after those of the Falcons. Heck, the team has yet to send even a player in Canton, the best he can do is Eric Dickerson and Tommy McDonald, two Hall of Fame who played briefly for the end of their Atlanta career. And when it comes to coaches, team logo with the odd bird cannot come close to Lombardi or Curly Lambeau, who guided the Packers to their first six NFL titles in 1930 and 40.

OK, the Falcons have hired one of Lombardi’s assistants, Norb Hecker, as their first head coach in 1966. But his record is very anti-Vince-like 4-26-1, which pretty much sums up the gap between these two franchises.

“This organization there, they have done for a long time,” Roddy White. “They almost won the Super Bowl trophy on behalf of their team and their coach. So they have been very good tradition. They have done many good things in this league. ”

The Packers insist they are impatient, but there is no doubt that they have an eye on their legacy. Green Bay has not won a Super Bowl since the 1996 season. Packers long as drivers, receiver Donald is quite long.

“We all know exactly what is in front of us,” said Driver. “We want this trophy. It is named after us. We need to go home where he belongs.”

Although he grew up in Georgia, Packers defensive lineman Jarius Wynn never really cheered for the Falcons. There were not many reasons, given their backgrounds.

“It was really hard to be a Falcons fan,” said Wynn.

He played his college ball for the Georgia Bulldogs, a team with great history and securities. However, it does not match what he found in Green Bay.

“We had a tradition dating back Herschel Walker to win the national championship,” Wynn said of his team in college. “But here is a whole new level.”

Fortunately for the Falcons, Saturday’s game is not played in a history book. They won the home field advantage for only the second time and intend to enjoy it. They will not have to worry about; Lombardi calling one of his famous scans. Starr or sneak into an end zone for the winning touchdown cold.

This game will be played indoors in the comfort of 72 degrees from the Georgia Dome, contested by players who were not even born when these guys were dominant professional football in front of a crowd mostly dressed in red who helped turn the Falcons into a team virtually unbeatable on his own domain.

“None of that matters,” Falcons safety William Moore said. “When the lights come up, players of the past do not play that night. It is simply about who will go out and play ball that night. ”

Atlanta has played a ball well since the new regime – the Director General Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith – took over in 2008. Quickly rebound from a miserable season in which quarterback Michael Vick franchise went to prison and coach Bobby Petrino left the team after just 13 games, the Falcons made the playoffs as a wildcard in Year 1 of what each multiseason figured would be a rebuilding job.

Injury scuttled a round trip to the playoffs in 2009, but the Falcons removed another stigma of their sad history by winning the last three games to go 9-7 – the first winner of consecutive seasons for the franchise.

Now it’s three in a row, with the best record in the NFC for good measure. Nothing less than the title of the Super Bowl will be considered a disappointment for a team of offensive stars (White, quarterback Matt Ryan, tight end Tony Gonzalez, running back Michael Turner) and many will and-comers on defense.

“This would of course be on a banner in the Dome,” Moore said.

Even with all their success, the Falcons still feel a bit neglected, and certainly underestimated. Of course, they are favored against the Packers, but many people are picking Green Bay in surprise.

“I can not even turn on the TV without someone said we’re going to be an outsider. We are an outsider 13-3, “Falcons Pro Bowl fullback Ovie Mughelli said.” I love it. I love being the underdog. I do not like all the credit. Force yourself respected in the field with your game. ”

This is the way to build a tradition.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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