My name is A.J. Pyle and I have been a Falcons fan for 25 years. I know that sounds like an AA meeting starter, but that is what it is like. I lived through the bad years (very bad) and enjoyed the good years (1999). Living in Kansas I was constantly bombarded with people questioning my allegiance to the Falcons and not the Chiefs, but my love for Atlanta never faltered. My Uncle turned me on to the Falcons when I was ten, and I never looked back. Today, at 7:00 a.m. (Central time) I woke up feeling nervous. I know that playing at Arrowhead Stadium is hard for any team. Never the less, my girlfriend and I got dressed and drove to the stadium. Dawn (my girlfriend) grew up being a Chiefs fan, but was torn as to whom she was going to root for. But, when she walked down the stairs at 8:00 wearing the Falcons shirt I bought her, I almost cried.
When we arrived, it took us almost thirty minutes (and thirty dollars, ironically) to get parked. Looking at the huge Arrowhead sign in the distance caused my heart to speed up. I have been to Chief’s games before and let me tell you, if you have never been, you must try to make it. The atmosphere is electric and even if you are not a fan, you need to appreciate the love and dedication these people have for their team. We parked and had some food and drinks before walking towards the stadium. We saw a few fellow fans walk by, but mostly we were by ourselves. After our tailgating twosome, we made our way to the stadium. We encountered “boos” and yells of “Falcons Suck!” as we walked to our gate. I just laughed it off and told Dawn, “we will let them talk all they want before the game, but WE will get the last word in after it is over.”
Our seats were great, thirty rows up on about the twenty yard line behind the Falcons bench. I wanted to go to the rail and take some close up pictures, but never made it down there. I was wearing black in a sea of red and yellow. All the Chief’s fans were great (I had a good conversation with the man next to me all game). The first half was exciting because I wanted a close game, for a while (like my girlfriend, I am also a fan of the Chiefs except when they play the Falcons).
I will be honest. I was still nervous at half time. I went to have a smoke and listened to Chief’s fans talk trash saying things like “we’ll come back,” or “the second half is our’s.” I laughed and smiled while inside I was trembling thinking of the possibility that we could be walking back to the car after an NFL upset. Shame on me for doubting the ability of the best team in the NFC.
The second half started out great and I was ecstatic when toward the end of the third quarter (Cassel’s second interception) I saw many Chief’s fans leaving the game. I stood up feeling like a conquering war general as I stood alone in section 135. The game ended with a decisive Falcons victory and I walked back to my car with my head held high. I didn’t say anything to anyone because the scoreboard did the talking for me.
The Falcons had the last word on the day, and Dawn and I were left alone for the rest of the trip. All I have to say is, is that I am impressed with how the fans treated the opposing fans, and there is no chance that I will be nervous again for the rest of the year. We will have some loses this year (I am saying four), but we are the Atlanta Falcons, and WE can Rise above any adversity. GO FALCONS!!!!!