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No quit in Falcons
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Forsyth County News
Moral victories in the NFL? Please.

“I feel like we had a shot, but we didn’t get it done,” said Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez after Sunday’s 26-23 loss to the undefeated Saints. “I can’t speak for the whole team, but I don’t care for moral victories,” Gonzalez continued, as transcribed at

“I’ve been a part of games like this before, and you can’t make the playoffs with moral victories.”

True enough. But there’s certainly no harm in putting things into perspective. In fact, that’s usually a good thing.

Coming on the heels of last year’s miraculous 11-5 season, a certain giddiness awaited this year’s Falcons. Surely another playoff appearance would be in the offing.  

After all, the brilliant quarterback was a year older, the barreling running back a year wiser, and the entire offense upgraded with the addition of Gonzalez. Surely, this offense would carry a young, retooled defense until it emerged as a dependable unit.

And where are we now? The quarterback and running back are hurt, the defense can’t stop a gap, and the playoffs have been kissed goodbye.

This team must run the table over the final three weeks just to finish 9-7.

While we fans know what a herculean achievement that would be, that’s not the type of thing the pros play for.

But the point is, they’re still playing.

Last week the Falcons were destroyed by the Eagles. Humiliated. That debacle seemed the culmination of a season of setbacks.

You half expected the Falcons to pack it in. Nothing against this bunch. It’s just that we’ve been conditioned by watching their predecessors play for lo these many years.

In fact, we got a vivid reminder of those dark days after one of Sunday’s games. Did you happen to notice that the Texans drilled the Seahawks, 34-7? Are you aware that the Seahawks are now 5-8?

And are you aware that their coach is none other than ex-Falcon coach Jim Mora the Younger?

There he was Sunday at his post game press conference, reminding us of how it used to be:

“As discouraged as after any game in my career,” ranted Mora, quoted by Clare Farnsworth. That’s really saying something, coach. “We’re going to take a microscope and look at everything.

“Number one, I’m not happy at all with the way our offensive line is playing. We didn’t protect Matt (quarterback Hasselbeck) a lick. I’m not going to say he’s okay, because no one can stand there and get punished the way he did and be okay. I can promise you there will be changes.
We will make them even at this late stage of the season.

“Number two, we’re going to find out about some people over the next three weeks. As slim as our playoff aspirations were, they were there.
They’re not there anymore. Now, we’re going to find out who deserves to be part of the process going forward.”

Don’t you miss him?

Didn’t think so.

Now, compare Mora’s diatribe with the comments emanating from the Falcons locker room, again as transcribed at

“I really can’t tell you how proud I am,” said coach Mike Smith, “of how, not just the 45 guys that dressed out, but the 53 guys on our roster and practice squad that prepared this week to go play a very good football team.

“It’s a resilient group. I’ve been saying that all season long. I like the way we hung in there. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted and we fought through some adversity throughout the game.

“Those guys fought their tails off.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Jason Snelling. “This team has a lot of resolve. Even in the games where we come up short, we always keep fighting. That is the mentality that we have, and coach Smith expects nothing less.

“Coach Smith takes a lot of pride in coaching, and we rally around that. We kept fighting out there, and kept it close, but we came up short in the end.”

“We’re never going to quit,” echoed Gonzalez. “Our ability to never quit is indicative to the style of coaching that coach Smith brings to the team. We’re playing football. Quitting is unacceptable for this team.”

“The team never quits and that showed in this game,” said John Abraham. “We’re going to try and do the best we can these last three games. Hopefully, we’ll get these last three wins.”

“We fought all the way until the end,” said Chris Redman. “We had confidence in each other. It was a good game, and it was evident that everybody gave it their all.

“We are going to continue to prepare and play hard throughout these last three games. I think these guys are a special group. We will not stop fighting.”

It sounds unanimous. Clearly the Falcons have learned something priceless through their adversity. Maybe not a moral victory, but a victory nonetheless.