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The curse of being young is that you think you’ll be young forever, and then one day you wake up and realize you’re not anymore. That’s a bad day, and sort of what I imagine the Falcons are feeling right now. Recall that last year they beat the best team in football (the Seattle Seahawks) to advance to the NFC championship, only to squander a seventeen-point lead against San Francisco, which stopped the Falcons at the 49ers own ten-yard-line with the game on the line.
It is official: the $35 million design contract for the new Falcons stadium has been awarded to 360 Architecture of Kansas City, and from the design ideas already floated, it looks like Arthur Blank and the team will be getting a statement building alright. Just what will be stated is debatable.
Yet to those who root for pro sports (and, I hope, those who play them) the night felt unmistakably like a consolation prize. We were told repeatedly how lucky we are to be here in this world-class sports town. We were reminded that the New York media was against us. We were so showered with love and self-serving praise that you almost expected, say, a Boston sports fan to leave behind his seven titles in the last twelve years so he could come down and buy season tickets to half-empty Turner Field.
Forbes magazine’s much-anticipated 2013 Swimsuit Issue list of the world’s billionaires was published yesterday. Mexican telecommunications giant and all-around biz whiz Carlos Slim tops the roster with an estimated $73 billion fortune. Like my dad always said, “You’ll know you’ve made it when your next $100,000,000 goes to the right of the decimal point.”
So, according to the numbers-crunchers at Forbes, metro Atlanta is the sixteenth most miserable city in the country. Civic boosters should probably be thankful that the magazine dropped two of its misfortune indicators—pro sports and political corruption.
At halftime of yesterday’s Falcons-Seahawks playoff game, I ran into Thomas Lake, former Atlanta magazine writer and now Sports Illustrated senior editor. The latest issue of SI has a great story by Tom about his unrequited love for the Falcons over the past twenty years, how the unflagging devotion he’s had for the team has ended, without exception, in disappointment. Would this year be different?