A-Town Down(ed)

IMG_4591“Someone should really introduce the’I need tickets’ guy to the guy next to him selling tickets” said my friend Kinney as we were pulling up the Georgia Dome for the big Jets/Falcons Monday Night Football face off. I’m a resident of Atlanta, so this is the first real Jets “home” game for me in a while.
IMG_4593 IMG_4609 Outside we didn’t notice many Jets fans, it was a stark contrast to the river of green Jets fans flowing down Nashville’s Broadway before the game last week. IMG_4618 IMG_4623 Ok, this guy is being a little harsh.IMG_4624 I’m a connoisseur of Fake Rick Rosses and this guy was about as good as they come.IMG_4630 Inside there was a surprisingly large Jets contingent.

IMG_4631 (Welcome to Atlanta instrumental)

IMG_4636 Whoa, craft beer ice cream? I had a beer milkshakes at a Charleston Riverdogs game recently, it wasn’t great and had less alcohol content in it than Tim Tebow, so I passed on this.IMG_4637 You can’t get more Georgia than a hunter camo Julio Jones jersey.IMG_4643 IMG_4654 The Falcons came out to a huge pyrotechnic display.IMG_4659 I have to give the Georgia Dome credit for their fast wifi. More stadiums need to step their wifi game up.IMG_4662In 1969 (when the Falcons were 3 years old), Samuel L Jackson was living it Atlanta and going to Morehouse College (which is less than a mile from the Georgia Dome). He became a Black Militant and held the Morehouse College Board of Trustees (including Martin Luther King SR) hostage one time. Now he’s the spokesman for Atlanta’s NFL franchise. That’s a big come up.

IMG_4692 Speaking of big come up’s, Jeff Cumberland was having a great game. Here he is securing Geno Smith’s first touchdown pass of the night.IMG_4700I’ve been to the Georgia Dome twice and both times I’ve been appalled by the food served there. This time I noticed that they imported some local eateries. The Spotted Trotter is well known local “Charcuterie Boutique” who makes and sells amazing sausages, pates, cured meats, jerky and (my personal favorite) dry aged steaks. I was very happy to see them with a limited sausage menu at the Georgia Dome. Other local imports I noticed were Genki Noodle House (I really wanted the Japanese BBQ ribs noodle bowl) and Chops Steakhouse.

Georgia Dome, I salute you. 

IMG_4703 IMG_4710 IMG_4715Here’s Geno’s second TD pass. He hit Jeremy Kerley in space who was able to elude defenders and dive for the pylon.

Geno was having a good game. He was poised in the pocket and throwing strikes to a rag tag, injury report listed, corps of pass catchers.

The Jets defensive stand on the goal line at the end of the first half was epic. Unfortunately for me, I was completely on the other side of the field so I couldn’t get photos of it. Such are the perils of playing end zone roulette.
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Here’s the Falcon’s owner, Arthur Blank, who also moonlights as the owner of The Home Depot and as a Count Chocula look alike.
IMG_4729 I hope Geno isn’t listening to what Mark Sanchez is telling him, at this point he’s like “Mush” from “A Bronx Tale”IMG_4737 Here Mo Wilkerson performs a text book drive by strip sack of Matt Ryan. It would go on to be the only turnover of the game.IMG_4761 In the second half, the offense stalled out and Julio Jones made some terrifying forays deep into the Jets secondary but was never able to land the knockout punch against the surprisingly combustable Antonio Cromartie.IMG_4767 It was a nervous time for Jets fans at the Falcons were steadily coming back.IMG_4770 I noticed the time was 11:11 so I made a wish that the Jets would win. I’m not superstyitious but i felt like it couldn’t hurt. At least I’m not those people who set their phone alarms to 11:10 so they can tweet a happy 11:11 to everyone.IMG_4775 The Falcons moved the ball on Jets with surprising ease and in the last few minutes they were in the red zone looking for a TD that would give them a 1 point lead. IMG_4784On 4th down, Matt Ryan threw an incompletion that would have ended the game but there was a pink flag on the ground (I’m being serious here) and they were bailed out by a very sketchy defensive holding call.
IMG_4786 With their ill gotten new life, the Falcons scored on a Ryan to Tolulo pass.IMG_4788With less than two minutes left, the Jets made the decision to send one of their most elusive players, Antonio Cromartie, to return the kick. It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood NFL memories, when the Vikings were in a crucial spot and had Randy Moss return the Chief’s punt. He roasted the Chiefs punt coverage with a 64 yard return touchdown.

A very deep kick off robbed us of seeing what Cro could do.
IMG_4790 The Jet’s hopes rested on their rookie QB, Geno Smith. In his first four games, Geno lead the Jets on two game winning drives. Could he make it three of five?IMG_4791 IMG_4795Geno was cooler than Bill Belichick’s heart as he stood tall in the pocket, completing all four of his passes and marching the Jets into field goal range. His poise was amazing.
IMG_4796Nick “The Folk Hero” Folk came out and drilled a 43 yard field goal as the Jets fans in the stadium erupted.

Like myself, Nick Folk is half Austrian. What is unknown to many, is that there is a rich history of Austrian kickers in the NFL. Back in 1971, Cowboys coach Tom Landry decided he was going to seek strong legged European soccer players to be the Cowboys’ kicker. His first stop was Vienna and ended up signing Toni Fritsch who would go on to be the kicker for the 1972 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl win. 

Ten years later fellow Austrian kicker Ray Wersching would tie a record by hitting four field goals in the 49ers Super Bowl victory. Three years later he would win another ring with the 49ers.

Hopefully Nick can continue the legacy of his half countrymen and get a ring of his own. 

If you want the most in depth break down of what happened in this game (and every other Jets game ever), check out the work from TheJetsBlog.com’s Bent.
IMG_4803The newly retired Ray Lewis, back in a city where he almost lost his freedom 13 years ago.

IMG_4804 Afterwards, gleeful Jets fans crowded around the Monday Night Crew, wallowing in glee. J E T S chants echoed throughout the Georgia Dome (Along with the occasional “We love you Suzy Kolber”).

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There’s nothing like post game partying in the stands after a road win. Just head over to the visitor sideline and you will probably get on Sports Center.IMG_4817IMG_4824 Cold blooded.IMG_4827The Falcons season lies in ruin (we would later learn that Julio Jones sustained a season ending foot injury) while the Jets used this very public stage to force the rest of the country to take them seriously. IMG_4830 On the walk to a cab, my friend Tony rolled his ankle.IMG_4837 And was somehow able to parlay that into a foot massage at the bar. It was a great nights to be a Jets fan.IMG_4839We celebrated one of my Best friend, Emmett Shine’s birthday at The Octopus Bar in East Atlanta, purveyors of literally the best food in Atlanta. Their late night hours (10.30 PM – 2 AM). Thanks Nhan and Angus.3IMG_4841My friends left the next day. I’m still here, surrounded by Falcons fans who can’t say anything to me for the next couple of years. Thank you Jets for making my life better.

I may turn up at the Jets game in Cincinnati in a few weeks, it’s the one game a year that the legendary Jets fan The Grifter and his crew travel to. It’s one of the funnest times I have all year. Follow me on Twitter

My photos from every Jets game last year