Having followed the Atlanta Falcons for as long as I have, there are a number of different experiences that could qualify for a favorite memory. The first game I attended, meeting different players, a playoff game at the dome, watching big games at home with my family and friends, the 1998 Super Bowl team…any of these would be good choices. But, in my usual unorthodox style, I’m going with something much less obvious, and something that only a true blue fan would remember and appreciate. Two records are my favorite memory. No, not passing, rushing or sack records…but actual records, on 45 rpm.
It was 1980, the decade had just turned, and I was in the 8th grade at North Clayton Junior High School. By this time I was already a very passionate Falcons fan. My friends and I watched every game that was televised, and I even had my own red, white and black Falcons outfit that I wore to school every Friday during football season. The Falcons had made the playoffs for the first time in the 1978 season, and were perched to hopefully continue their success the following year. Prior to the ’79 Season, a local country artist named Steve Carlisle released a record entitled “Falcon Fever”, promising great things for that season. Sadly, the Falcons finished a disappointing 6-10, and the bold predictions of Carlisle’s record were for naught. (Listen here)
|There was a “Falcon Fever” long before Travis Tritt’s|
But there was a buzz in Atlanta in 1980. The birds were back and healthy. Bartkowski and company were serving notice that the Falcons were for real, and weren’t going away that quickly. The season started 3-3, but then things began to click. Four straight wins including an overtime victory against the St. Louis Cardinals had put the Falcons atop the NFC West, and Atlanta was ready to soar with a new found love for their team. “Falcon Fever” began to hit the town again, as well as the local airwaves. By November, Atlanta was beyond the fever pitch for the team, and once again a local musician wanted to capture the spirit. The trio of Elliot, Walter and Bennett had cut a nondescript Christmas record prior to the season beginning titled “The 12 Days of an Atlanta Falcons Christmas”. Set to the popular Christmas carol, using names of Falcons players for each day of Christmas. The record began getting serious radio time as the Falcons unprecedented season progressed. (Listen here)
The record was a huge success, as were the Falcons that season. But just as the intrepid trio’s verses on vinyl didn’t quite make it to the gold record level, nor did the Falcons quite make that Super Bowl appearance. But all in all, both of those records represent a special time in Falcons history for me, and a one of those parts of my childhood that I remember being the absolute happiest…until Danny White came in anyway.