ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15: Fans wiat outside to enter the stadium to watch the Atlanta Falcons play against the Green Bay Packers during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Would a new, open-air Atlanta Falcons stadium really demonstrate a commitment to fielding a better NFL franchise?
It's come to our attention that your committee has begun an official consideration of a possible new downtown stadium for the city's NFL franchise. That's big news! As anyone in government development knows, an agreement to meet to consider a proposal to be presented for consideration is just the kind of aimless, snail's pace bureaucracy that's built Atlanta into the worldwide example of cohesive urban planning we know it to be.
Certainly the core identity of your professional franchise - they're nicknamed the Falcons, and I can provide additional literature on particulars if required - would change greatly if they were moved from the Georgia Dome, their current home of over two decades, to a possible outdoor facility.
We'll pause here to celebrate just how much of a "home" the GWCCA's Dome has been all these years! In the halcyon days of 1991, nothing said "We're willing to tolerate eight professional football games a year in order to court the IOC's selection committee and/or the Bronner Bros. Hair Show" quite like those noncommittal teal seats and that burgundy color scheme in the facade. It only took 15 years to incorporate any facet of the Falcons' identity into the building - and take that, irremovable Tampa Bay pirate ship - we got red seats!
(We've also been told that the move to an open-air facility would help lure a possible MLS franchise to Atlanta. That's also exciting! Niche sports have always done so well here!)
You're about to be a very busy-looking committee: State-of-the-art stadium design has become de rigueur around the NFL, and you'll have many concerns and possibilities to address. Luckily, one of those won't be overwhelming demand from in-market NFL fans: You've likely already discovered that unlike markets such as Dallas and New York, you're faced with an overwhelming dearth of tradition and interest comparatively. In a citywide poll conducted after the team's recent 13-4 season, 45 percent of Atlanta residents believed that the Falcons were a discontinued line of athletic "fashion" apparel or a Lingerie League expansion team.
That's due to a large influx of residents we've affectionately coined as "godforsaken Yankee vampire transplants," to the sprawling Atlanta Metroplex, as well as decades of fan apathy under the mismanagement of the Smith family's ownership, and, from a broader perspective, less regional support due to a smaller population density in the Southern United States.
Since it's doubtful any of you are Georgians - or Southerners - by birth, our region's historically agrarian economy begat a bloody military conflict centuries earlier that crippled all economic development unrelated to stock car racing. (I'll spare you the details on that war, but never trust a goddamn Cylon. Seriously.) This, along with a small but fervent organized religion conducting similar activities on Saturdays (don't bother with it - they don't even do it Massachusetts!), has made Southern pro football a tough sell.
There are options. Some cities with similarly forgettable pro football franchises - like Seattle - greatly benefitted from a switch out of the multi-purpose dome and into to a football-centric outdoor facility built with NFL games in mind. Even though the Seahawks have enjoyed on-field success and increased regional interest by employing noise-capturing architecture to create a home field advantage (not to mention conveniently placed "invincibility stars" from a local business), we'd never suggest you take cues from socialist Canada. They're probably doing un-Christian things with a tree at this very moment.
This is Atlanta, a sports town defined half-empty cathedrals of forgettable, generic design. Decades of mediocrity have us convinced you'll deliver something irrelevant to advancing the cause of the Falcons' success, because that's what Atlanta does. Despite our blind faith in your committee, we've included a few design suggestions:
Jumbotrons: But like, on the roof On game days these screens can bypass NFL blackout restrictions and allow a large majority of Buckhead to view the game from a 25 mile radius, including I-85 South. When the facility isn't in use, these boards can
display connection delay information for all Delta terminals at Hartsfield Airport. As America boldly marches through its third century, our cities will rewrite their own identities. Ours will be domestic air travel that involves at least one connecting flight.
Northeastern "F*****' Fun Fan" Pavillions As equally effective and humane as a Japanese beetle trap, these in-stadium pavilions (designed to resemble the parking lot of a Yonkers T.G.I.Fridays) will allow the 35 remaining native Georgians to enjoy Falcons games in peace. Your Rochester-bred Alpharetta neighbors can proudly wear opposing team gear while they enjoy head-butting contests, van dyke grooming seminars and a closed circuit broadcast of Bruce Springsteen's 1988 "Tunnel Of Love Express" Tour. Oh, and ball pits!
Moats Why? Perhaps a means of ensuring a safe haven structure for the survivors of a zombie plague? A tastefully landscaped reserve for North Georgia's ailing water tablet? Or just a potential tailgating scenario involving bumper boats? I think you've answered your own question, sirs.
The Caucasian Underground News reports have indicated your proposed site wouldn't be adjacent to a current MARTA station, so why not start from scratch? This proposes a light rail system linking the new stadium directly to various Courtyard by Marriot locations in adjoining Atlanta suburbs. Atlanta has long been the home for college sporting events, and this rail system could entice skittish Southern whites to approach (and, given time, even nuzzle) downtown Atlanta. Consider advertising to Lexington-area Kentucky boosters attending future SEC sporting events the luxury of bypassing any possible social interaction with minorities not safely identified by a basketball uniform or horse groomer's ensemble.
Triple A Gwinnett Falcons Stadium Located 10 to 15 miles away, this stadium would service fans constrained by the potential 30-minute journey to the Dome on a Sunday afternoon. If you can't beat the burbs, join ‘em!
But what will come of the Georgia Dome? Obviously it's no coincidence that the SEC just re-upped their agreement to hold the championship game in Atlanta through 2017, the exact year that the proposed new park would open. Since our country reveres its former sports venues with the same gracious consideration we give our elderly relatives, a decade of neglect followed by a locally broadcast implosion would seem to be in order.
Trust us -- it's better to simply destroy a building dangerously depleted of luxury boxes rather than market it, or even finish paying off the bonds for its construction. Look at Detroit: Abandoned stadiums are creepy*.
(*The only thing creepier than an abandoned stadium? A flooded amusement park. Sooner or later Hollywood's torture porn auteurs will realize that if you're trying to justify copious amounts of wanton violence as a statement on American consumerism, have your lead villain blowtorch someone's genitals off in a partially submerged indoor roller coaster -- it works on so many levels! And let's face it: the root cellar of a Slavic whorehouse has become cliche.)
In closing, we have complete confidence you'll extend the exact same effort, vision and drive you've allotted to Atlanta's pro sports franchises for the last three decades.
Atlanta Falcons fans