A loss to the Carolina Panthers last weekend might have given some credence to the pundits and analysts who called into question the legitimacy of the Atlanta Falcons' 11 wins to start their season, a complaint the Falcons themselves were used to hearing.
But after a convincing victory over the New York Giants Sunday, the Falcons are embracing the doubters and want to continue to prove them wrong.
"We love the haters, man," Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel told FOX Sports after the game. "The haters keep us going, so just keep the hate coming. We love it. It makes us play with a chip on our shoulder. We love it."
That confidence was shared around the Falcons locker room, as veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez made sure to point out that the media's disbelief in the Falcons wasn't fazing the team.
"We're not going to let anybody mess with our focus or our psyche," Gonzalez said. "We know the reality of it, and I understand it. I understand why the media doesn't have the stomach to pick us, to get on that bandwagon, but it doesn't matter to us anyway."