Quick hits on the Atlanta Falcons

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
12:43
PM ET
The Atlanta Falcons, whose fans spent the season saying they don’t get enough media attention, are getting a ton of attention with the NFC Championship Game approaching. It’s coming out fast and furious, so let’s run through some of the highlights:
  • We usually stick with the nuts and bolts of football here. But, sometimes, there’s something outside the box that’s worth a look. That’s true in this video salute to the Falcons by The Georgia Aquarium.
  • The sports merchandise retail website Fanatics.com reports that sales of Falcons’ merchandise are up 120 percent this week. The website also says that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones jerseys have been among the week’s top-five sellers.
  • Jay Adams writes that kicker Matt Bryant’s success is a product of his pregame preparation. He’s always the first member of the Falcons out on the field before the game. I even once saw Bryant walking through a parking garage near the Georgia Dome about three hours before kickoff, wearing headphones. I thought about saying hello, but Bryant already looked as intense as he does before attempting a game-winning field goal.
  • Warrick Dunn, Tommy Nobis, Steve Bartkowski, Jeff Van Note and Jessie Tuggle will serve as honorary captains for the Falcons on Sunday.
  • Daniel Cox writes that Harry Douglas is a critical piece of the Atlanta receiving corps. That’s a good point. Roddy White and Jones get a lot of attention because they’re spectacular. But Douglas has some talent, too. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up playing a big role Sunday. San Francisco has to be concerned about White and Jones and that might leave Douglas with some favorable matchups.
  • Jen Floyd Engel writes that tight end Tony Gonzalez already has secured his legacy, even though he doesn’t have a Super Bowl championship. Gonzalez is the best tight end in history. But it sure would be a nice topper to his resume to get a Super Bowl ring.
  • Although a lot of people are saying the running ability of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick creates a mismatch, Pete Prisco writes that the Falcons have the tools to slow him down. They may have those tools, but they’re going to have to use them perfectly all game long. Kaepernick is so explosive that one mistake could prove very costly.
  • You might not have caught it, so here’s the link to our special page on the NFC Championship Game.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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