About a week ago Big Daddy got a voicemail at work from a reporter at our local newspaper. When he called the guy back, I bet they had to scrape him up off the office floor. Big Daddy has been a going to Atlanta Falcons’s football games since he has 18 years old. He’s had those Season Tickets longer than he’s had me.
And that’s saying something.
We live and breathe it at our house on Sunday’s during football season. We live and die by those scores. We drive down and back, 14 hour days , in all kinds of weather to see as many games as we can, every year. Big Daddy said it best when said, “Every game is an away game for us.”
Below is the article about us and our wonderful, beautiful friend George who guts it out with us. this is another little peek in to my private life, be it ever so crazy!
Lord, George I pray you are right.
Birds of a feather: Falcons have super fans, friends in Asheville, Greenville
Early in a recent phone conversation about his lifelong passion for the Atlanta Falcons, John Davis apologized for his scratchy throat.
“I’m not sick, and I don’t have that croupy thing that’s going around,” the Asheville resident said. “I lost my voice yelling in the NFC championship game in the Georgia Dome, and it’s just now coming back to where I can talk.”
Davis waited a long time to shout like that.
The Jan. 22 victory against Green Bay marked the first time in Atlanta’s 51-year NFL history that the Falcons punched their Super Bowl ticket by winning a home game. For Davis, who has been a season-ticket holder since 1984, that meant a whole lot of frustrating Sunday night trips home to Western North Carolina.
Greenville resident George Turmon, a longtime friend of Davis, said the long wait made this year’s Super Bowl journey all the sweeter. Turmon has been a season-ticket holder since 1991.
“Over the first 25 years I was a season-ticket holder, I’d always say, ‘Wait ‘til next year,’ ” Turmon said. “For the first time, I can say, ‘Now is the time!’ ”
Indeed it is. Atlanta has a tough task ahead against four-time Super Bowl champ New England on Sunday in Houston. It’s only the second time Atlanta has qualified for the big game; the Falcons won at Minnesota in early 1999 to qualify for that year’s Super Bowl, where they lost to Denver.
In the days leading up to this year’s big game, two of the Falcons’ most devoted out-of-state fans are savoring every moment.
Davis clearly remembers the day he fell in love with the Falcons: Aug. 30, 1975.
That’s the day his father, Frank, took him to see Atlanta host the New York Jets in a preseason game.
“We were in Atlanta staying at the Marriott hotel, and the Jets pulled up,” Davis said. “Joe Namath stepped off the bus, and the other players got out; I got to meet all of them and got their autographs. It’s a wonder I didn’t become a Jets’ fan. My dad said, ‘Let’s go to the game tomorrow.’ The rest is history. I’ve loved the Falcons ever since.”
So much so that he made a promise to himself: “As soon as I’m old enough and making my own money, I’m going to get season tickets.” He honored that commitment when he turned 18 and got tickets to all eight of the Falcons’ home games.
That was 12 years before the Carolina Panthers played their first game, and Davis never considered changing allegiances.
“My father would have never forgiven me,” he said.
Turmon, meanwhile, became a fan during his college years while majoring in physical therapy. The Wren High product played basketball and baseball at Georgia State and worked with Falcons players while doing his physical therapy internship.
He got hooked watching the playmaking abilities of Deion Sanders from 1989-93.
“You hear people say all the time, ‘Michael Vick built the Georgia Dome,’ ” Turmon said, referring to Atlanta’s thrill-a-minute quarterback from 2001-06. “But Deion Sanders is the guy who built the Georgia Dome; he changed Atlanta sports for me. … He was my favorite athlete out there. He got it done.”
When Davis bought his first set of season tickets, they went for $10 a pop.
They’re now $85 per ticket for next year – the first in the Falcons’ new stadium – and that’s not even counting the Personal Seat License fees.
“When they went up to $17, I got really upset,” Davis said with a chuckle. “Seriously, though, it’s tough. It’s a lot of money. I’m not wealthy. Plus there’s gas, food and time. It’s a 14-hour day when you consider the round trip involved. It’s not always feasible. For a Monday night game, I have to take off a day and a half for vacation. For me, every game is a road trip.”
The challenge of rising ticket prices and a shared love for the Falcons is what forged Davis’ friendship with Turmon.
Both were working in the Asheville area: Davis with Graybar electrical supply and Turmon with the Eaton Corporation, a power management company.
“One of our outside salesmen told me about (Davis) being a Falcons season-ticket holder,” Turmon said. “When they moved to the Georgia Dome, my tickets went from $1,000 for two seats to $2,000 for one seat. So we said, ‘Let’s just split this.’”
So they drove down to games together until each decided to go back to being independent ticket holders a few years back. Their seats this season were still just a few feet apart on the front row of section 317 – and each has reserved tickets in the new stadium for next season.
Davis and Turmon even bought the actual Georgia Dome seats they sat in for years and are having them shipped to their respective houses.
There have been 20 losing seasons since John Davis purchased his first season tickets, but he’s never wavered in his devotion. He now goes to games with his wife Paige, a Falcons fan since she was 15, and received a jersey from linebacker Buddy Curry after attending her first game.
“I slept in it until it wore out,” Paige Davis said.
Having such a devoted fellow fan to attend Falcons games with has been a joy for John Davis, who said Paige “really is my wing woman.”
Not every trip has yielded a thrilling victory, and some losses over the years stung worse than others. But the sheer joy of this year’s Super Bowl run heals old wounds.
“Four years ago, in the only other championship game in (the Georgia Dome), we blew a 17-point lead and ultimately came up seven yards shy of the Super Bowl,” Davis said. “It broke me. I thought we might never get back. But I never quit getting season tickets. So winning last week meant everything.
“This team has no quit in them,” he said. “They don’t let anything get them down; they just kept on going. I can’t tell you my emotions. I know it’s just a game, but I’ve been making that drive for 32 years. It was tough last year because everybody around here is a Panthers fan, and they were all excited when Carolina made the Super Bowl. So this is extra special for me this year.”
Turmon is optimistic about Sunday’s game. The baseball coach at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, Turmon has led his team to three state titles and sees something familiar in the way the Falcons are playing.
“They pass the eye test,” Turmon said. “You ask yourself, ‘Where’s the weakness?’ The offense is the most explosive team in the NFL. So (the weakness) is not there. So you ask, ‘Can the defense do what you need them to do?’ And now Dan Quinn comes in with schemes with defense so they don’t look the same every time they do something. So they pass the eye test.”
Blogs I love!