Bijan Robinson shouts out Falcons fans following NFL debut

NFL: SEP 10 Panthers at Falcons

The Falcons are sitting over .500 for the first time in five years with a victory over the Panthers on Sunday. There was a lot of good — Jessie Bates III logged a pair of interceptions to go along with a forced fumble; Bijan Robinson scored the first touchdown of the season. However, there were some concerning things I took away.

The offense struggled in the first half, and Desmond Ridder didn’t push the ball down the field. Drake London ended the afternoon with no catches, but it doesn’t really matter when you win; it will matter if the Falcons lose, though.

One thing I took away had nothing to do with the game. It was the environment. Mercedes-Benz Stadium hasn’t had a threatening feeling since its inception, which makes sense considering how pitiful the Falcons have been since 2017 — i.e., just now getting over .500.

However, during last year’s season opener against the Saints, the crowd was raucous, but it steadily declined as the year went on. Towards the end of the season, Falcons fans were regularly outnumbered by opponents. It’s been a pathetic showing for years.

Fast forward to 2023, and there was reason to be optimistic about that changing. The Falcons could return to the postseason behind a star rookie in Bijan Robinson, who came away impressed with the fans and the home environment.

I was in attendance, and I don’t know if I totally agree. It was loud, but it doesn’t compare with the likes of Saints fans in the Dome, the 12th Man, or Chiefs fans.

It was loud, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nothing to write home about. The stadium wasn’t completely filled, and it is obvious why. The second and third levels were pretty packed, but it was the most expensive seats in the lower bowl around the 50-yard line that were less filled.

PSLs have driven prices up around the league, which is crazy for a Falcons team that has struggled to put butts in seats. It was a fun day, and the tailgating was awesome, but the environment could’ve been better in my experience. The Georgia Dome was loud; Sunday wasn’t, in my opinion.

Winning more should change that, though.

Photographer: John Adams/Icon Sportswire


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