cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
Broken Clouds
H 82° L 60°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H NaN° L 59°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    Partly Cloudy. H NaN° L 59°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    Chance of T-storms. H 82° L 60°

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Is this truly -- and finally -- Atlanta's time?

HOUSTON -- 51 years is a long time.

51 years ago, my dad was nine years old. Today his hair is all white.

51 years ago, my granddaddy was only a few years older than I am now. Today, his hair is basically gone. But he still makes wooden furniture, takes care of my grandmother and chases after his great-granddaughters.

51 years ago, Tom McCracken was also a young man. But that year, he bought in to the newest show in town. Rankin Smith had paid $8.5 million for an expansion NFL franchise called the Atlanta Falcons. McCracken was in.

"I'm an original season ticket holder," Mr. McCracken told me on Saturday in Houston. "You can't get much more loyal than that."

Nope. Especially with this team and in this city.

It takes a special skill to be a Falcons fan. Or a fan of any professional team in Atlanta. There's not much happiness and not a lot of heartbreaking pain. The teams are never good enough to cut you open.

Pain comes from dramatic failure to match expectations. When you have no expectations, you're never disappointed.

McCracken has only missed three seasons of Falcons football in 51 years. But he has a legit excuse.

"I was there in '66 and then spent three years in service," the 75-year-old said. "I came back and have been a season ticket holder ever since."

There are only a few people like Mr. McCracken. To watch bad football game after bad football game. Year after year.

"It's easy (to be a fan) now as winners," said McCracken. "But in the old Fulton County Stadium there were 15,000 people. It was fun. You had the whole row to yourself."

Alan Satterfield is a little younger than Mr. McCracken, but was there for those craptastic years too.

"I remember when you'd leave two tickets on your car windshield and come back and there were six," said Satterfield.

It's a commitment that's never easy. But it has brought these two men, their families, and thousands of others to Houston for history's sake.

Being a Falcons fan is never easy, but when your team makes it to the Super Bowl, going with them is even harder.

You can't get a ticket under $2,500. Satterfield has brought his family of five to this game.

You do the math. Get a calculator, because an abacus or your fingers won't cut it.

"For everybody involved," said Satterfield, "it's probably north of $30,000 when it's all said and done."

Alan is a CPA. He can count that high.

But if you have the money, numbers here don't matter. The Falcons are in the Super Bowl. I repeat, the Atlanta Falcons are in the Super Bowl.

Satterfield has the money. He loves his family and loves his football team. He wants everyone to share.

"To be here with my family, it's a bucket list thing."

But a few million other Falcons fans will be watching the game back in Atlanta. At a bar, or at a party, or most likely by themselves or with one other loved one.

This game is too serious to screw around with bean dip, appetizers and BBQ. One must be focused. The stakes are too high.

Atlanta and championship don't go together. Oil and water is a more successful mix. It happens for other cities and other people and that's nice. We are polite southerners. We only wish ill-will for New Yorkers and Saints fans.

We accept our fate. It's been ours for so long.

Atlanta is so overlooked, it's never included in the list of most suppressed fan bases.

You'd always hear people talk about Cleveland-anything fans or Cubs fans or anybody else. Never Atlanta.

We aren't even good at losing.

173 seasons of professionals sports season. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey. One title. One championship parade. Thank God for the Braves. But they are also the team that has brought true pain to this city.

Everything else, is just a meaningless season after another.

But not now.

The vibe in Atlanta these last two weeks and here in the Western Rise Up Bureau is "this is our time."

Even the boss man agrees.

"It does from a lot of perspectives," said Arthur Blank.

It's not just football though. Atlanta is hot. Between new stadiums, great food and an award winning TV show of the name, Atlanta has never been hipper or hotter.

I'm getting too worried that we are getting too confident.

This certainly feels different than 1999, the last time we saw this Super Bowl stage.

Maybe it was because the Falcons got lucky that Gary Anderson missed his only kick of the season. Or maybe it was Eugene Robinson's late night urges. Maybe it was because Chris Chandler was the QB.

But no one in Atlanta felt as confident than they do now. Maybe we don't know how to handle it, maybe we haven't felt enough heart break to be more guarded.

Or maybe the Falcons are just that good. Maybe this is truly is Atlanta's time. Matt Ryan just won the MVP award and Morten Andersen is going in the hall of fame.

And yet, there's still the four time world champion Patriots on the other side.

"I'm nervous about the game," said Satterfield. "I've been a Falcons fan too long."

That's the sprit.

But for Falcons fans of all generations, Super Sunday will be something special. Atlanta is ready for a party. Because as popular as the Braves are, no title means more to more people than this one.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy in Atlanta. Can it really happen?

"Probably tears," is how Alan Satterfield -- a grown man -- is expecting to celebrate this title. "That's ok. I'm comfortable."

Alan's son has never seen tears from his old man. This setting will be acceptable.

75-year-old Tom McCracken doesn't seem like the crying type. But this game has a special meaning for him too. Win or lose.

"This is my last-hurrah. I might go with my son to the new dome, but it's too hard at 75. It's time to retire."

Well Mr. McCracken a lot of stars of have walked away with titles. Hopefully you can to.

We might have true heartbreak awaiting us Sunday night. Or maybe, this is truly our time.

Read More

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.


  • Pickens County deputies are searching for an armed fugitive.  Authorities are looking for Nicholas Bishop in the area of Priest Circle in Talking Rock.  Bishop is believed to be armed with a handgun and on foot after he abandoned a stolen vehicle around 2 p.m.  If you see him, call 911 immediately. Officials say do not attempt to approach him. - Please return for updates.
  • One more time, Doris Payne, the 86-year-old infamous international jewel thief, has pleaded guilty to the usual crime. She admitted Wednesday to stealing a necklace from Von Maur at Perimeter Mall last year, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said. Payne, who recently said she’s been dealing with a possibly cancerous tumor, was sentenced to 120 days of house arrest and three years of probation.  She was also banned from all Von Maur locations and every mall in DeKalb County. Payne, who’d been free on bond, was arrested last month for missing a court date. Shortly after the would-be appearance, she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she wasn’t medically able to attend. “I ain’t runnin’,” she said in a phone interview. “I’ve never in my life been late for court. Last month, Payne was deemed too ill to stand trial by the judge presiding over a Fulton County case stemming from a missing set of earrings at Phipps Plaza. Payne has been open about her habits of theft, which she detailed in a documentary called, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” RELATED: Huge DeKalb center with (at least) 8 popular chains is opening soon RELATED: Cop helps elderly woman who got kicked out of dentist office in DeKalb RELATED: A DeKalb family’s tale of two dead bodies and a crying baby girl Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter and Instagram
  • A drunken driver destroyed a row of headstones at a historic Carrollton cemetery, causing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of damage, police said. According to police, the driver was coming down Martin Luther King Street on March 19, ran a stop sign, jumped a curb and crashed into the city-owned cemetery. The broken headstones range in date from the late 1800s to 1950. 'And what we discussed is, if one is damaged beyond repair, we'll put something back that's respectful. It's hard to replace it with the exact same item. The families aren't around anymore, so the city will take on the responsibility,' city manager Tim Grizzard said. TRENDING STORIES: Thousands of Georgians could lose food stamps next week 16-year-old in custody after hoax call about school gunman Food prices at SunTrust Park vs. Mercedes-Benz Stadium: What's the difference? The 35-year-old driver, Ray Antonio Baker, was arrested and charged with DUI. City officials said they will ask his insurance carrier to pay for the damage. 'Our plan is to go after the individual's insurance to pay for repairs. If that doesn't pay for everything, the city will certainly pick up the tab,' Grizzard said. Officials said this isn't the first time a driver has damaged headstones, but it's not a big enough problem to put up a wall. 'It's not something that has happened often enough that we need to put up a barrier. If it was a recurrent spot, we would do something,' Grizzard said. City officials said it could take weeks to repair the damage.
  • Their hug was silent, their smiles broad. After more than six weeks in custody, a Mexican man who had been arrested despite his participation in a program designed to prevent the deportation of those brought to the U.S. illegally as children was freed Wednesday pending deportation proceedings. Daniel Ramirez Medina, 24, greeted his brother — also a participant in the program — in the lobby of the Federal Detention Center in Tacoma, surrounded by lockers and metal detectors. 'He's free to go,' a guard told them, and after conferring with one of his lawyers, Ramirez stepped into the sunshine and hugged his brother again for a crowd of news cameras waiting just beyond the chain link-and-barbed wire fence. He spoke to reporters briefly in Spanish, thanking his supporters, and later issued a written statement in English through his lawyers. 'I'm so happy to be reunited with my family today and can't wait to see my son,' it said. 'This has been a long and hard 46 days, but I'm so thankful for the support that I've gotten from everyone who helped me and for the opportunity to live in such an amazing country. I know that this isn't over, but I'm hopeful for the future, for me and for the hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers who love this country like I do.' Judge John Odell in Tacoma approved freeing the 24-year-old Ramirez on $15,000 bond until his next immigration court hearing. Immigration agents arrested him last month in suburban Seattle, saying he acknowledged affiliating with gangs. Officials then revoked his protected status. Ramirez adamantly denies any gang ties or making any such admission. He spent 40 minutes answering questions from prosecutors during a two-hour hearing Tuesday, repeatedly denying any gang connections, his attorney, Mark Rosenbaum, said. 'He answered every question the government put to him,' Rosenbaum said. 'He stayed true, and the government had no evidence whatsoever.' U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a statement Wednesday noting that Ramirez's own attorneys had twice declined to have their client participate in bond hearings that could have resulted in his earlier release — something his lawyers said was designed to keep his case in federal court, rather than immigration court. Immigration agents arrested Ramirez on Feb. 10 at an apartment complex where they had gone to arrest his father, a previously deported felon. Ramirez, who came to the U.S. at 7, has no criminal record and twice passed background checks to participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay in the country and work. Immigration officials have started deportation proceedings against him. His legal team, which includes the Los Angeles based pro-bono firm Public Counsel as well as Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, have pressed claims in federal court that the arrest and detention violated Ramirez's constitutional rights. They sought to keep the case out of immigration court, saying U.S. District Court was better suited to handle those claims. A federal magistrate judge in Seattle agreed to hear the constitutional claims, but declined to release him in the meantime. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez upheld the decision not to release him last week, saying he instead should challenge his detention in immigration court. Martinez nevertheless said 'many questions remain regarding the appropriateness of the government's conduct' in arresting him. Among those questions, his lawyers have said, is whether U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents misinterpreted a tattoo on his forearm when they described it as a 'gang tattoo' in an arrest report. The lawyers say the tattoo, which says 'La Paz BCS,' pays homage to the city of La Paz in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, where he was born. Ramirez's case is one of several recent arrests that have left immigration activists fearing an erosion of protections under the DACA program instituted by President Barack Obama in 2012. ICE agents in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday arrested Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez, a DACA participant who was brought to the U.S. from Morelia, in Mexico's Michoacan state, at age 5. Last December, he entered a diversion program following a drunken driving arrest and had attended all his court dates and required meetings, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon said in a statement. The agency said Monday that it targeted Rodriguez Dominguez because of the DUI and that he would be released on bond pending deportation proceedings. About 750,000 immigrants have enrolled in the DACA program since it began.