Despite tonight's hugely disappointing loss in the playoffs to the Cardinals (which playoff loss isn't?), the Atlanta Falcons organization and all of its fans have to be optimistic after cooling down and riding themselves of tonight's negative emotions.

I realize Matt Ryan struggled at times tonight, frustrating many. However, we all know that he is the franchise-quarterback that the Falcons needed after the Mike Vike fiasco, a player they can build around and call their leader. In his rookie season, he already showed signs of a veteran with comeback wins and great stats. The hardware he received for the NFL's best offensive rookie was obviously well-deserved.

Michael Turner, despite his struggles away from the Georgia Dome and against strong defenses, is still worth the huge deal which seemed idiotic at the time of the signing, but now clearly a good one.

With these two position players, plus a set of receivers Ryan is comfortable with, plus a competent front office with an owner willing to do anything to win, plus one of the best coaches in the league in Mike Smith makes for a very promising future for a team that won just two games – two – in 2007.


Just think about that. Last season, we were talking about them just moving on from Vick and beginning a rebuilding process. Now, we're talking about how they'll complete their roster to ensure their involvement in not just the playoffs, but possibly the Super Bowl.

The one-year transformation has been incredible and, along with the Dolphins, given hope to the lesser teams in 2008 that they too can turn the ship around for the future in a short amount of time.

So, although it was an end result Atlanta wasn't hoping for, be happy Falcon fans. You have one heck of a team to look forward to watching in the future, and with a few additions to the defense and the completion of the offensive line, your Falcons might even be an NFC favorite heading into the 2009 season.