Falcons fever catches on as fans dream of glory

Jumping with excitement, Atlanta Falcons fans say now is their time.

After defeating the Green Bay Packers on Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl, fans say they believe. The Falcons just might win it all.

Both longtime and fresh fans at Limerick Junction in Virginia Highlands rejoiced that Atlanta finally has a football team that can compete for a championship.

They cheered with an intensity that has at times been lacking among Atlanta sports fans — likely because of the city’s lack of success in the postseason. Gathered around the bar’s TVs, they said this year is going to be different.

“I’ve never felt the energy in the city like I do now,” said Patrick Whiddon, a regular at the bar wearing a Matt Ryan jersey. “The Cubs won. Cleveland won. Now it’s our turn.”

Sean O’Neill, who has lived in Atlanta for 20 years, was cautiously optimistic that an Atlanta sports team could break from the city’s history of losing in the postseason.

“There’s always hope,” said O’Neil, the bar’s kitchen manager. “I’m proud. I’m definitely on the bandwagon.”

As the Falcons continue to win playoff games, they’re improving the city’s image, said Timi Laney, wearing a Falcons sweatshirt. That’s important as they prepare to move into a new stadium next season.

“You don’t want a losing team going into a new stadium,” she said. “It starts it off with something great.”

Tina Wootan, showing her support with a black Falcons jersey, said this season is different.

“I’m so excited. Look at the fans now. They’re all behind them,” she said. “I think we can win it all. Everyone is fired up.”

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