They're cheaters. Downright, dirty-bird cheaters.
Five days ago, news broke that the Atlanta Falcons were under investigation for pumping fake crowd noise through the Georgia Dome’s PA system during games. The Atlanta Falcons recently confirmed that the accusations and verified that they truly were “Dirty Birds.” This wasn’t just a one-time occurrence either. It turns out the Falcons have been pumping the volume in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage for the past two seasons.
So just how serious is this?
The news comes in the midst of intense outrage over the New England Patriots “Deflategate” scandal, where they intentionally deflated footballs to gain a supposed offensive advantage. The outcry over “Deflategate” has been exhausting. Historic football names, such as Troy Aikman and Kurt Warner chimed in, questioning the Patriots actions in relation to the integrity of the game. Aikman went as far as to state, “the punishment for the Patriots and/or Bill Belichick has to be more severe than what the punishment was for the New Orleans Saints.”
Inflated Noisegate hasn’t gained the same traction as Deflategate, however. There has some brief discussion concerning the investigation, but the media hasn’t had their pitchforks out ready to storm the dome. The story hasn’t been posted on the Atlanta Falcons website, despite Arthur Blank’s condemnation of their admitted actions. He's spoken harshly about their admitted cheating and emphasized the importance of the integrity of the game, stating, "It's not really a fine line. I think what we've done in 2013 and 2014 was wrong. Anything that affects the competitive balance and fairness on the field, we're opposed to, as a league, as a club, and as an owner. It's obviously embarrassing but beyond embarrassing it doesn't represent our culture and what we're about."
The Dirty Birds are guilty, but there just hasn’t been the outrage that surrounded the Patriots “Deflategate.” As of now, there have been some murmurs, but that's about it.
I assume there will be the same outrage for Falcons pumping in fake crowd noise as there was for Patriots deflategate, right?— Adam Schein (@AdamSchein) February 4, 2015
The artificial crowd noise is a much more serious offense, one that Adam Schefter reports could result in the forfeiture of 2015 draft picks. This was far more of a deliberate act with greater desired advantage than a deflated football. Worse, it’s been habitual, but since the Falcons weren’t any good, nor are they as polarizing as the Patriots, the offense is largely being overlooked.
So where is the outrage? Will the Troy Aikmans call for the harsh penalties that they have advocated for those who have cheated in the past? Right now, it doesn’t look like it. The Falcons are keeping it quiet, and their supporters have been either silent or dismissive of the scandal. Let’s just say, Marc James has devoted more attention to Katie Perry’s dress during the Super Bowl than he has been of “Inflated Noisegate.”
Bottom line, it turns out the Atlanta Falcons are who we thought they are, Dirty Birds. The punishments should be stiff. Some have called for the Falcons to lose their first round draft pick. I doubt that will be the punishment, but if it were, it wouldn't be unjust.
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn.
Follow him on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles