HOUSTON - Atlanta Falcons fans know how to Rise Up. It's what they do. But Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy already has written some not so nice things about the Atlanta sports community believing otherwise.
Shaughnessy wrote that Atlanta has no history of winning with a lot of fair-weather fans and that fans have zero enthusiasm overall for professional sports. He said he's standing by that article.
The comments did not rub FOX 5's Buck Lanford the right way. Lanford caught up with Shaughnessy in Houston to discuss the perceived trash talk and maybe get a chance to defend his hometown of Atlanta a bit.
Lanford: "You wrote an article, got a lot of play, probably all over the country, but certainly a lot of play in Atlanta. What kind of responses did you hear from that?"
Shaughnessy: "Oh, boy! The Twitter accounts are pretty vivid and your e-mail and some phone calls. Did a bunch of those shows, saw those sports talk radio shows in Atlanta, everyone was nice as always. Always enjoy going down there and hoping to go back soon."
Lanford: "When you write something like that, do you know you're going to get a reaction like that? Is that part of what you're going after when you write something like that? 'Hey, let's stir the post…'"
Shaughnessy: "Yeah, and sometimes I think people don't actually read it, they see the headline and 'this guy's killing us' and all that. And again, there's nothing in there bad about your team, nothing in there bad about your city. It's a college football haven. I've certainly picked up on that. I've been there a million times and like I said people are great and I hope your team competes because I would like these to be close games, nothing better for me than to see the Falcons play them tough.
Lanford: "It's a three-point line, at least last I checked. Do you not think that's legit? Do you think it will be close? Do you think the patriots will run away with us?"
Shaughnessy: "I'm worried about that. Not being cocky. The Falcons have not been here before. I know they killed everyone in the NFC Championship, hard to get them off the field. The line's just not moving. So there must be action comes in Atlanta. I hope so. The Patriots have been in six of these in the Belichick-Brady era and all six, four points or less. So let's get another one of those."
Lanford: "How about Matt Ryan? Is he the next Tom Brady? What are your thoughts on him?"
Shaughnessy: "I love Matt Ryan. He's going to be the MVP of the NFL. And I remember at BC they were second in the country in 2007. He was always just a standup guy and a polite kid and we love him. I hope he's not too nice to beat the patriots. Don't be too nice to beat the patriots. It's okay."
Lanford: "Okay, what's your prediction? What's the score going to be?"
Shaughnessy: "I think the pats are going to beat you guys."
Lanford: "Not even close?"
Shaughnessy: "I worried about 'not even close.' I mean... believe me it will not ruin my life if the Falcons win this game, trust me."
Lanford: "Unlike that article, right?"
Shaughnessy: "Just having fun with you guys!"
Super Bowl LI will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m. Full coverage can be found on FOX 5 Atlanta.