A young Atlanta Falcons fan waves her flag during a rally on Friday, September 8, 2023 at Atlantic Station. (Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Tonight is the debut of the Friday Morning Quarterback column, which will feature my thoughts on the Atlanta sports scene, the city’s professional and collegiate teams (maybe even high school teams), its coaches and fans.

The name Friday Morning Quarterback is a play on Monday Morning Quarterback, with the difference being I am going to post the column every Friday at 7 a.m. before the weekend slates of professional and college football games take place. I believe this publishing dates will work equally when professional and college basketball begins next month.

Tonight will be a bit different however. I wanted to use what I saw at an Atlanta Falcons rally that took place at Atlantic Station for my first column. The energy from hundreds of people packed on the faux lawn danced, sang, chanted, “Let’s Go Falcons” and behaved like they totally forgot how last season went. (The Falcons finished 7-10 if anyone was wondering.)

As former Falcons like Andre Rison (1990-1994) and John Abraham (2006-2012) took the stage and grabbed microphones in order to pump up the fans, I took a look around and saw so many naive faces. And I love it! Falcons fans should be excited. They should be optimistic. Why not? A week one matchup with divisional rival Carolina in Mercedes-Benz Stadium gives them a very realistic opportunity to start the season with a victory. A consecutive home game during week two against a Green Bay Packers team starting the season with Aaron Rodgers for the first time in a decade could mean a 2-0 start. “Lets Go Falcons” indeed.

Atlanta Falcons General Manager Terry Fontenot attended the rally Friday night alongside head coach Arthur Smith. Fontenot addressed the fans in attendance, saying, “These are the best fans in the league, no doubt. The passion in this city and in the region, it’s all together.”

Rison, a very popular player during his time with the team, which consisted of four Pro Bowls in five seasons, spoke about the love the city gave the team when he was here. “I loved playing in this city. I loved playing for the Falcons,” said Rison. “This is a second home for me.”

Throughout the crowd I saw Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Julio Jones, Deion Sanders and Michael Vick jerseys. I even saw a stray Trae Young jersey mixed in. There’s a buzz around the Falcons and for however it lasts it was cool to see. A new season is on the horizon, better enjoy it while it’s here.

The goal of the column is to speak on Atlanta sports in a personal and professional way. For the past decade and a half I have covered all level of sports in this town and feel like sharing my thoughts on the Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Atlanta United, Georgia Bulldogs (and not just football, people!), Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (anything BUT football, please!) and everything else in between, including Georgia State Panthers sports, Overtime Elite and high school sports.

It all matters in the Atlanta sports conversation.

I just wanted to create a dialog between The Atlanta Voice, the city’s only Black-owned print newspaper, and the many sports fans I meet everyday while on my way to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, State Farm Arena and in the Atlanta University Center.

Let’s have this conversation. Email or message me your thoughts on my columns to editor@theatlantavoice.com or via Twitter/X/whatever we’re calling it these days at @suggswriter and I promise I will answer each and every one of them, positive or negative. I just want to get a dialogue and discourse started.

Let the games begin

Sunset in Midtown Atlanta on the eve of week one for the Atlanta Falcons, Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...