moving day

photography: growl bros.

Last January, the Atlanta Falcons took on the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 NFC Championship. It was the last game played in the Georgia Dome, which the Falcons had called home since 1992. Starting this season, they’ll play in the new, state-of-the-art Mercedes Benz Stadium, whose construction has been the source of no small amount of controversy. For Falcons fans, this wasn’t just a vital playoff game. It was a chance to show their appreciation and say goodbye.

 

To mark the stadium’s last hurrah, fans snapped selfies and shot video. Plenty of them didn’t even have tickets; they just wanted to experience the moment. The atmosphere was exultant, classic Atlanta football. Gucci Mane and Outkast blared alongside Luke Bryan and Toby Keith. Tricked-out cars with outsized rims commanded real estate like they owned the place. There were booties shaking, grills working overtime, an abundance of shit-talking, and even a few folks toting guns. Plenty of fans wore Michael Vick jerseys, showing their continued support for the Falcons’ single most iconic player.

 

There was no drop-off in energy as kickoff neared and ticketholders began to file into the stadium.  Those just there for the atmosphere hung back to celebrate each big play among their brethren. And there were plenty of moments to celebrate as the Falcons rolled to a 44-21 victory and advanced to the Super Bowl. This was it for the Georgia Dome. But it was also the ultimate reminder that the community of Falcons fans will be there no matter where the team plays. Now all they have to do is win the Super Bowl.

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