Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank busted some celebratory moves after his team’s big win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game. Now, the Falcons are charging toward the Super Bowl, and if they win, you can bet Blank will be dancing again.
The team has never won a Super Bowl and only had one other appearance, in 1999. So Blank is making sure his employees won’t miss it. He’s flying more than 500 Falcons team associates to watch the game in Houston, where the team will take on the New England Patriots.
“All of our businesses live by a set of core values and culture. There are so many people that support the Atlanta Falcons, beyond on the field, the players and coaches, and we want to recognize that,” Blank told “CBS This Morning” Wednesday.
When the season started, football experts doubted the Falcons had a chance at snagging the Lombardi Trophy – but not Blank.
“Well we always had a chance. I’d say every team in the NFL has a chance,” Blank said. “But I think that our offense is performing at a very high level throughout the entire year. Our defense started to play significantly better, probably with six or seven games to go on the regular season, in the playoff series. And so I think once I saw those younger players really coming along, the whole team came along on defense, I felt we had a unique opportunity.”
But according to Blank, head coach Dan Quinn foretold their Super Bowl journey even sooner. After the Atlanta Falcons won the bid to host the Super Bowl in 2019, Blank texted Quinn to tell him he hoped it’d be the first team to host a game and also play in it.
“And he texted me back immediately, and this was back in the fall in October, he said, ‘I plan on playing there sooner,’” Blank recalled.
The 2016 football season marked the 15th for Blank, who purchased the team in 2002. Blank commended Quinn for stepping up the team.
“Dan knows exactly what scheme he wants to play on offense and defense. He understands exactly what prescription he wants for every single player – height, weight, speed,” Blank said.
According to Blank, what also makes Quinn a great leader is his philosophy of playing “in brotherhood” – an approach Blank said Quinn embodied since he first interviewed for his job.
“The way he lives his life, he’s very committed to that notion of unity and brotherhood and players play for each other… they play for the team and they play for the city, they play for our fans,” Blank said. “So we’re blessed to have him in that position of leadership.”
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is also being credited for the team’s return to the Super Bowl. He’s a favorite to win this year’s Most Valuable Player award.
“I think he is the MVP in the league this year,” Blank said. “We all think he’s a great candidate... and we’ll see on Saturday. We’re looking forward to that vote and we’re looking forward to playing on Sunday.”