G-d looked at the divine creation and said, “Alas, my people in Atlanta are forlorn, for their Atlanta Falcons have gone through their entire time there, 50 years, without a championship. I shall make them winners.”
So G-d endowed Arthur Blank, a successful Jewish businessman, with unique wisdom and an all-consuming motivation to win. Blank opened his checkbook. And G-d said, “The Falcons are better, but not yet good.”
And G-d saw the Falcons’ desperate quarterback situation after Michael Vick, uh, departed. And the Lord turned to the Falcons leadership before the 2008 draft and said, “Lo, there is a man, Matthew Thomas Ryan, a man of outstanding quarterback talents and a humble soul. Draft him in the first round.”
And so the Falcons did. And it was good to the Lord. But G-d saw that Matty Ice alone could not get the job done.
So in 2011 G-d turned to Thomas Dimitroff and said, “My servant, trade five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns and draft Julio Jones with pick No. 6 in the first round of the draft. Many people will criticize you. In fact, you will do other things, and people will criticize you harshly. But believe in Me and all will be well.”
So the Falcons drafted Julio Jones, and the Lord said, “That is good, but still not good enough.”
So the Holy One, having seen the failings despite good intentions of Jim Mora, Bobby Petrino (well, he might not have had the best intentions), Mike Smith and myriad others, said, “I shall bring the Falcons a real coach who will follow Me and, like my servant Moses, motivate his players to press forward through adversity with confidence. He shall know that I am with him.” So Arthur Blank, whom the Lord had visited, hired Dan Quinn. “He shall be our savior,” Blank said. And G-d said, “Ah, that is good — and getting better.”
And G-d looked at the Atlanta Falcons and recognized their frustration at the end of the 2015 season, when, after starting 5-0, the Falcons were 8-8. And the Holy One said, “I must do more.”
So in 2016 the Lord kept Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman pretty healthy and endowed each of them with a special measure of strength, agility and speed. And G-d blessed Vic Beasley with motivation and fortitude that he seemed to have lacked. G-d, in mercy, maintained the health of the offensive line throughout the season. And G-d blessed the defense with young linebackers and fine members of the secondary who could tackle in the open field and pressure opposing quarterbacks.
And, lo, with the Lord’s urging, even the defensive line improved as the season progressed. And, perhaps above all, G-d blessed the 2016 Atlanta Falcons with the leadership of Dwight Freeney and the gifts of little Taylor Gabriel, who could catch a pass and outrun the quickest of G-d’s other creatures.
G-d looked at the Lord’s team, at its overwhelming playoff victories over Seattle and Green Bay, and said, “It is very good.” But not quite good enough.
“One accomplishment remains,” said the Holy One. For a moment, G-d was troubled. “Hmmm, the Falcons have a Jewish owner, and the Patriots have a Jewish owner.”
“Hmmm, Spygate in 2008, Deflategate in 2015. No, I cannot allow the New England Patriots to triumph over My Atlanta Falcons! My trustworthy Falcons have waited 50 years! They have endlessly toiled to reach the promised land! They shall win the 2017 Super Bowl!”
And the Lord said, “This victory will be very good!”
A sentiment to which all the Lord’s people in Atlanta and throughout the land responded in unison: “Rise up, Falcons!”
Rabbi Neil Sandler, the spiritual leader of Ahavath Achim Synagogue, is on sabbatical in Israel, where plans to watch the Super Bowl at 1:30 a.m. Monday (6:30 p.m. Sunday in Atlanta).