• Falcons hours away from NFC showdown


    ATLANTA - With less than 24 hours to go before the first NFC championship ever to be played in Atlanta, Falcons and 49ers fans are rolling into town, preparing for battle.

    "We packed up the car and drove from Maine," said John Bachman, whose trip took 22 hours.

    "Lots of Falcons fans so far. Lots of 49ers fans running their mouths, but it's all good," said Robert Rosinsky.

    Rosinsky flew in from Fort Lauderdale.

    "As soon as we kicked that field goal, I booked a ticket," Rosinsky told Channel 2's Ashley Swann.

    He, like many other Falcons fans, said he wouldn't miss seeing the championship game in person for the world.

    "We're (going) to beat them and go to the Super Bowl. This is the game to come and see," Rosinsky said.

    For locals, the excitement is almost indescribable.

    "It's unbelievable. I've never felt anything like it," Craig Blankley said. "It's the biggest game of my lifetime, so I'm very excited about it; Ready to rise up."

    He found himself at a bar filled with San Francisco 49ers fans, where the friendly jabs were flowing.

    "The dirty birds are (going to) lay a goose egg tomorrow," joked Patrick Hairabediam.

    Blankley, meanwhile, has high hopes for the Falcons on Sunday and already looks forward to celebrating.

    "Something's different right now. It's just in the air. It's (going to) happen," Blankley said.


    Falcons fever sweeps through Atlanta

    Falcons fever has swept the city as the home team, as well as fans, prepare to play against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in the NFC Championship.

    Sunday will mark the first time the Falcons will host a championship in the Georgia Dome. A win tomorrow means the Falcons will compete for the Super Bowl, and Channel 2 caught up with numerous fans, filled with pregame excitement.

    "They are playing tomorrow and they're going to win, win, win," said Eveline Simmons.

    Simmons and her daughter were among the droves of customers looking for Falcons apparel at Academy Sports and Outdoors in Snellville on Saturday morning.

    "This is like the fifth store we've been to," she told Channel 2's Amanda Cook.

    Falcons merchandise is so popular it's become a rare find.

    "As fast as we can get the (clothes on the) table folded back up, customers are sorting through it, getting what they need," said store manager Bryan Campbell.

    Inside the store, boxes of official NFC Championship hats and T-shirts are stacked up against the wall, unopened and sealed. They will go on sale immediately after a win.

    "We just need the win and we're ready to go," said Campbell.

    At Target's Buckhead south location off Piedmont Road, “merchandise is flying off the shelf,” manager Jia Augustine said.

    Augustine said the store has seen more than a 2 percent jump in overall sales this week just from Falcons merchandise.

    "We're hanging out new stuff and people are grabbing it out of their hands," Augustine said.

    From merchandise to cocktails, fans are supporting the Falcons.  Friday night at Stats sports bar, a Channel 2 crew saw people ordering a drink called the Dirty Bird.

    “Everyone's been asking about the "Dirty Bird," a bartender said.

    Fans were also seen sporting the popular quarterback Matt Ryan's jersey.

    "I don't know if I’ll sleep between now and the game," a patron said.

    Several restaurant and bar managers said they are already booked solid with reservations Sunday or they are expecting a packed house with walk-ins.


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