Georgia Dome

The Georgia Dome was a domed stadium in the Southeastern United States. Located in Atlanta between downtown to the east and Vine City to the west, it was owned and operated by the State of Georgia as part of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. Its successor, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, was built adjacent to the south and opened on August 26, 2017. The Georgia Dome was demolished on November 20, 2017.[8]

The Georgia Dome was the home stadium for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and the Georgia State University Panthers football team. It hosted two Super Bowls (XXVIII and XXXIV), 25 editions of the Peach Bowl (January 1993 through December 2016) and 23 SEC Championship Games (19942016). In addition, the Georgia Dome also hosted several soccer matches since 2009 with attendances over 50,000. In its 25-year lifespan, the Georgia Dome hosted over 1,400 events attended by over 37 million people.[9] The Georgia Dome was the only stadium in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and Final Four.[10][11][12]

At its debut in 1992, the Georgia Dome was the second-largest covered stadium in the world by capacity, behind the Pontiac Silverdome; it was also surpassed by AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Georgia Dome
Georgia Dome
Georgia Dome Eagles at Falcons September 18, 2011
September 2011
Address1 Georgia Dome Drive Northwest
LocationAtlanta, Georgia
Coordinates33°45′29″N 84°24′04″W / 33.758°N 84.401°WCoordinates: 33°45′29″N 84°24′04″W / 33.758°N 84.401°W
Public transitDome / GWCC / Philips Arena / CNN Center (MARTA station)
Vine City (MARTA station)
OwnerGeorgia World Congress Center Authority
OperatorGeorgia World Congress Center Authority
CapacityFootball: 71,228
Georgia State football: 28,155[1]
Basketball: 71,000[2]
Total Capacity: 80,000[3]
SurfaceFieldTurf (2003–2017)
AstroTurf (1992–2002)
Construction
Broke groundNovember 22, 1989
OpenedSeptember 6, 1992
ClosedJune 9, 2017[6]
DemolishedNovember 20, 2017
Construction cost$214 million
($382 million in 2018 dollars[4])
ArchitectHeery International; Rosser FABRAP International; and tvsdesign
Project managerBarton-Malow[5]
Structural engineerWeidlinger Associates[5]
General contractorBeers/Georgia Dome Team[5]
Tenants
Atlanta Falcons (NFL) (19922016)
Atlanta Hawks (NBA) (19971999)
Peach Bowl (NCAA) (19932016)
Georgia State Panthers (NCAA) (20102016)
Celebration Bowl (NCAA) (20152016)
Drum Corps International[7] (DCI) (2006–2016)

History

Facility information

The Georgia Dome was completed in 1992 at a cost of $214 million, making it one of the largest state-funded construction projects in Georgia history.[13][14] The stadium seated 71,228 for football, approximately 80,000 for concerts, and 71,000 for basketball when the stadium fully opened and 40,000 for basketball and gymnastics when the stadium was sectioned off (one half closed off by a large curtain).[15] For most Georgia State football games, the dome was configured with 28,155 seats, with tickets for only the bulk of the lower level and the club-level seats on sale.[1][16] The record for overall attendance at the Georgia Dome came during a college football game, with 80,892 at the SEC Championship Game in 2008.[17]

The Dome had 5,740 club seats and 171 luxury boxes. The executives suites fit 16-24 people, while eight super-suites added in 2007 were capable of accommodating 57-96 guests. There were also four restaurants/bars. There were 12 escalators and 9 elevators.[18][19][20]

The structure was located on 9.19 acres (3.72 hectares) of land; the Dome had a height of 271 ft (83 m), a structure length of 746 ft (227 m), a structure width of 607 ft (185 m), and a total floor area of 102,150 square feet (9,490 m2). The stadium was the largest cable-supported dome in the world. Its roof was made of teflon-coated fiberglass fabric and had an area of 374,584 square feet (34,800 m2). From its completion until the December 31, 1999 opening of the 20-acre (8.09-hectare) Millennium Dome in London, it was the largest hooked domed structure of any type in the world. Matt Hartley Lighting, LLC designed the lighting for the concourse of the Georgia Dome.[21]

Surface

The Georgia Dome originally used AstroTurf artificial surface for its football events. In 2003, Arthur Blank, the new owner of Atlanta Falcons, funded the installation of the new infilled FieldTurf artificial surface system.[22][23]

Renovations

In 2006, the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced a $300 million renovation to the Georgia Dome.[24][25] The project was separated into two stages. The first stage, which took place before the 2007 NFL season, focused on updating the premium seating areas, including the creation of eight 'super-suites' as well as an owners' club, most of them now incorporating new plasma TVs.[18][26] In 2008, the exterior of the stadium was repainted, replacing the original teal and maroon color scheme with a red, black, and silver theme to match the Falcons' team colors; the stadium's original teal seats were replaced with red seats in the lower and upper levels and black seats in the middle level. The entrance gates and concourses were also renovated and updated before the 2008 football season.[27][28] In 2009, the video screens in both end zones were relocated to a new exterior monument sign on Northside Drive. The interior end zones each received a new and considerably wider High Definition video screen that significantly enhanced views of replays, as well as graphics and digital presentations. A new sound system was installed in the same year, replacing the previous system that was nearly 20 years old.

In 2008, the Georgia Dome started showing safety videos before games, presented by Deltalina, flight attendant "mascot" of Delta Air Lines. The videos satirize Delta's massively popular "Deltalina" inflight safety videos. The videos' theme was "Delta Safety First".[29][30]

Major weather-related issues

Three years after the completion of the Dome, the integrity of its roof became an issue. During a Falcons pre-season game in August 1995, a severe rainstorm caused water to pool on the fabric, tearing part of the material, and causing a section of the roof to fall into the stadium. The storm was intense enough that the roof panels could be seen moving during the game, and the water and roof material later fell with enough force to smash seats in the upper decks and knock holes in concrete floors. The collapse occurred after fans left the stadium, and no one was injured during the incident. The roof was eventually repaired in a way that prevented similar incidents from occurring in the future.[31][32]

In the 2008 Atlanta tornado outbreak on March 14, 2008, during the 2008 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, a tornado ripped two holes in the dome during the AlabamaMississippi State quarterfinal game, delaying the game for about an hour. The quarterfinal game to follow between the Kentucky Wildcats and Georgia Bulldogs was postponed until the following day.[32] The resulting damage forced the rest of the tournament to be moved to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum, now known as McCamish Pavilion, at Georgia Tech.[33]

Final years and replacement

Overhead shot of Georgia Dome, New Falcons stadium construction site April 25, 2014
Aerial photo of Georgia Dome; the land next to it has been cleared for construction of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Georgia Dome 2017
The Georgia Dome (right) and Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 2, 2017

In 2010, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced plans for a new stadium (which would be named Mercedes-Benz Stadium) with a retractable roof just south of the Georgia Dome. At the time the Georgia Dome had just completed a major update and was still relatively young.[34] The Dome had been designed specifically for football while a handful of NFL teams still made do with Multi-purpose stadiums shared with MLB teams, plus the Dome had plenty of luxury suites and premium seating which were important revenue-generating features lacking other older venues which made them obsolete. Nonetheless, sports economist Rod Fort noted that pro sports team owners "thought they could get away with demanding new" stadiums every year with public money, plus the Falcons didn't have control of the Dome nor the profits which made them less competitive than other teams that owned state-of-the-art facilities.[35][36] In addition, Arthur Blank "wanted a state-of-the-art facility for his NFL and MLS teams and was willing to pitch in a huge amount of money to make it happen", as well as wanting to host another Super Bowl.[37][38] Also with the Atlanta climate the Falcons long desired preferred to play outdoors rather than inside a dome.[39]

Describing the Dome, Falcons CEO and president Rich McKay said “It was a really functional building that served its purpose very well. We did not want to build a better Georgia Dome. That was not the object. If we would have done that, we would have renovated the Georgia Dome. We really wanted to change the game and do it for a long, long time.” Stadium general manager Scott Jenkins described the new stadium's advantages over the Dome, saying "The LED displays we have, whether it’s every seat is two-inches wider than the Georgia Dome, almost all the concourses connect so you can circumnavigate the building, you don’t get cut-off. You can move vertically throughout the building, we have really wide staircases, we have twice the elevators, twice the escalators compared to the Georgia Dome".[40] SB Nation noted that while the "Georgia Dome did its job for 24 years...it wasn’t anything special. That’s not the case with [the Mercedes-Benz Stadium]. Walking up to it feels like you’re approaching a damn spaceship". McKay said of the "The architecture, I think, speaks for itself. I hope the first time you're in it, yeah, you're wowed by the architecture, but more wowed by the fan experience."[41] The new stadium received approval from the city of Atlanta, Fulton County, and Georgia state governments in 2013 and broke ground and commenced construction in 2014.

The Falcons' final game in the Dome was the 2016 NFC Championship Game on January 22, 2017, with a 44–21 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The stadium's final public event took place on March 4 and 5, 2017 with back-to-back Monster Jam shows.[42]

Demolition

Most of the Georgia Dome site became greenspace for tailgating at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and other community events. A 600-car parking garage and a high rise convention center hotel are also planned for the site in the future.[43] On April 21, 2017, GWCCA officials announced that The Home Depot acquired the naming rights to the 13-acre (53,000 m2) park to be built on part of the Georgia Dome site.[44]

Shortly after the Georgia Dome's closing, a group presented a petition to the governor's office to save the stadium from demolition arguing that it was still in good condition and that its loss would be wasteful. However, GWCCA officials stated that maintaining two 70,000-seat stadiums was not financially feasible, and the Georgia Dome's fate was already sealed when the Mercedes-Benz Stadium was approved in 2013.[45]

Demolition of the Georgia Dome was intended to begin shortly after the stadium's final event; however, due to construction delays caused by the complexity of Mercedes-Benz Stadium's eight-panel retractable roof, demolition of the Georgia Dome was postponed until the new stadium's certificate of occupancy could be issued. GWCCA officials stated that the Georgia Dome would remain nominally operational until Mercedes-Benz Stadium was ready; however, the Dome's artificial turf had been removed prior to the announcement of the new stadium's delay.[46]

On June 9, 2017, Steve Cannon, CEO of the Falcons' parent company AMB Group, stated that construction officials were confident that Mercedes-Benz Stadium would be ready in time for the Falcons' first preseason game, and the process of decommissioning the Georgia Dome had resumed, with the Dome scheduled for implosion on November 20, 2017 at 7:30 am EST.[6]

In July 2017, GWCCA officials removed equipment they intend to reuse either at Mercedes-Benz Stadium or elsewhere on the GWCC campus while other equipment was liquidated by sealed bids. Most of the seats in the lower and middle bowls were sold in bulk to high schools and colleges while pairs were sold to individuals; most of the upper bowl seats were recycled. The stadium's lower bowl and loading docks were demolished by mid-August. From September 16 to 30, 2017, memorabilia from the Georgia Dome was sold in an online auction format by Schneider Industries.[47][48][9][49]

The Dome before and after the implosion

Georgia-Dome-Demolition-1
Georgia-Dome-Demolition-2

Demolition officials from Adamo Demolition, the company contracted for the job,[50] stated that the pressure from the implosion needed to go up from the roof and not out through the sides to ensure that Mercedes-Benz Stadium and other nearby buildings were not damaged during the demolition; to protect nearby structures, construction felt was placed over the four corners of the Dome, and a 70 foot (21 m) tall fence covered in the same material was erected between the Dome and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. To ensure that the roof fell in place during the implosion, parts of the concrete ring supporting the roof had been chipped away and ventilation holes were cut into the roof fabric.[49] 4,800 pounds (2,180 kg) of explosives were used to bring the Dome down within 12 seconds.[51]

Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the Georgia Dome remains in the foreground (27663350329)
The remains of Georgia Dome with the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the background.

Due to the large exclusion zone required for the demolition, no public viewing areas were made available; additionally, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority officials announced that rail service west of the Five Points station would be suspended on the day of demolition until MARTA safety inspectors certified that the tunnels which run below the Dome site were safe for trains to operate. GWCCA officials stated that the implosion would be broadcast live by WSB-TV as well as livestreamed on the official websites of the Falcons, Atlanta United FC, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.[52][53] Live coverage of the implosion on the Weather Channel was blocked at the last moment by a MARTA bus that stopped in front of the camera just seconds before the implosion.[54]

While the implosion was considered successful, the eastern wall and the northwest gate of the Dome were left standing after the implosion.[55] Although the Dome's proximity to adjacent structures was a major concern, with Mercedes-Benz Stadium only 83 feet (25 m) away from the Dome, demolition officials stated that bringing the roof down was the biggest challenge due to its unique design. The Georgia World Congress Center and Mercedes-Benz Stadium were undamaged during the first implosion, although the new stadium did receive a heavy dusting.[55] Initially, demolition officials stated that the two remaining sections would be brought down manually with hydraulic excavators; however, after inspections determined that the explosive charges did not go off, a supplementary implosion took place on the morning of December 20 at 1:00 am EST. A window at one of the GWCC buildings was shattered during the second implosion but was quickly replaced.[56][57]

Cleanup of debris from the Georgia Dome site was completed in late February 2018 with construction of the Home Depot Backyard beginning shortly thereafter; the new park officially opened on September 11, 2018.[58][59] The planned GWCC hotel is expected to begin construction shortly after Super Bowl LIII in February 2019; the new hotel is projected to open in 2022 and will be the first to carry the Signia Hilton branding.[60][61]

A historical marker erected by the GWCCA and the Georgia Historical Society commemorating the Georgia Dome's legacy was dedicated on September 6, 2018.[62]

Events hosted

Football

The Dome was home to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. The stadium also hosted Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994 and Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. The Falcons didn't qualify for the playoffs both times that the Dome hosted the Super Bowl; despite a 14-2 regular season in 1998 which was capped off with a Super Bowl appearance,[63] the Falcons slumped to a 5-11 record in 1999. The final NFL Game at the Georgia Dome was the 2016 NFC Championship between the Falcons and the Green Bay Packers, with the Falcons winning 44-21 to advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

The Dome was also the annual host (since 1998) to FCS Classic football game between Florida A&M Rattlers and another HBCU opponent (Southern Jaguars in 2011 and Tennessee State Tigers in prior years), and the annual host to the Southeastern Conference Football Championship Game and the Chick-fil-A Bowl (also known as the Peach Bowl) post-season college football games. From the program's inception in 2010 until 2016, the stadium was home of the NCAA Division I Georgia State Panthers of Georgia State University. Subsequently, with the Dome's impending closure, the university acquired the Atlanta Braves' former Turner Field baseball park and renovated it to Georgia State Stadium for college football. From 2015 to 2016, the Dome hosted the Celebration Bowl, the annual post-season bowl match up between the MEAC and SWAC.[64]

The Georgia Dome also annually hosted the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) football semi-finals until 2007 and hosted the football state championships from 2008 to 2016.[65]

Basketball

The Georgia Dome hosted the NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball National Championship in 2002, 2007, and 2013, along with regional semi-finals and finals in 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2012 and NCAA Women's Final Four in 2003. The SEC Men's Basketball Tournament has been held at the Georgia Dome during 10 seasons, most recently in 2014. The ACC Men's Basketball Tournament has been held at the Georgia Dome on two occasions, in 2001 and 2009. The NCAA Division I Basketball's Champions Classic was held at the dome in 2012.

It was also one of two homes, along with the facility then known as Alexander Memorial Coliseum, for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks during the construction of State Farm Arena from 1997 to 1999 on the footprint of the former Omni Coliseum.[66] While playing at the Georgia Dome on March 27, 1998, the Atlanta Hawks set a then-NBA single-game attendance record with 62,046 fans.[67]

Olympics

For the 1996 Summer Olympics, one half of the arena hosted the basketball competitions (including final) while the other half hosted the artistic gymnastics events and team handball (men's final).[68][69]

Soccer

The Georgia Dome held a number of international soccer matches. On June 24, 2009, the Dome hosted its first ever soccer match between Mexico and Venezuela in front of 51,115 fans, with grass laid over the FieldTurf.[70] On February 9, 2011, Mexico and Bosnia and Herzegovina played a friendly match in front of 50,507 fans.[71][72] On July 20, 2013, the Dome hosted two quarter-final match-ups of the 2013 Gold Cup—Panama vs. Cuba and Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago—in front of 54,229 fans.[73]

The stadium was an official candidate venue for hosting matches as part of the United States' bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but Qatar was selected to host the tournament.[74]

Date Winning Team Result Losing Team Tournament Spectators
June 24, 2009  Mexico 4–0  Venezuela International Friendly 51,115
February 9, 2011  Mexico 2–0  Bosnia and Herzegovina 50,507
July 20, 2013  Panama 6–1  Cuba 2013 Gold Cup Quarterfinals 54,229
 Mexico 1–0  Trinidad and Tobago
July 22, 2015  Jamaica 2-1  United States 2015 Gold Cup Semifinals 70,511
 Mexico 2-1  Panama

Drum Corps International

The stadium also hosted the Drum Corps International (DCI) Southeastern Championship from 2006-2016. The inaugural event featured 22 drum corps in the old fashioned Prelims/Finals one-day format. During the competition, the stadium was the first, and only indoor rain delay, when an upper deck rain gutter leaked inside the stadium. The 2006 competition was won by The Cavaliers, becoming the first of only four corps to win in the 11 years the stadium hosted the event.

From 2007-2014, the Blue Devils would win an unprecedented 8 straight victories at the annual Southeastern Championship. The win streak would be snapped in 2015 by Carolina Crown with its fan-favorite production of "Inferno"

With the announcement of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to be opened in the summer of 2017, the 2016 tour season would be the last hurrah inside the dome. Though the 2016 season would be the last in the dome, it would prove to be a historical one at that, with the Bluecoats powering their way to the top to win the very last competition in the stadium, bringing the corps' first Southeast Championship and later on their first DCI World Championship Title.

While the 2017 show was scheduled to be in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, construction delays would make the venue not ready for the July 29 event, which would find a temporary home at McEachern High School in Powder Springs. DCI aims to host the 2018 Southeastern Championship in the new stadium.

Wrestling

The Georgia Dome hosted WrestleMania XXVII on April 3, 2011 as well as WrestleMania access in the Georgia World Congress Center, WrestleMania XXVII was the last WWE event held in the Georgia Dome.

WCW Monday Nitro was hosted in the Georgia Dome twice in 1998 and twice again in 1999, Monday Night Raw was hosted 4 times in the stadium between 1999 and 2001.

The interior of the Georgia Dome prior to the 2008 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game
The interior of the Georgia Dome prior to the 2008 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

See also

References

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External links

1992 Atlanta Falcons season

The 1992 Atlanta Falcons season was the team's 27th season in the National Football League (NFL). Atlanta played its first season in the Georgia Dome, after having played their first 26 seasons at Fulton County Stadium. The Falcons were unable to match their previous season's output of 10–6 and failed to reach the playoffs.Atlanta was statistically one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 1992. They were the league's worst team in points allowed (414), total yards allowed (5,549), yards per play (5.9), rushing yards allowed (2,294), and yards per rushing attempt (4.9).

1994 Atlanta Falcons season

The 1994 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 29th season in the National Football League (NFL).

Under head coach June Jones, the Falcons' Run and shoot offense was heavily imbalanced in 1994, in favor of the passing game. Atlanta's passing yardage–4,112 yards—was third in the NFC, and fifth in the league overall; but their rushing yards (1,249, 78.1 yards per game) were dead-last in the league. They had, by far, the fewest rushing attempts in the league in 1994, with only 330 all year.

1997 Atlanta Falcons season

The 1997 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 32nd season in the National Football League (NFL). It was their first season with new Head Coach Dan Reeves, who had been hired on January 21.

For the season, they added a new logo and added the numerals & socks on the road jerseys are switched from black to red. And this was also the season were they debut the authentic stitched up name and numbers on jerseys.

The season was marked with tragedy, as team owner Rankin Smith died on October 26, 1997. The following week, the team wore a commemorative patch on their jerseys for the remainder of the season.

1997–98 Atlanta Hawks season

The 1997–98 NBA season was the Hawks' 49th season in the National Basketball Association, and 30th season in Atlanta. Due to the demolition of The Omni, the Hawks played their home games at the Georgia Dome, and their original home from 1968 to 1972, the Alexander Memorial Coliseum (known as McDonald's Center at the time). The Hawks got off to a fast start winning their first eleven games, but later on struggled posting a 7-game losing streak between December and January. They finished fourth in the Central Division with a solid 50–32 record. Dikembe Mutombo and Steve Smith were both selected for the 1998 NBA All-Star Game. Mutombo was also named Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive time, while forward Alan Henderson won the Most Improved Player of The Year award. However, in the first round of the playoffs, the Hawks lost in four games to the Charlotte Hornets.

On March 27, 1998, the Hawks set a single game regular season attendance record of 62,046 fans in a game against the Chicago Bulls at the Georgia Dome. However, they lost 89–74. Following the season, Christian Laettner was traded to the Detroit Pistons, and Eldridge Recasner signed as a free agent with the Charlotte Hornets.

1998 Atlanta Falcons season

The 1998 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise’s 33rd in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons qualified for the Super Bowl for the first time under the guidance of second-year head coach Dan Reeves, becoming the first dome team to play in a Super Bowl. The Falcons won their final nine regular season games to earn the #2 seed in the National Football Conference (NFC) for the postseason and the first-week bye. They beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round and the #1-seed Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game before losing to Reeves’ old team, the Denver Broncos, 34–19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.Head coach Dan Reeves almost didn’t make it to the end of the season. After Week 14, he was diagnosed with multiple blockages to his coronary arteries, necessitating quadruple bypass surgery. Reeves admitted he ignored the warning signs in hopes of finishing the season, but ultimately felt he needed to be checked out. Doctors stated by the time he went for treatment, he may have been “within hours of a catastrophic heart attack.” Defensive coordinator Rich Brooks substituted for him as head coach during Weeks 15 and 16. Reeves returned for Week 17 and finished the season.

The Falcons ranked fourth in the league in points scored (442 points) and surrendered the fourth-fewest points (289) in 1998; the Falcons also led the league in turnover differential at +20. The Falcons would not appear in the NFL title game again until 2017, Super Bowl LI, which they lost to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

2001 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament

The 2001 Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament took place from March 8–11 in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Georgia Dome. Duke won the tournament for the third year in a row, defeating North Carolina in the championship game. Duke's Shane Battier won the tournament's Most Valuable Player award.

Duke went on to win the 2001 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in the following weeks. It was their third national championship. Duke defeated ACC rival Maryland in the Final Four. Duke also defeated Maryland in the ACC semifinal round.

The 2001 ACC Tournament Championship Game pitted the #1 and #2 seeds against each other for the second consecutive year.

The 2001 edition of the ACC Tournament was the first one held in the Georgia Dome. The tournament had previously been held in Atlanta at the Omni. The tournament returned to the Georgia Dome in 2009.

2005 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2005 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise’s 40th in the National Football League (NFL). It began with the team trying to defend their NFC South division title and 11–5 record in 2004. The Falcons started 6–2, but injuries on defense caused them to finish the second half 2–6 to finish the season 8–8. Bright spots included the Falcons ending their Monday Night Football jinx by going 3–0, and on Thursday, November 24, the Falcons played on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in franchise history with a 27–7 victory over the Detroit Lions. On the next-to-last game of the regular season, the Falcons were eliminated from postseason contention with a 27–24 overtime loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons failed to improve over their 11–5 season, therefore finishing with a .500 record and once again failed to attain back-to-back winning seasons.

2011 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2011 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 46th season in the National Football League and the fourth under head coach Mike Smith.

Finishing the regular season 10–6, the Falcons clinched the #5 seed in the playoffs. Atlanta’s season ended quickly as they lost 24–2 to Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the opening round. The Giants would go on to defeat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

This is also the first time the franchise clinched consecutive playoff berths, and the first time it won ten or more games in consecutive seasons.

2012 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2012 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 47th season in the National Football League and the fifth under head coach Mike Smith. Atlanta started the season 8-0, a franchise best for a start to a season. By beating the Detroit Lions during Week 16, the Falcons clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs in the NFC for the second time in three years, and made it to the NFC Championship for the first time since 2004, where they lost 28-24 against the San Francisco 49ers. It was the third straight year in which they didn't lose two consecutive regular season games.

2014 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2014 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 49th season in the National Football League and the seventh under head coach Mike Smith. The Falcons were defeated by the Carolina Panthers in week 17, officially eliminating them from postseason contention for the second straight year. As a result, head coach Mike Smith was fired after his seventh year as coach, after two straight years with a losing record.The 2014 Atlanta Falcons were featured on the HBO documentary series Hard Knocks.

2014 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament

The 2014 Southeastern Conference Men's Basketball Tournament was the postseason men's basketball tournament for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) held from March 12–16, 2014 in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome. The tournament winner, Florida, received the SEC's automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA men's basketball tournament. However, like most major NCAA Division I conference tournaments, the SEC Tournament does not determine the official conference champion, since the SEC has awarded its men's basketball championship to the team or teams with the best regular season record since the 1950–51 season. Florida, the #1 seed, beat #2 seed Kentucky in the championship game 61–60, with Florida stopping Kentucky from making a last second game-winning shot.

2016 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2016 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 51st season in the National Football League and the second under head coach Dan Quinn. It also marked the team's 25th and final season playing their home games at the Georgia Dome, as the Falcons moved into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017. The Falcons won the NFC South for the first time since 2012 and improved on their 8–8 record from 2015, going 11–5 and earning the second seed in the NFC playoffs. Quarterback Matt Ryan was named the 2016 NFL MVP. The Falcons scored 540 points, the most in the NFL for 2016.

The Falcons defeated the Seattle Seahawks 36–20 in the Divisional Round to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2012. In the NFC Championship game, they defeated the Green Bay Packers, 44–21, to advance to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history; they had competed in Super Bowl XXXIII 18 years earlier. In Super Bowl LI, the Falcons faced the New England Patriots, and built a 28–3 lead midway through the third quarter, before surrendering 25 consecutive points, forcing overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history where they went on to lose 28-34.

2016 Peach Bowl

The 2016 Peach Bowl was a college football bowl game played on December 31, 2016 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. It was one of the 2016–17 bowl games concluding the 2016 FBS football season. The 49th Peach Bowl was a College Football Playoff semifinal, with the winner of this game advancing to play the winner of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. This was the final edition of the Peach Bowl (and final college football game) contested in the Georgia Dome, as the stadium was demolished on November 20, 2017 after its replacement, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opened on August 26 of the same year.

Sponsored by Chick-fil-A, the game was officially known as the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The game was televised on ESPN with a radio broadcast on ESPN Radio. The winner of the game received the George P. Crumbley Trophy, named for the founder of the original Peach Bowl.

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) South division. The Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League (AFL).

In their 53 years of existence (through 2018), the Falcons have compiled a record of 368–466–6 (358–452–6 in the regular season and 10–14 in the playoffs), winning division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012, and 2016. The Falcons have appeared in two Super Bowls, the first during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII, where they lost to the Denver Broncos 34–19, and the second was eighteen years later, a 34–28 overtime defeat by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

The Falcons' current home field is Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened for the 2017 season; the team's headquarters and practice facilities are located at a fifty-acre (20 ha) site in Flowery Branch, northeast of Atlanta in Hall County.

Falcons–Panthers rivalry

The Falcons–Panthers rivalry is a rivalry between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. Both franchises have a combined twelve divisional titles (eleven as members of the same division) and four Super Bowl appearances, with the Falcons appearing in Super Bowls XXXIII and LI and the Panthers appearing in Super Bowls XXXVIII and 50.

The Panthers and Falcons have played each other twice a year since 1995, as members of both the NFC West (1995–2001) and NFC South (2002–present) divisions. Their games have been marked by intensity, close scores, and remarkable performances.

It is also known as the "I-85 Rivalry" due to Atlanta and Charlotte being only four hours apart on Interstate 85. Indeed, games between the two feature large contingents of Falcons fans at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and Panthers fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (prior to 2017, the Georgia Dome) in Atlanta.

Falcons–Saints rivalry

The Falcons–Saints rivalry is a divisional rivalry in the NFC South of the National Football League (NFL) between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. The series is by far the oldest and most established rivalry in the division. Founded one year apart, the Falcons and Saints were the first two NFL franchises in the Deep South (Washington, D.C., Dallas, Houston, and Miami being arguably southern but not in the "traditional" Deep South). They have shared some important players, such as kicker Morten Andersen (the leading scorer in New Orleans history), Bobby Hebert (who quarterbacked for both teams in the 1990s), and Joe Horn (the Pro Bowl Saints receiver who left for the Falcons in 2007). They have also drawn coaches from the same families, and even shared a head coach: recent Falcons coach Jim L. Mora is the son of longtime Saints coach Jim E. Mora, and former Saints and Falcons coach Wade Phillips is the son of former Saints coach Bum Phillips.

The series was rarely noted by the national media during the teams' first decades of existence, probably due to both teams' long stretches of futility. However, the September 25, 2006 match-up, which served as the Louisiana Superdome's official reopening after Hurricane Katrina, was considered a major milestone in New Orleans' and the Gulf Coast's recovery from the effects of the storm as well as the Saints' return to the city after their own year-long exile after the storm; the Saints later erected a statue outside the Superdome to commemorate their win in that game.

Games between the Falcons and Saints have riveted their respective regions for more than 40 years; fans of both teams consider the other their most important and hated opponent. ESPN.com writer Len Pasquarelli has cited the rivalry as one of the best in sports: "Every year, bus caravans loaded with rowdy (and usually very inebriated) fans make the seven-hour trip between the two cities. Unless you've attended a Falcons-Saints debauchery-filled afternoon, you'll just have to take my word for how much fun it really can be."Atlanta currently leads the all-time series 52-48 (51-48 regular season, 1-0 playoffs). Each team has appeared in the Super Bowl at least once, the Saints winning Super Bowl XLIV while the Falcons lost in Super Bowls XXXIII and in LI.

It began in 1967, the first year of play for the Saints, and press accounts from that game, including the Rome News-Tribune and Los Angeles Times, referred to it as the "Dixie Championship." In recent years, the game has sometimes been referred to as the "Southern Showdown." This has especially been the case leading up to the first of the two 2011 games, by WWL radio in New Orleans.

Beginning in 2017 (the 50th anniversary of the Saints franchise), both stadiums in Atlanta and New Orleans have the Mercedes-Benz moniker on them.

Georgia World Congress Center

The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) is a convention center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Enclosing some 3.9 million ft2 (360,000 m2) in exhibition space and hosting more than a million visitors each year, the GWCC is the third-largest convention center in the United States. Opened in 1976, the GWCC was the first state-owned convention center established in the United States. The center is operated on behalf of the state by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which was chartered in 1971 by Georgia General Assembly to develop an international trade and exhibition center in Atlanta. The authority later developed the Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which replaced the Georgia Dome. In 2017, the Georgia Dome was closed on March 5 and demolished by implosion on November 20 while Mercedes-Benz Stadium officially opened on August 26. While the GWCCA owns Mercedes-Benz Stadium, AMB Group, the parent organization for the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United FC, is responsible for the stadium's operations.

In addition to convention and trade shows, the GWCC often coordinated with the Georgia Dome to host activities in conjunction with major events being held at the dome. Every year, the center hosts SEC Football Fanfare, a two-day fan festival for the thousands of Southeastern Conference football fans in the city for the SEC Championship Game. The center played host to a similar event in tandem with WrestleMania XXVII, WrestleMania Axxess. Family Feud started taping at Georgia World Congress Center in 2015 and stayed there until 2018, when it moved back to Los Angeles.

The GWCC is located in downtown Atlanta at 285 Andrew Young International Boulevard NW, adjacent to CNN Center and State Farm Arena. Public transportation is serviced by the Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center MARTA station. Delta Air Lines previously had a ticket office in the lobby of the complex.Though similarly named, the Georgia International Convention Center is a smaller unrelated facility located near Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a multi-purpose retractable-roof stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), it replaced the now-demolished Georgia Dome, the Falcons' home stadium from 1992 until 2016. Mercedes-Benz Stadium holds the record for the world's largest video board at 62,350 square feet (5,793 m2), and is one of five stadiums in the NFL with a retractable roof.The stadium is owned by the state of Georgia through the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, and operated by AMB Group, the parent organization of the Falcons and Atlanta United. The total cost was estimated at US$1.6 billion, as of June 2016. The stadium officially opened on August 26, 2017 with a Falcons preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, despite the retractable roof system being incomplete at the time. Work on the retractable roof was completed on July 14, 2018.

SEC Men's Basketball Tournament

The SEC Men's Basketball Tournament is the conference tournament in basketball for the Southeastern Conference (SEC). It is a single-elimination tournament that involves all league schools (currently 14). Its seeding is based on regular season records. The winner receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA men's basketball tournament, however the official conference championship is awarded to the team or teams with the best regular season record.

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium
Home of the
Atlanta Falcons

1992 – 2017
Succeeded by
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Preceded by
Omni Coliseum
Home of the
Atlanta Hawks

1997 – 1999
Succeeded by
Philips Arena
Preceded by
First stadium
Home of the
Georgia State Panthers football team

2010 – 2016
Succeeded by
Georgia State Stadium
Preceded by
Legion Field
Home of the
SEC Championship Game

1994 – 2016
Succeeded by
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Preceded by
Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium
Home of the
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

1993 – 2016
Succeeded by
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Preceded by
Louisiana Superdome
Home of the
Sugar Bowl

2006
Succeeded by
Louisiana Superdome
Preceded by


H.H.H. Metrodome
RCA Dome
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

2002
2007
2013
Succeeded by


Louisiana Superdome
Alamodome
AT&T Stadium
Preceded by
Rose Bowl
Pro Player Stadium
Host of the Super Bowl
XXVIII 1994
XXXIV 2000
Succeeded by
Joe Robbie Stadium
Raymond James Stadium
Preceded by
University of Phoenix Stadium
Host of WrestleMania XXVII
2011
Succeeded by
Sun Life Stadium
Preceded by
Candlestick Park
Bank of America Stadium
Host of NFC Championship Game
2013
2017
Succeeded by
CenturyLink Field
Lincoln Financial Field
Preceded by
Reliant Park
Host of FIRST Robotics World Championship
2004–2010
Succeeded by
Edward Jones Dome
Georgia Dome – Navigation templates

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