Falcons lead the Patriots in celebrity fans


By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr.

Associated Press

ATLANTA

The New England Patriots have the Super Bowl history and experience going for them Sunday, but they can’t compete with the Atlanta Falcons when it comes to an entourage of celebrity fans.

The Falcons have been known for having fickle fans who abandon the team when it struggles, but this season, the sidelines have been overflowing with rappers, actors and athletes from other sports .

Rapper T.I. says he’s no bandwagon jumper. The lifelong Falcons fan says he remembers when Deion Sanders high-stepped into end zones, Michael Vick dashed by defenders and the “Dirty Birds” danced to the Super Bowl in 1999.

Those were some of the most memorable moments in Falcons history, but there were many more forgettable years. No matter the outcome, T.I. remained faithful.

“We’re always down for the home team,” T.I. said. “We’ve had our highs and lows. But this team is different. We are rooting for them.”

Usher, Future, Jeezy and Bow Wow have been spotted cheering from the sidelines during Falcons home games this season. Rapper Gucci Mane was shown giving fans high-fives at a playoff game in the Georgia Dome.

Ludacris performed at halftime in the Falcons’ NFC divisional round win against the Seattle Seahawks then returned the following week to deliver another show in the team’s final home game at the Georgia Dome in a victory against the Green Bay Packers.

The rapper recently narrated a short video clipped called “A City Waits” in honor of the Falcons.

Some might think celebrities are jumping on the Falcons’ bandwagon. But star receiver Julio Jones says that’s not the case.

“The Atlanta celebrities, all the artists in Atlanta, they’ve definitely been behind us throughout the years, even when we weren’t to this point,” Jones said. “I have a relationship with a lot of those guys. They’ve always supported us. It hasn’t changed. But they’re out here now. They’re talking about it in their music, in interviews, everything.”

One of the most notable Falcons supporters is actor Samuel L. Jackson, who created a commercial in 2014 for the team. Jackson worked concessions at games when he attended Morehouse College.

“Samuel L is probably my only competition as a Falcons fan,” said The-Dream, a Grammy-winning singer-producer whose basement is filled with Falcons paraphernalia from flags, jerseys and a helmet from Sanders.

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