A lot goes into getting a win and this year and in previous seasons the Falcons fans have been an important part of the winning recipe.
As advancements in the televised NFL product continue to occur, each football franchise faces challenges to continue to get their fans inside the arena for home games. This season the Falcons have done a strong job of doing this, with fans showing up early and packing the Georgia Dome to give the Falcons a boost.
Due to some new rules this season, home teams are allowed to use additional graphics to encourage fans to make noise in support. One of the more popular features in the Georgia Dome this season has been the short videos from offensive and defensive players, comically encouraging the crowd to quiet down or get loud.
Head coach Mike Smith said on Monday that he's heard from fans about how much they enjoy the new feature. New programs inside the dome help make a more live atmosphere, but a winning product on the field doesn't hurt when trying to put fans in the seats. The Falcons have been delivering to the home crowd as the fans show up.
Since Smith took over in 2008, the Falcons have the third-best home record in the NFL with 29. They trail the New England Patriots with 30 wins and the Baltimore Ravens with 31 wins.
Smith has been especially pleased with the performance of the fans through the first three home games of this season, including how they're showing up earlier.
"The fans have been fantastic," Smith said. "It's been a home-field advantage for us since we've been here, but I really think this season, through our first three home games, the crowd has been fantastic. We've gotten the early arrivals, which is great. Our guys are really excited when we kick the ball off that everybody is in their seat."
According to stats compiled by ESPN.com, the Falcons' average attendance at the Georgia Dome this season has been 69,801. That figure ranks 13th in attendance in the league. What's most exciting about the figure is that it represents 98 percent of the Georgia Dome's capacity crowd of 71,228. It means the Falcons fans are coming to the games at a high rate and the team is rewarding those in person with a win.
One of the biggest lifts a home crowd can provide is through helping create penalties. This season at home the Falcons have kept their penalties to just five while getting 22 penalties from their three opponents.
Creating penalties, giving the defense a boost or making hearing a challenge for an opposing offense are all things the Falcons fan inside the Georgia Dome has shown an ability to do with increasing frequency this year. They've been a big part of the Falcons success in recent years and from the looks of it will continue to be a key ingredient.