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Harris Blackwood: Keeping Southern state of mind about the Atlanta Falcons
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Lordy mercy, the Falcons are going to the Super Bowl and the trash talk has already started.

Dan Shaughnessy, a popular columnist for The Boston Globe, wrote an epistle suggesting it is hard to get excited about a matchup against Atlanta.

Mr. Shaughnessy, we are now more than 150 years past the War Between the States (notice I did not call it the War of Northern Aggression). We have adapted to wearing shoes, eating with table utensils and bathing regularly.

We are kind and hospitable people. If you came by, we’d invite you in, not for some non-existing peachtree margarita (your words, not mine), but for some good bourbon or one of our fine Georgia wines. By the way, the latter of those does not come in a box or a Mason jar, thank you.

We also know how to inflate footballs and have a quarterback who has hands that can hold a properly pumped pigskin.

Let me also remind you trotting out an old player didn’t work for the Boston Braves in 1935, when they tried to revive the twilight career of a player named George Herman Ruth.

Your Patriots play in Foxborough, a place that is actually closer to Providence, R.I., than Boston.

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the formal and proper name of the state, was started as a colony for Baptists. On a recent trip there, I attended the First Baptist Church in America. We have a Baptist church on nearly every corner in Georgia. We brought a good idea to the South and it flourished. Kind of like our football team.

The Falcons brought pro football to the emerging new South 50 years ago. It has taken a little while, but we are finally getting it right. Sort of like the formula for Coca-Cola, although we had that right from the beginning.

By the way, you’ll not be drinking a Pepsi at a Falcons’ home game.

We are building a stadium that is going to be the talk of the NFL. It is called Mercedes-Benz Stadium. You may have heard of those folks at Mercedes; they have their U.S. headquarters in Atlanta. The same is true for Porsche, UPS and Home Depot.

By the way, Atlanta is also home to Delta Airlines, the airline the Patriots will fly to the Super Bowl. You may know Delta. They are the airline that dwarfs your hometown carrier, Cape Air.

Our airport is the busiest airport in the world. Yes, the one in Atlanta.

I know you don’t have a lot of respect for our sports teams, but we are the place where Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. He was playing for the Braves, a team that didn’t make it in Boston or Milwaukee, but have been our team for a half-century.

We are not stopping in our production of good athletes. You’ll be writing about a fine young man named Deshaun Watson in a few weeks. He is a product of my little town, about an hour out of downtown Atlanta. By the way, he had a part-time job in high school for the Falcons.

“It’s a way, way down where the cane grows tall

Down where they say “you all”

Walk on in with that Southern drawl

‘Cause that’s what I like about the South.”

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on