Beverly Roderick has been “rising up” all week, surrounded by Atlanta Falcons memorabilia that honor the legacies of team favorites, like quarterback Steve Bartkowski and wide receiver Roddy White.
The Georgia native, who moved to Charleston in 2004, is anticipating a Super Bowl victory on Sunday when her team faces the New England Patriots.
“I really believe this team is good enough to not be satisfied with just getting to the game. So it will be a major disappointment if they lose,” she said.
Roderick is part of the Original Atlanta Falcons Fan Club of Charleston. Founded in 1990, the club is largely made up of Georgians who have relocated to the Lowcountry over the years. Group members used to meet each game day at George’s Sports Bar on Savannah Highway before it closed. Now, they meet at The Roost – also located on Savannah Highway.
“I was thrilled to find that there was a club for Falcons fans,” she said. “They had been meeting since the early 90s and were all good friends. And they welcomed a new fan into the mix.”
Ralph Catasso, owner of The Roost, said anywhere from eight to 25 group members pop up on game day. He said he’s always amazed at how loyal the Falcon fan base is.
“They come in every week, rain or shine,” he said. “It’s good for the Southern region whenever any team is doing well. But this season, it has definitely been all about the Falcons.”
Group member Patrick Thomas said it’s nice to have fellow Falcons fans in “Panther territory,” and that he always gets a few shouts of “Rise Up” while wearing his gear around town.
Born in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Thomas said he was actually raised in Jacksonville, Florida. However, he stayed true to his roots and supports all Atlanta teams.
“I think I became totally hooked on the Falcons when they drafted Mike Vick,” he said. “It was impossible to not be polarized by that guy.”
In addition to Vick, Thomas’s other favorite Falcons from the past include running backs Jamal Anderson and Warrick Dunn.
As for today's Falcons, Thomas likes Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones, who recorded the second most receiving yards in the NFL this season.
For Roderick, it’s mostly about Matt Ryan – the MVP candidate who put up 4,944 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions during the regular season.
“Both on and off the field he is a leader. He never complains… just does his job and strives to get better each week,” she said.
Despite the unconditional love for red and black, Thomas says he’s “cautiously optimistic” about Sunday’s game. He still remembers the 1999 Super Bowl loss, and the many down years for his Atlanta team.
Thomas also is worried about the New England Patriots, who feature the quarterback-head coach duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The two have captured four rings together and are appearing in their seventh Super Bowl.
“I don't think we can expect victory, going up against probably the best quarterback and coach of all time,” Thomas said. “But I think it is definitely fair to expect it to be a close game and I think Atlanta can definitely win.”
Roderick said the Falcons should not change their approach to this game after going 11-5 during the season.
The Dirty Birds scored 540 points in their 16 regular-season games, which breaks down to 33.75 points per game. That ranks as the seventh-best offense in NFL regular-season history.
When the Super Bowl kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Thomas said he'll be ready – wearing his Julio Jones jersey and “yelling at a TV somewhere.”