Blank’s Falcons Super Bowl Bound
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Blank’s Falcons Super Bowl Bound

The Atlanta Falcons are headed for Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank

It took 15 years, but Arthur Blank is finally dancing to the Super Bowl as the owner of a team playing for the Lombardi Trophy.

Head Coach Dan Quinn and Arthur Blank at Falcons training camp.
Coach Dan Quinn and Arthur Blank at Falcons training camp in August.

The Atlanta Falcons earned a spot in Super Bowl LI with a crushing 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jan. 22. It was the first time the Falcons won the NFC championship at home, and it happened in the final game at the Georgia Dome, which will be razed this year to make way for the Falcons’ new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Jewish Atlanta, like the rest of the city, has celebrated the MVP-caliber exploits of quarterback Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons as they have risen to the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history. The first time, a 34-19 loss to the Denver Broncos in 1999, was three years before Blank bought the team for $545 million, and the Falcons had to win the NFC championship on the road in Minnesota that year.

His limited partners in the ownership include fellow Jewish Atlantans Ed Mendel and Doug Hertz. Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, who is speaking to the Jewish Breakfast Club three days after the Super Bowl, showed his support for the franchise next door by tweeting out a photo of himself and wife Eydie on the sidelines.

The big game Sunday, Feb. 5, in Houston is against the New England Patriots, whose Jewish owner, Robert Kraft, is one of the biggest financial backers of American football in Israel. That opponent creates a good problem for Jewish Atlantans with Boston roots, such as 680 the Fan host Steak Shapiro and Mercedes-Benz Stadium documentarian David Lewis, who told the AJT he’ll stick with his promise to support the Falcons.

The timing also poses a problem for Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Executive Director Kenny Blank. Not only does the game fall in the middle of the festival, but 16 films are being screened that Sunday. The idea was to offer alternative programming to the Super Bowl, Blank said; instead, he plans to slip away for the day to join his father in Houston.

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