If You’re The Atlanta Falcons, Justin Fields Makes You More Money Than Kyle Pitts. Oh, Well

The average NFL ticket price is $151, which means you need an attractive product for your fan base. So, you can’t afford to blow high draft picks after you fail to rise above .500 in the standings during any season since 2017. This is especially true when the tens of thousands of no-shows at your homes games indicate you need a huge drawing card to excite the masses.

Somebody like, oh, say Justin Fields.

Which brings us to the Atlanta Falcons, victimized by all of the above from self-inflicted wounds. Among the first signs Sunday afternoon they hadn’t a clue two years ago during the NFL Draft was the sight around their Mercedes-Benz Stadium of all those folks in No. 1 jerseys.

Yes, Falcons starting quarterback Marcus Mariota wears No. 1, but with the Chicago Bears in town, the overwhelming majority of those rocking No. 1 jerseys in the stands represented Justin Fields, the Bears’ starting quarterback, the guy who grew up in nearby Kennesaw, Georgia, as a diehard Falcons fan and whose father had Falcons season tickets.

Not only that, but before Fields transferred in 2019 to Ohio State — where he took the Buckeyes on a couple of trips to the College Football Playoff — he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, the team of passion around Atlanta.

This was the same Justin Fields who the Falcons should have taken with the fourth pick overall in the 2021 NFL draft. Instead, they grabbed tight end Kyle Pitts who made the Pro Bowl his rookie year, but who has been underwhelming this season, and who has done nothing to solve the no-show issue for NFL games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the stands are packed and loud for college games.

In contrast, Fields dominates the airways, newsprint and cyberspace around Chicago, and his fame is expanding to the rest of the nation. That’s partly because he already has a pair of his cleats in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after he established an NFL record for quarterbacks earlier this month when he rushed for 178 yards against the Miami Dolphins.

Oh, well. At least the 5-6 Falcons had the satisfaction of going from bad to mediocre after they survived Fields and the Bears down the stretch for a 27-24 victory.

It’s just that the usual no-shows for your average Falcons home games were replaced by a combination of Bears fans from everywhere and the slew of local Justin Fields fans who would have solved part of the Falcons’ no-show problem if the franchise hadn’t made one of the worst decisions in NFL Draft history.

Even if Pitts regains his Pro Bowl status anytime soon and sustains it, tight ends don’t win Super Bowls.

Tight ends don’t even get you to Super Bowls.

Franchise quarterbacks do both, and Fields is threatening to sprint in that direction when he gets a decent supporting cast. The Bears have lacked one during his two seasons on their roster. They are 3-8 now, with a leaky offensive line that has caused opposing defenses to batter and bruise Fields at will.

This time, despite facing the second-worst NFL team at producing sacks, Fields was sacked six times. His left shoulder ached so badly after the game in the visiting locker room at Mercedes-Benz Stadium that he only could use his right hand to remove the T-shirt he was wearing under his jersey.

“(The shoulder injury) was on the first play of the last drive. I don’t even know what happened, to be honest with you,” Fields said, addressing the media later while looking ready for the nearest whirlpool or hospital bed. “I just landed on it, I think. I was hurting, but it was the last drive of the game. I tried to be there for my teammates.”

Then there were Fields’ leg issues, and he said, “Yeah, I was pretty much cramping up the whole fourth quarter.”

Fields still completed a perfectly thrown touchdown pass of 16 yards in the first quarter, and he raced four yards untouched into the end zone during the second quarter to give the Bears a 17-7 lead at the time.

The Falcons rallied with their suddenly ferocious defense. They also had just enough help from Mariota in his first season with the Falcons.

Since the Falcons took Pitts over Fields, and since their pursuit of Deshaun Watson didn’t work (which they can thank the football gods for that one), they had to sign the journeyman Mariota after they traded Matt Ryan following 14 years with the team to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round draft pick.

Mariota or Fields?

Well, even though Fields ached nearly everywhere around his frame of 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds, he had more rushing yards (85 to 25) and passing yards (153 to 131) than Mariota.

And Fields remained the people’s choice.

See those jerseys.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/terencemoore/2022/11/21/if-youre-the-atlanta-falcons-justin-fields-makes-you-more-money-than-kyle-pitts-oh-well/