New Falcons stadium might be a fumble

July 31, 2013 

Back in the day, folks said the Kingdome looked like a Quarter-Pounder had landed in the middle of Seattle. The Astrodome in Houston? Born as the eighth wonder of the world, it died with a eulogy of looking like a flying saucer plopped down in southwest Houston.

The new Barclays Center in Brooklyn kind of looks like a cream-filled cupcake from one angle and the product of a art class that had too much glue in the studio.

And then came designs for Atlanta’s new stadium. Were Jeff George, Deion Sanders, Jerry Glanville and Bobby Petrino involved in the outside designs?

There were two designs approved as finalists. The Solarium looked like the most modern warehouse you’ve ever seen. It’s pretty basic when closed, but the sides slide back as the roof opens, and everybody gets a nice skyline view, and it becomes almost completely a roof-less stadium.

Some tweaks on the outside, and all is well. It wouldn’t impress the TASC -- Twitter Attention Span Crowd -- and that, of course, is a good thing.

Of course, the other design, the Pantheon, which includes a Twitter feed circling inside -- was chosen. That alone should be enough for Jeff Van Note, Steve Bartkowski, Jessie Tuggle and Tommy Nobis to inquire about pulling their ring of honor display.

Old-school is now all of five years old.

Man: “Daddy saw Jessie Tuggle play in his final season.”

Son: “Who?”

Man: “The Hammer.”

Son (puzzled): “OK, I’ll try #TheHammer and see what a Tuggle is.”

Man: (reaches for an official $14 Atlanta Falcons hankie).

Naturally, the design that puts “art” at a mighty high priority won.

Forced art -- hello Denver airport of the 1990s, which came in at twice the budget and two years late -- just doesn’t work. There is only one Sydney Opera House, the iconic skyline building in nearly every picture of Sydney, Australia.

A football stadium isn’t supposed to be artsy or impress those who will never use it. It can be unique without head-scratching, but a building should sort of speak to its inhabitants. The Pantheon from above sort of looks like a web of old single-lens-reflex camera shutters that got stuck together in a somewhat cohesive formation.

The designs were described in reports as “crazy” and “funky” and so on. It just seems a mess, inefficient and ready for regular repair issues. And now the vastly underrated Georgia Dome looks more “classic” than it really is.

The debate for a new Falcons home can continue, and one could go on about how the Pantheon looks like excessive attempts to impress those who are gone after the ribbon-cutting. But at least they had the location right. Right? Next to the Dome on the south side, much closer to MARTA -- extremely underrated -- and the bulk of the nearby parking was logical in nearly every aspect.

Oh well.

Now the Falcons have said that, thanks to money issues with two churches, they’re moving on to the wrong-from-the-start spot, north of the Georgia World Congress Center. I could handle the argument for a new building in almost any location more than that one, and it sure looked like the proper spot might soothe those who disagreed with the need for new digs in the first place.

Churches that appear to want substantially more than the historic properties are financially worth might have killed the logical plan.

There’s plenty of debate on that topic, as well, but one mind wonders: Couldn’t those churches do much more of the work they want to with millions of dollars in the bank? Wouldn’t those whose work made the church properties historical actually want that more than just holding on to the buildings?

Just when things were looking mighty good for the Falcons in every possible area, the ghost of Rankin Smith shows up.

Contact Michael A. Lough at 744-4626 or

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