We get off at the Dome station and pour onto the escalator. I meet Red at CNN Center for a pregame Sweetwater. Then we march through the cold night, up Andrew Young International Boulevard, into the Dome, our home for the last 20 years. Red and I like the Falcons' owner, Arthur Blank, and the winning ambition he brought when he bought the team 10 years ago. But we also like our Dome, the comfort, the noise, the gray light that always reminds us of November, and we see no need for Blank's plan to abandon this place in favor of a costly new home with a retractable roof.
We climb to our upper-level seats. On the giant screens above the end zones, Samuel L. Jackson and a Gospel choir costar in a video designed to fire us up.
"When a city lights up," he says. "We all rise up together.
"When we come on the field, we rise up.
"From kickoff to the last play, WE RISE UP.
"THIS IS OUR TIME, ATLANTA.
"WE'VE BEEN KNOCKIN' ON THE DOOR.
"NOW IT'S TIME TO BLOW IT UP.
"TELL ME, WHAT DO FALCONS DO?"
"RISE UP," the choir sings.