A lot goes into a championship team: Coaches, players, and usually a little bit of luck. But there’s also ownership. You know, the guys who pay the bills, keep the lights on, and, ideally, care a lot about winning.
In that regard, few NFL owners can match Atlanta’s Arthur Blank.
“Well, first of all, he stayed out of the football part of it,” former Falcons quarterback and current Falcons radio analyst Dave Archer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think that that’s been key. I think that all of us that have reported on the game or played in the game know about those guys that kind of want to meddle in the football side of it. He’s hired football people and stayed out of the way. The resources that he’s lent to this team have been unparalleled. He has dumped as much money into his team as anybody that I’ve ever seen as far as facilities.”
Blank, however, doesn’t just invest money. He invests his time. He invests in other people – emotionally and financially.
“We call him The Closer around here,” Archer said. “Whenever you bring a top-flight free agent in, the last dinner the guy has is he goes out with Mr. Blank. He’s our closer. I don’t think he’s blown a save since he’s been in the closer position for us. He’s done an excellent job with that. But he’s just a good man. He’s a guy that will stand there and talk to you. He comes around the locker room and congratulates everybody. I don’t know how many times he’s come over and shaken my hand and said, ‘Hey, congratulations on the win.’ Obviously I didn’t take a snap the whole game, but that’s just who he is. He’s an all-inclusive guy who has poured all his resources into trying to make this team a championship team.”
Blanks’ all-in attitude isn’t lost on his players. Julio Jones, for example, has battled through a toe injury this season, but that hasn’t stopped him from being one of the most productive receivers in football.
“It’s going to bother him (in the Super Bowl),” Archer said of the injury. “It bothered him on Sunday against the Packers, even though nine for 180 and two touchdowns wouldn’t indicate that. He’s been bothered by it all year long. But he’s one of those warrior-type of players. He’s not going to let his teammates down. He’s one of those superstars that you want to be around because he doesn’t care anything about himself. He cares about his team, and he’ll be ready to go. There will be some things that are bothering him. He’ll have to come out of the game and take a breath or two and flex that toe a little bit, but you can bet that he’s going to be ready to line up (next) Sunday.”