HomeNewsArticle Display

Atlanta Falcon players, cheerleaders visit Robins

Boone Stutz, Atlanta Falcon long snapper, signs a football for a fan. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Boone Stutz, Atlanta Falcons long snapper, signs a football for a fan. (Air Force photo by Sue Sapp)

Javian Wimes, 5, gets a hug from Freddie Falcon. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Javian Wimes, age 5, gets a hug from mascot Freddie Falcon. (Air Force photo by Sue Sapp)

Boone Stutz, long snapper with the Atlanta Falcons, accepts an eagle from Col. Theresa Carter, 78th Air Base Wing commander at FalconFest Monday. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Boone Stutz, long snapper with the Atlanta Falcons, accepts an eagle from Col. Theresa Carter, 78th Air Base Wing commander at FalconFest. (Air Force photo by Sue Sapp)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- It will be about 10 more weeks before the National Football League officially kicks off the 2007 season. But football fans at Robins got an early glimpse of the excitement the league generates.

Atlanta Falcons players Jerious Norwood, Boone Stutz, Daniel Fells and Paul Carrington joined four cheerleaders and team mascot Freddie the Falcon in signing autographs here June 11. In addition to getting autographs, fans also were able to purchase tickets for upcoming games.

Marchelle Snead, flight chief of community support flight, 78th Services Division, said the regular event is a fan favorite and a great opportunity for fans to not only meet some of the players, but also get tickets well in advance of the season, before they sell out.

"The event is a way to kick off ticket sales," said Ms. Sneed, who organized the event. "We have fans lining up at five a.m. to buy tickets. And they aren't budging, they want their tickets. They are die hard football fans."

Ms. Snead said buying tickets from Information, Tickets and Travel has its advantages because the NFL sells season tickets only. For those who can't afford the entire season or don't have the time to attend every game, the ITT breaks the season tickets into single game tickets. Tickets are $40 for upper deck and $80 for the lower seating.

First Lt. Ryan McKenzie, 128th Air Combat Control Squadron, was one of the first in line to buy tickets. He said waiting in line was worth it because he didn't want or need an entire season package.

"It's the summer and I had the day off," the lieutenant said. "I really didn't have anything better to do."

Those who braved the heat and humidity, like Lieutenant McKenzie, were rewarded with first choice of seats for the best games on the schedule, like the Thursday, Nov. 22 game against defending Super Bowl champions Indianapolis Colts. That game is sold out, as are several other prime games on the schedule.

Although the opportunity for tickets made the event a success, it wouldn't have been quite as successful without the NFL players. The four players, all in their second year, signed autographs and chatted with fans about the upcoming season and about the opportunity to visit Robins.

Perhaps the most recognized of the players was Norwood, a running back who showed signs of greatness his rookie season playing behind starting running back Warrick Dunn. But it was Stutz, a long snapper, who expressed appreciation for the men and women serving the country in the military.

"This means so much to us to see people take time out of their schedule to come and see us," said Stutz in an interview with a Macon Telegraph reporter. "Especially (at Robins). They do so much for our country. What they do gives us the ability to play football. I can't express how much we appreciate what they did for us."