Believe it or not, not everyone is rooting for Pats
College hoop standouts call South home
Among the locals of the sporting world, we have a few Falcons’ fans; plus Atlanta QB Matt Ryan, left, is still revered at BC.
As loyal and diehard fans of the Atlanta Falcons, Rodney Bullock and Hunter Ware find themselves in the heart of enemy territory this week.
Like the New England region they call home during the school year, Bullock and Ware are gearing up for Sunday’s big game in Houston. Neither of the Division I college basketball juniors – Bullock at Providence with Ware up the road at Bryant – are about to hide their allegiance just because it would spare them ribbing or teasing. They’re rooters of the Falcons and they’re proud to see their beloved team sitting just one step away from achieving Super Bowl glory.
“I can’t wait,” Bullock said prior to the Friars hitting the floor for Monday’s practice at Alumni Hall.
Added Bryant’s Ware, “A lot of people around here are going to talk trash to me, but I’ll take whatever I need to take.”
Both players credit their respective upbringing for the primary reason they cheer for this year’s NFC representative in Super Bowl LI.
Bullock hails from Hampton, Va. – less than 10 miles away from the hometown of onetime Falcons quarterback icon Michael Vick. Naturally, Bullock was drawn to the star power that made Vick a household name before his career hit a downward spiral following an illegal dog fighting ring that resulted in Atlanta severing ties with the former No. 1 overall draft pick.
Bullock’s support of the Falcons did not wane despite the removal of Vick from the roster. He still has the No. 7 Vick jersey he wore with pride as a youngster, though Bullock admitted that it might be time for him to update his wardrobe and purchase the replica jersey of a player from the current roster.
“(Atlanta wide receiver) Julio Jones is my favorite player now,” Bullock said.
The explanation behind Ware’s card-carrying preference for the Falcons is twofold.
The Bryant guard was born and bred in Powder Springs, Ga. As a young boy, frequent trips were made the Georgia Dome to see the Atlanta players strut their feathers in front of the home crowd. Atlanta is little more than half an hour away from Ware’s hometown.
Like Bullock, Ware grew up a huge Vick fan.
“I was upset when he left, but [current Atlanta QB] Matt Ryan has held it down for us,” Ware said after Bryant’s overtime win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday.
The other reason why Ware bleeds the Falcons’ colors of red and black stems from his mom Lisa. She grew up in Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. That’s the same SEC school that Jones went to before joining Atlanta and becoming one of the NFL’s most electrifying wideouts.
Ware doesn’t have any Falcons gear lurking in his dorm closet at Bryant. He did mention the possibility of his mom mailing a jersey so that he has something to wear come Super Bowl Sunday.
“I actually wanted to face Tom Brady so that I can have a rivalry with the New England fans,” Ware said. “It’s the game that Falcon Nation wanted.”
As for their game-viewing plans, Bullock will watch the Super Bowl in the comfort and peace of his dorm room. Ware plans to do the opposite.
“I’m one of those guys who likes to have a good time,” Ware said. “I’ve got to have somebody … the opponent … next to me.”
Naturally, both are predicting Sunday to be a big day for the Falcons.
“They’re going to blow (the Patriots) out,” Bullock said with a smile.
“I honestly believe they’re going to win,” Ware said. “If I had to make a prediction, I would say it’ll be close. Atlanta, 17-14.”
Providence’s Rodney Bullock, who grew up near Michael Vick’s hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia, will be supporting the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Patriots. Bryant’s Hunter Ware is also cheering for the Falcons.
While Rhode Island native and Providence coach Ed Cooley is pulling for the Patriots in the Super Bowl, junior Rodney Bullock is backing the Atlanta Falcons.