Atlanta‘s dominant victory over the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s NFL Championship Game did more than just send the Falcons to the Super Bowl: It also served as a fitting finale for the Georgia Dome.
Though there are still five more events scheduled for the Georgia Dome this spring — monster trucks! — the Falcons win certain provides a storybook ending for the 25-year-old facility, which has hosted some 1,456 events in that time, including two Super Bowls, three NCAA men’s Final Fours, 206 Falcons games and 152 college football games (including 23 straight SEC championship game and multiple Peach Bowls), according to Dome spokesman Jason Kirksey. That accounts for 37.6 million fans walking through the turnstiles.
But, with the $1.6-billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium going up right next door, the Georgia Dome was deemed to be economically obsolete. After the final five events, the Georgia Dome is coming down, with demolition to begin in late May and implosion slated for the beginning of August. By that time, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be open.
And although there’s a lot of excitement about the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, there is certainly some wistfulness about the loss of the Georgia Dome: lots of memories were created during those 1,456 events. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“Our goal has always been for the Dome to go out on top, and we will close our football chapter having hosted two of the biggest games ever held in Atlanta, with the College Football Playoff semifinal (on Dec. 31) and now the NFC Championship game,” said Frank Poe, executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which operates the Dome….
The ending comes with a mix of nostalgia and emotion for the Dome’s staff.
“You run the range of emotions — excited, sentimental, sad,” said Kevin Duvall, the GWCCA’s chief operating officer, in his 15th year with the GWCCA and Dome. “I was taking selfies with everybody all day long (at the Falcons-Seahawks game) just to reflect on it.
“I’m so thankful that things turned out so that we have this one final game.”