The Atlanta Falcons, led by businessman Arthur Blank, are set to square off with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51 on Sunday.
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Blank, the Falcons’ billionaire owner, used the business acumen behind the success of his Home Depot (HD) franchise to turn the struggling NFL team into this year’s NFC champions.
“Despite all my success at the Home Depot and all of our other businesses and the success relatively we had with the Atlanta Falcons the last 15 years, but to represent Atlanta, our city, our fans, our players, our coaches, our extended family at this event is incredible,” Blank said in an exclusive interview with FOX Business Network’s Liz Claman.
The Atlanta Falcons will make their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, after missing the playoffs for three straight years. Even though the Falcons will face stiff competition from Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Blank has full confidence in head coach Dan Quinn and his team.
“We are a team that’s healthy. We have a lot of confidence in our abilities and we know if we focus on the things we can control, not what the Patriots could control, that we’ll come out with a good outcome,” he said.
After the Falcons defeated the Green Bay Packers 44-21 to advance to Super Bowl 51, the former co-founder of Home Depot pledged to pay for every employee to go to the Super Bowl. The offer was also extended to employees from his other businesses like PGA Tour Superstore and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United.
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“For us it’s not a matter of cost, it’s a matter of investing in our associates who are so critical to the foundation of not only the Atlanta Falcons but for all of our franchises, all of our businesses,” Blank said.
Blank, who purchased the Falcons in 2002, was a big part of the team’s brand new, $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, that will also be home to the Atlanta United soccer team.
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Blank said despite declining television ratings amid last year’s election cycle, the National Football League is in a “fairly good position.”
As a CEO with a proven track record in both business and sports, Blank is hopeful President Donald Trump’s pro-business stance will be good for the country. He believes the government must focus on narrowing the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots.”
“This country was built on a strong middle class. The country needs to go back and pay a lot attention on what it takes to give the middle class the opportunities that they had before,” he said.
As Americans wrestle with the politics, Blank said we have to remember to put the country first.
“It is about our country. It’s about inclusion. It’s about diversity. It’s about all the things that make this country a great place,” he said.
When asked if he will dance if the Falcons defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, Blank said, “I’ll be dancing on my toes if we win.”