The Georgia Dome is set to implode Monday after 25 years of hosting the Atlanta Falcons, the Peach Bowl, Georgia State and three NCAA Final Fours. It hasn’t been a pleasant place to visit for local teams. Here’s a quick summary.
- Ohio State’s Thad Five made it to the NCAA men’s basketball title game at the Georgia Dome in 2007, the heralded first recruiting class of Thad Matta. The Buckeye youngsters unfortunately went against a veteran Billy Donovan coached Florida team that included Joakim Noah and a host of others that had won the national title the previous season.
Florida edged Ohio State in Gainesville early in the season 86-80, and with the Buckeyes getting a regular season and postseason run under their belt, Ohio State felt good about its chances.
But Florida’s veteran squad took an early lead, led 40-29 at halftime and won 84-75. While Greg Oden had a good game for Ohio State in the paint, Florida shut down the rest of Ohio State’s offense.
To make matters worse, Florida also beat Ohio State a few months earlier in the BCS National Title game in football. Florida became the first school to hold both basketball and football national titles in the same calendar year.
The 2007 tournament was the coming out party for then VCU coach and current Dayton coach Anthony Grant, which shocked Duke with a 79-77 win in the first round of the tournament.
- While the Bengals played the Falcons seven times in the preseason since 1992, when the Georgia Dome opened, the two only played in the Georgia Dome twice in the regular season.
Atlanta drubbed the Bengals 30-2 in 2002 during the third game of the season. It was the last year for Dick LeBeau, who would go back to Pittsburgh and helm the defense for the Steelers during two Super Bowls.
Meanwhile a tough Falcons defense held the Bengals to 191 total yards and forced interceptions from quarterbacks John Kitna and Gus Frerotte. Michael Vick threw for two touchdowns and rushed for 56 yards while Warrick Dunn rushed for a touchdown.
The Bengals finished the season 2-14 and had the first pick in the draft. They picked USC quarterback Carson Palmer and in the offseason hired head coach Marvin Lewis, who turned the team around immediately, going 8-8 in back to back years before making the playoffs in 2005 and winning the division title. It was the Bengals first playoff appearance since 15 years.
- The Bengals second trip to the Georgia Dome was more competitive, but came during a rebuilding year.
The Falcons led 24-3 at halftime until the Bengals scored 22 unanswered points in the third quarter. Carson Palmer threw touchdown passes to Terrell Owens and Jordan Shipley while Adam Jones returned a fumble 59 yards for a touchdown.
Unfortunately the Falcons got it together in the fourth quarter. Matt Ryan threw a touchdown pass and and Michael Turner rushed three yards for a touchdown to retake the lead. Chad Johnson and Palmer put the Bengals back within seveb late in the fourth with an 8-yard touchdown pass, but by then it was too late.
- The Cleveland Browns Georgia Dome history is friendlier. The Browns are 11-3 historically against Atlanta. Cleveland lost its first game in the Georgia Dome 17-14 during the 1993 season.
The Browns won there in 2006 17-13, intercepting Atlanta three times and recovering a fumble. Cleveland won again in 2014 beating the Falcons 26-24, giving the Browns a 7-4 record, but Cleveland lost its next five games and missed the playoffs. Brian Hoyer was 23-of-40 passing for 322 yards but threw three interceptions. Isaiah Crowell rushed 12 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns wile Terrance West rushed 14 times for 62 yards. Josh Gordon had eight catches for 120 yards.