Former Georgia star Champ Bailey said what a lot of Bulldogs’ fans have been thinking after learning of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Sunday.
“You can talk about the Falcons all you want,” Bailey told WSB-TV 2’s Zach Klein, “but this is Bulldog Country.”
Champ Bailey on learning in Atlanta and #SBLlll he’s head to NFL Hall of Fame…
“You can talk about the Falcons all you want, but this is Bulldog country” pic.twitter.com/CBtFF6OeQf
— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) February 2, 2019
In some markets, particularly the Northeast, Pro Football is king.
But not in the Southeast, where SEC football rules and Georgia stands among the sports most-respected traditional powerhouses with the longest active bowl streak in the league.
Longest active bowl streaks in CFB:
— CFB Memes (@CFBMemes_) January 28, 2019
The television ratings backed up the Atlanta market’s infatuation with Georgia football last season.
The Bulldogs fans travel like few other programs, too.
Louisiana Hall of Fame journalist Scooter Hobbs told DawgNation that Georgia “had more fans than any opposing team I’ve ever see in Tiger Stadium” in the more than 30 years the veteran journalist has covered LSU.
It appeared more than 20,000 fans were wearing red when the teams met this season in Baton Rouge.
For Bailey, Georgia has always been on his mind, growing up and playing in Athens.
“This is what made me who I am, my state,” said Bailey, who won the Nagurski Trophy in 1998 as the nation’s top defensive player. I played representing Georgia with a lot of pride.”
— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) February 3, 2019
Bailey represented well, as evidenced by his career stats, courtesy of @NFL_Stats:
- 215 games
- 908 tackles
- 203 passes defended
- 52 interceptions
- 4 touchdowns
- 42 tackles-for-loss
- 3 sacks
- 7 forced fumbles
- 6 fumble recoveries
- 12-time Pro Bowler
- 3-time All-Pro