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"Where they belong", GHSA Football Championships Returning To Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Atlanta Falcons president & CEO Rich McKay (third from left) and GHSA executive director Dr. Robin Hines (third from right) announce football state championships returning to Mercedes-Benz Stadium

On Thursday, the Georgia High School Association and the Atlanta Falcons joined together to announce that the football state championship games, along with the flag football state championship games will return to Mercedes-Benz stadium in 2023. GHSA executive director, Dr. Robin Hines and Atlanta Falcons president and CEO, Rich McKay, were both on hand to speak on the new three year deal that will begin next season.

“We’re extremely excited about that,” Hines said of the announcement on the finals returning to MBS, joking on how despite the storm of 2018 that forced day two of the championships to relocate after a severe winter storm called for cancellations on day one with just two of the four games slated for that day being played, taking the concerns of inclement weather out of the equation, is just one of the many positives of the move. “It’s nice to be able to have these things planned out and not worry about the weather quite as much,” Hines said.

While Hines praised the Georgia State University team for working with GHSA the past few seasons on hosting the state championship games, he noted that conversations between them and the Falcons had continuously taken place over the years and it really was about timing. “We had never stopped talking about our return eventually to here and we’re here, the time is right and we’re grateful for them being able to work with us so that we can make this happen,” Hines added.

And while inclement weather is one less worry now for the championship games, Hines and McKay did note that the NFL scheduling will play a role in what days that title games may fall on. “We are certainly pleased to have the championship games back here. This is where they belong, McKay started before elaborating on how scheduling the games will be based on the NFL schedule. “It is always a scheduling challenge for us because we do have requirements by the NFL,” McKay said.

Requirements that include having to reserve certain days of the week including Thursdays and Saturdays, for NFL events. “But I think we’ve got ourselves in a good place. Yes, we signed a three year and yes are intent and my intent would be that this deal would go for a lot longer than three years,” McKay said of the return of the championship games to MBS. “I’m happy to have them back in the building.

While fielding question from media, Hines also addressed the issue of the use of instant replay following a controversial ending between Cedar Grove and Sandy Creek in the 3A title game on Saturday in which the eventual game winning touchdown was awarded to Sandy Creek, however upon further review, it was evident that the ball carrier was short of the goal line. “We want all calls to be right. Current rules of the Georgia High School Association do not allow for judgement calls for contest officials, there not reviewable at this time,” Hines said, adding that the board of trustees has begun conversations on whether or not they will be implementing instant replay and those conversations will resume after the holidays.


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