The Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia who play in the South Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). They joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League (AFL). The AFL instead granted a franchise to Miami, Florida (the Miami Dolphins). The Falcons are tied with the Dolphins (who also began play in 1966) for being the oldest NFL franchise in the Deep South, and are the oldest NFC team in that region.
In their half century of pro sport, the Falcons have compiled a record of 316–414–6, winning division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, and 2012. Their only Super Bowl appearance was during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXIII in Miami which they lost 34–19 to the defending champion Denver Broncos.
At the moment the Falcons play their home games at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta but are slated to move to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, currently under construction, during the 2017 season. The team’s nickname is the Dirty Birds, their mascot Freddie Falcon and their colors are black, red, silver and white.
Looking at the roll of honor of Falcons players, many Falcons fans think the best Falcon was the first -- 1966 No. 1 draft choice Tommy Nobis. He was easily the best player on the first team and the NFL Rookie of the Year. Nobis amassed an unprecedented 294 combined tackles his first season which was not only Atlanta's all-time single-season record, but unofficially the most tackles ever credited to one player, in a season, in NFL history.
Quarterback Steve Bartkowski, was chosen with the first overall pick in the 1975 NFL Draft. NFL Rookie of the Year in 1975, Bartkpowski is one of only nine quarterbacks in NFL history who have achieved consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons (1980 & 1981) at least once in their career. He remains the team's all-time passing leader with 23,470 yards and 154 touchdown passes.
In 1981 William Andrews led the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,036. He went over 1,300 yards rushing and scored a career-high 12 touchdowns but unfortunately a knee injury in 1984 effectively diminished his career.
Claude Humphrey, was named First-team All-Pro five times (1971-'74, and 1977), Second- Team All-Pro three times (1969, 1970, 1976), and All-NFC six times (1970-'74, 1977). Humphrey is a member of the Georgia Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Hall of Fame. His college retired his number and inducted him into their Hall of Fame. His high school has also retired his jersey and he is a member of his high school Hall of Fame.
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