Atlanta Falcons

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Atlanta Falcons
Current season
Established June 30, 1965; 49 years ago (June 30, 1965)
Play in Georgia Dome
Atlanta, Georgia
Headquartered in Flowery Branch, Georgia
Atlanta Falcons logo
Logo
League/conference affiliations

National Football League (1966–present)

Current uniform
NFCS-Uniform-ATL.PNG
Team colors

Red, Black, White

              
Mascot Freddie Falcon
Personnel
Owner(s) Arthur Blank
CEO Rich McKay
President Rich McKay
General manager Thomas Dimitroff
Head coach Mike Smith
Team history
  • Atlanta Falcons (1966–present)
Team nicknames
The Dirty Birds
Championships
League championships (0)

Conference championships (1)

  • NFC: 1998

Division championships (5)

  • NFC West: 1980, 1998
  • NFC South: 2004, 2010, 2012
Playoff appearances (12)
NFL: 1978, 1980, 1982, 1991, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
Home fields

The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are a member of the South Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL).

The Falcons joined the NFL in 1965[1] 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). They 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 said region.

In their 47 years of existence, the Falcons have compiled a record of 312–402–6 with division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010 and 2012. Their only Super Bowl appearance was during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII.[2][3]

The Falcons play their home games at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta, but construction on New Atlanta Stadium in May 2014, with play beginning in the 2017 season. Their headquarters and practice facilities are located at a 50-acre site in Flowery Branch, Georgia.[4]

Franchise history[edit]

For more details on this topic, see History of the Atlanta Falcons.

Professional football first came to Atlanta in 1962, when the American Football League staged two preseason contests, with one featuring the Denver Broncos vs. the Houston Oilers and the second pitting the Dallas Texans against the Oakland Raiders. Two years later, the AFL held another exhibition, this time with the New York Jets taking on the San Diego Chargers.

In 1965, after a stadium (Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium) was built, the city of Atlanta felt the time was right to start pursuing professional football. One independent group which had been active in NFL exhibition promotions in Atlanta applied for franchises in both the American Football League and the NFL, acting entirely on its own with no guarantee of stadium rights. Another group reported it had deposited earnest money for a team in the AFL.[5]

With everyone running in different directions, some local businessmen worked out a deal and were awarded an AFL franchise on June 7, 1965, contingent upon acquiring exclusive stadium rights from city officials. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, who had been moving slowly in Atlanta matters, was spurred by the AFL interest and headed on the next plane down to Atlanta to block the rival league's claim on the city of Atlanta.[1] He forced the city to make a choice between the two leagues. By June 30, the city picked Rankin Smith and the NFL.

The Atlanta Falcons franchise began on June 30, 1965 when NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle granted ownership to 41 year-old Rankin Smith Sr.. Smith an Executive Vice President of Life Insurance Company of Georgia at the time, paid $8.5 million the highest price in NFL history at the time 1965 for an NFL franchise.[1] Former commissioner Pete Rozelle and Smith made the deal in about five minutes and the Atlanta Falcons brought the largest and most popular sport to the city of Atlanta. The Atlanta expansion franchise became the 15th NFL franchise, and they were awarded the first pick in the 1966 NFL Draft as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds.[6] The Falcons drafted All-American Linebacker Tommy Nobis from the University of Texas with the first pick of the draft, making him the first-ever Falcon. The league also held the 1966 NFL Expansion Draft six weeks later in which the Falcons selected unprotected players from existing franchises. Although the Falcons selected many good players in those drafts, they still were not able to win right away.[1]

The Atlanta Falcons Football Club received its nickname on August 29, 1965. Miss Julia Elliott, a school teacher from Griffin, Georgia was singled out from many people who suggested "Falcons" as the Nickname for the new Georgia NFL franchise. She wrote: "the Falcon is proud and dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey. It is deadly and has a great sporting tradition."[7]

Notable seasons[edit]

1966 – 1977: The beginning[edit]

The Falcons had their first season in 1966, and their first preseason game on August 1, 1966, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles. Under Head Coach Norb Hecker they lost their first nine regular-season games in 1966 and secured their first victory on the road against the New York Giants. The team finished the 1960s with only 12 wins. The Falcons had their first Monday Night Football game in Atlanta during the 1970 season. The 1971 season was their first with a winning record.

1978 – 1980: The playoffs[edit]

In the 1978 season, the Falcons qualified for the playoffs for the first time and won the Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles 14–13. The following week, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27–20 in the Divisional Playoffs.

In 1980, after a nine-game winning streak, the Falcons posted a franchise then-best record of 12–4 and captured their first NFC West division title. The next week, their dream season ended at home with a loss to the Cowboys 30–27 in the divisional playoffs. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, the Falcons made the playoffs but lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 30–24. Falcons coach Leeman Bennett was fired after the loss.

1989[edit]

In 1989, the Falcons drafted CB Deion Sanders in the first round, who helped them for the next four years, setting many records for the franchise. "Neon Deion" (a.k.a. "Prime Time") had a flashy appeal and helped bring media attention to one of the league's most anonymous franchises. Sanders was also famous for playing on major league baseball teams (the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves) while simultaneously playing in the NFL.

1991 – 1992[edit]

The Falcons' 1991 season ended in a divisional playoff loss to the Washington Redskins. In 1991, the Falcons drafted Brett Favre as the thirty-third overall pick. During his rookie season, he played in two games where he amassed a record of 5 passing attempts with 0 receptions and 2 interceptions. The following February, Favre was traded to the Green Bay Packers.

In 1992, the Atlanta Falcons opened a new chapter in their history moving into the newly constructed Georgia Dome.

1997 – 2000: The Dan Reeves Era[edit]

In 1998, under recently acquired head coach Dan Reeves, quarterback Chris Chandler and running back Jamal Anderson the "Dirty Bird" Falcons had their greatest season to date. On November 8, they beat the New England Patriots 41–10, ending a streak of 22 losses at cold-weather sites. The team finished with a franchise-best 14–2 regular season record and the NFC West division championship. On January 18, 1999, the Falcons upset the top-seeded Vikings at Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game 30–27, in an exciting overtime victory. However, in their first-ever Super Bowl appearance, they lost 34–19 to the defending champion Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII.

In the second game of the Falcons 1999 season, running back Jamal Anderson, who had been a key player in the Falcons' 1998 success, suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Falcons finished the season with a very disappointing 5–11 regular season record.[1] In 2000, the Falcons suffered through another horrendous season finishing 4–12 and once again missing the playoffs.

2001 – 2006: The Michael Vick era[edit]

In the 2001 NFL Draft, the Falcons orchestrated a trade with the San Diego Chargers, acquiring the first overall pick (which was used on quarterback Michael Vick) in exchange for wide receiver / return specialist Tim Dwight and the fifth overall pick (used on running back LaDainian Tomlinson).

The Falcons finished the 2001 season with a record of 7–9 and missed the playoffs. Jessie Tuggle retired following 14 seasons in Atlanta. On December 6, 2001, Arthur M. Blank reached a preliminary agreement with the Falcons’ Taylor Smith to purchase the team. In a special meeting prior to Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans on February 2, 2002, NFL owners voted unanimously to approve the purchase.[8]

On March 19, 2003, the Falcons presented their new logo.[9] During the 2003 preseason Michael Vick broke his leg and missed the first twelve games of the season. After losing 7 straight games, the decision was made to release head coach Dan Reeves. Wade Phillips acted as interim coach for the final 3 games. Although the Falcons won 3 of their last 4 games after the return of Michael Vick, they ended up with a dismal 5–11 record that year. In 2004, a new head coach, Jim L. Mora, was hired and Michael Vick returned for the full season. The Falcons went 11–5, winning their third division title and earning a first-round bye into the playoffs. In the divisional playoffs, the Falcons defeated the St. Louis Rams 47–17 in the Georgia Dome, advancing to the NFC Championship, which they lost to the Eagles 27–10.

The Falcons again fell short of achieving back-to-back winning seasons in 2005, going 8–8. In 2006, Michael Vick became the first quarterback in league history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, with 1,039. After finishing the season 7–9, however, coach Jim Mora was dismissed and Bobby Petrino, the University of Louisville's football coach, replaced him. Before the 2007 season began, Vick was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after pleading guilty to charges involving dog fighting in the state of Virginia. On December 10, 2007, Vick received a 23-month prison sentence and was officially cut from the Atlanta roster.

2007: The lost year[edit]

For the 2007 season, the Falcons were forced to start Joey Harrington at quarterback. On December 11, 13 games into his first NFL season as head coach, Bobby Petrino resigned without notice to coach at the University of Arkansas, leaving the beleaguered players only a note in the locker room. Secondary Coach Emmitt Thomas was named interim coach for the final three games of the season on December 12. The Falcons ended the year with a dismal 4–12 record.

2008 – present: Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era[edit]

After the tumultuous and disappointing 2007 season, the Falcons made a number of moves, hiring a new General Manager and head coach, drafting a new starting quarterback, and signing a starting running back.

On January 13, 2008, the Falcons named former Patriots director of college football scouting Thomas Dimitroff General Manager.[10] On January 23, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coach and former linebackers coach for the 2000 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens Mike Smith was named the Falcons' new head coach.[11] Chargers back-up RB Michael Turner agreed to a 6-year deal worth $30 million on March 2.[12] On April 26, Matt Ryan (quarterback from Boston College) was drafted third overall in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Falcons.

2008[edit]

The Falcons finished the 2008 regular season with a record of 11–5, and the #5 seed in the playoffs.[13] On December 21, 2008, Atlanta beat the Minnesota Vikings 24–17 to clinch a wild card spot, earning a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The Falcons would go on to lose in the wild-card round of the 2008 NFL playoffs to the eventual NFC champion Arizona Cardinals, 30–24.

Matt Ryan started all 16 games in his rookie season and was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year.[14] First-year head coach Mike Smith was named 2008 NFL Coach of the Year.

2009[edit]

The Atlanta Falcons hold the record among all major American sports leagues for the longest streak of seasons without consecutive winning seasons, a streak that lasted from 1966–2008. Although they failed to make the playoffs in 2009, the streak ended when the team rallied to win their final three regular season games to record back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history. The Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20–10 in the final game of the season to improve their record to 9–7.[3]

2010[edit]

In 2010, with a regular season record of 13–3, their best regular season record since the 1998 Super Bowl season, the Falcons secured a third straight winning season, their fourth overall divisional title, and the top overall seed in the NFC playoffs; however, the Falcons were overpowered by the eventual Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs 48–21. The Falcons scored 414 points – third-most in franchise history in 2010.[3] The Falcons 2010–2011 team sent an NFL-high and franchise-best nine players to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.

2011[edit]

The Falcons made a surprise trade up with the Cleveland Browns in the 2011 NFL Draft to select Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones sixth overall. In exchange, the Falcons gave up their first-, second- and fourth-round draft picks in 2011, and their first and fourth draft picks in 2012. Jones, along with teammates Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White, have since been dubbed Atlanta's "Big Three" (based on their total number of reception yards).[15] On August 30, 2011, Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King, who correctly predicted the 2011 Super Bowl, made his predictions for the 2011 season and picked the Falcons to defeat the San Diego Chargers in the 2012 Super Bowl.[16] The Falcons finished the season at 10–6, securing the fifth seed after a Week 17 beatdown of Tampa Bay in which the Falcons pulled their starters after leading 42–0 just twenty-three minutes into the game.

The Falcons then went on to play the New York Giants in a 2011 NFC Wild Card Game at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first half was a defensive struggle, with the first points coming off of a safety by the Falcons, giving Atlanta a 2–0 lead. In the 2nd quarter, though, Eli Manning connected with Hakeem Nicks for a short touchdown pass to make it 7–2 Giants heading into the 2nd half. Then the Giants took control, as Manning threw for two more TD passes to Mario Manningham and Nicks and the defense completed its shutout of the Falcons to give the New York Giants the win, 24–2, and the Falcons their third straight playoff loss with Matt Ryan and Mike Smith. After the season Defense Coordinator Brian VanGorder accepted a coaching job at Auburn University, and the offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey took the head coaching job in Jacksonville.

2012[edit]

Atlanta exploded out of the gate, going a franchise best 8–0 and remaining the last unbeaten team in the NFL that year. Their hopes to get an undefeated season came to an end with a 27–31 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Julio Jones had a remarkable second year, grabbing ten touchdowns and 1,198 yards. The Falcons finished the season 13–3, and clinched the number one seed in the NFC playoffs.

The Falcons played the Seattle Seahawks in their first playoff game. Although they went down 28–27 with only 31 seconds left on the clock, Matt Ryan led the team to their first playoff victory, 30–28. It was the first playoff victory in the Mike Smith era.

The Atlanta Falcons then advanced to face the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons seized control of the game early with a Matt Bryant field goal, a trio of Matt Ryan touchdown passes caught by Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez coupled with outstanding defensive play. By the end of the half, the score was 24–14.The tides of the game began to shift in the second half as the 49ers rallied back with a pair of Frank Gore touchdown runs. Atlanta's offense attempted to reply but were ultimately shut down by the 49er defense. A few series later, late in the 4th quarter with little time remaining, Atlanta found themselves in a 4th and 7 situation at the 10-yard line. The Falcons needed just 10 more yards to secure victory and advance to their first Super Bowl berth in nearly 15 years. Matt Ryan fired a pass to Roddy White which was ultimately broken up by outside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, resulting in a 28–24 defeat.

2013[edit]

Following the success of the previous season, the Falcons were an expected Super Bowl contender. However, injuries hampered the team's performance and the team finished the season 4-12. With that, the streak of consecutive winning seasons came to an end and Mike Smith had his first losing season as a head coach. Tony Gonzalez, in his final season in the NFL, was selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl as a starter representing Team Rice. Following the conclusion of the season, director of player personnel Les Snead departed the team to join the St. Louis Rams and Dave Caldwell, successor to general manager Thomas Dimitroff, left the team to join the Jacksonville Jaguars. Scott Pioli, former GM of the New England Patriots, was announced as the Falcons' new assistant GM. Mike Smith was given a one year extension on his contract as head coach. The Falcons had the 6th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft with which they selected Texas A&M Offensive tackle Jake Matthews.

New Atlanta Stadium[edit]

Main article: New Atlanta Stadium

In an effort to replace the aging Georgia Dome and potentially host a future Super Bowl, team owner Arthur Blank proposed a deal with the city of Atlanta to build a new state-of-the-art stadium not far from where the Georgia Dome is located. Blank will contribute $800 million and the city of Atlanta will contribute an additional $200 million via bonds backed by the city's hotel/motel tax towards the construction of a retractable roof stadium. Blank will contribute additional money for cost overruns if it is needed. The team will provide up to $50 million towards infrastructure costs that weren't included in the construction budget and to retire the remaining debt on the Georgia Dome. In addition, Blank's foundation and the city will each provide $15 million for development in surrounding neighborhoods. The total cost of the stadium is estimated to be $1 billion.[17] In March 2013, the Atlanta City Council voted 11-4 in favor of the proposal.[18] The new stadium is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2017 NFL season.

Logo and uniforms[edit]

Atlanta Falcons uniform: 1971–1977
Atlanta Falcons uniform: 1997–2002

When the team debuted in 1966, the Falcons wore red helmets with a black falcon crest logo. In the center of the helmet was a center black stripe surrounded by 2 gold stripes and 2 white stripes. These colors represented the two college rival schools in the state of Georgia; rival schools Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (White and Gold) and the Georgia Bulldogs (Red and Black) Although the gold was later taken out, the white remains to this day. They wore white pants and either black or white jerseys. At first, the falcon crest logo was also put on the jersey sleeves, but it was replaced by a red and white stripe pattern four years later. They switched from black to red jerseys in 1971, and the club began to wear silver pants in 1978.

A prototype white helmet was developed for the team prior to the 1974 season but was never worn.

In 1990, the uniform design changed to black helmets, silver pants, and either black or white jerseys. The numbers on the white jerseys were black, but were changed to red in 1997.[19] (The red numerals could be seen on the away jerseys briefly in 1990.)

Both the logo and uniforms changed in 2003. The logo was redesigned with red and silver accents to depict a more powerful, aggressive falcon, which now more closely resembles the capital letter F.[20] Although the Falcons still wore black helmets, the new uniforms featured jerseys and pants with red trim down the sides. The uniform design consisted of either black or white jerseys, and either black or white pants. During that same year, a red alternate jersey with black trim was also introduced. The Falcons also started wearing black cleats with these uniforms.

In 2004, the red jerseys became the primary jerseys, and the black ones became the alternate, both worn with white pants. In select road games, the Falcons wear black pants with white jerseys. The Falcons wore an all-black combination for home games against their archrivals, the New Orleans Saints, winning the first two contests (24–21 in 2004 and 36–17 in 2005), but losing 31–13 in 2006. The Falcons wore the all black combination against the New Orleans Saints for 4 straight seasons starting in 2004, With the last time being in 2007, losing 34–14. They wore the combination again in 2006, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. The Falcons won that game, 14–3. The Falcons also wore their all-black uniform in 2007 against the New York Giants, and in 2008 against the Carolina Panthers and against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (for the second time).

In the 1980s, the Falcons wore their white uniforms at home most of the time because of the heat. When the Falcons started playing in a dome, the team switched to their dark uniforms for home games but have worn their white uniforms at home a few times since switching to the dome. It was announced at the 2009 state of the franchise meeting that the Falcons would wear 1966 throwback uniforms for a couple games during the 2009 season. The Atlanta Falcons wore 1966 throwback jerseys for 2 home games in 2009 – against the Carolina Panthers on September 20 and against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 29. The Falcons won both of those games. They donned the throwbacks again for 2 games in 2010, against Baltimore and San Francisco, winning both of those games as well.

Statistics[edit]

Season-by-season records[edit]

Record vs. opponents[edit]

Includes postseason records[21]

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties

Team W L T Percent Last result Last date Last locale Postseason
St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals 12 15 0 .444 L 13–27 October 27, 2013 Arizona 0–1 postseason
Baltimore Ravens 2 2 0 .500 W 26–21 November 11, 2010 Atlanta
Buffalo Bills 7 4 0 .636 W 34-31 December 1, 2013 Toronto
Carolina Panthers 23 14 0 .622 L 10–34 November 3, 2013 Charlotte
Chicago Bears 12 13 0 .480 L 30–12 September 11, 2011 Chicago
Cincinnati Bengals 5 7 0 .417 W 39–32 October 24, 2010 Atlanta
Cleveland Browns 3 10 0 .231 W 20–10 October 10, 2010 Cleveland
Dallas Cowboys 9 14 0 .391 W 19–13 November 4, 2012 Atlanta 0–2 postseason
Denver Broncos 5 8 0 .385 W 27–21 September 17, 2012 Atlanta 0–1 postseason
Detroit Lions 12 23 0 .343 W 31–18 December 22, 2012 Detroit
Green Bay Packers 12 14 0 .462 L 21–22 December 8, 2013 Green Bay 1–2 postseason
Houston Texans 1 2 0 .333 L 10–17 December 4, 2011 Houston
Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts 2 13 0 .133 W 31–7 November 6, 2011 Indianapolis
Jacksonville Jaguars 2 3 0 .400 W 41–14 December 15, 2011 Atlanta
Kansas City Chiefs 3 5 0 .375 W 40–24 September 9, 2012 Kansas City
Miami Dolphins 4 8 0 .333 L 23 – 27 September 22, 2013 Miami
Minnesota Vikings 10 15 0 .400 W 24–14 November 27, 2011 Atlanta 1–1 postseason
New England Patriots 6 7 0 .461 L 23–30 September 29, 2013 Atlanta
New Orleans Saints 46 42 0 .523 L 13–17 November 21, 2013 Atlanta 1–0 postseason
New York Giants 11 10 0 .524 W 34–0 December 16, 2012 Atlanta 0–1 postseason
New York Jets 6 5 0 .545 L 28–30 October 7, 2013 Atlanta
Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders 6 7 0 .462 W 23–20 October 14, 2012 Atlanta
Philadelphia Eagles 12 15 1 .446 W 30–17 October 28, 2012 Philadelphia 1–2 postseason
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 12 1 .167 L 9–15 (OT) September 12, 2010 Pittsburgh
San Diego Chargers 8 1 0 .889 W 27–3 September 23, 2012 San Diego
San Francisco 49ers 29 45 1 .392 L 24–34 December 23, 2013 San Francisco 1–1 postseason
Seattle Seahawks 5 9 0 .357 L 10–33 November 10, 2013 Atlanta 1–0 postseason
Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams 27 47 2 .378 W 31–24 September 15, 2013 Atlanta 1–0 postseason
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 20 0 .500 L 28–41 October 20, 2013 Atlanta
Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans 6 7 0 .462 W 23–17 November 20, 2011 Atlanta
Washington Redskins 8 14 1 .386 W 27–26 December 15, 2013 Atlanta 0–1 postseason
Total 314 402 6 .439 7–12 (.368)

Single game records[edit]

  • Rushing: Michael Turner, 220 9/7/2008
  • Passing: Chris Chandler, 431 12/23/2001
  • Passing Touchdowns: Wade Wilson, 5 12/13/92
  • Receptions: William Andrews, 15 09/15/1981
  • Receiving Yards:Roddy White, 210 10/11/09
  • Interceptions:Several Falcons, most recently William Moore, 2 11/29/2012
  • Field Goals:Norm Johnson, 6 11/13/1994
  • Total Touchdowns: T.J. Duckett, 4, 12/12/2004 & Michael Turner 4, 11/23/08
  • Points Scored:T.J. Duckett, 24, 12–12–04 & Michael Turner, 24, 11/23/2008
  • Sacks: Chuck Smith, 5, 10/12/97

Single season records[edit]

Career records[edit]

  • Passing Attempts: 3,329 Steve Bartkowski (1975–85)
  • Passing Completions: 2,093 Matt Ryan (2008–present)
  • Passing Yards: 23,472 Matt Ryan (2008–present)
  • Passing Touchdowns: 154 Steve Bartkowski (1975–85)
  • Passing Interceptions: 141 Steve Bartkowski (1975–85)
  • Passing Rating: 90.6 Matt Ryan (2008–present)
  • Rushing Attempts: 1,587 Gerald Riggs (1982–88)
  • Rushing Yards: 6,631 Gerald Riggs (1982–88)
  • Rushing Yards by a QB: 3,859 Michael Vick (2001–2006)[22]
  • Rushing Touchdowns: 60 Michael Turner (2008–2012)
  • Receiving Catches: 685 Roddy White (2005–present)
  • Receiving Yards: 9,436 Roddy White (2005–present)
  • Receiving Touchdowns: 57 Terance Mathis (1994–2001)
  • Quarterback Sacks: 68.5 John Abraham (2006–2012)
  • Pass Interceptions: 39 Rolland Lawrence (1973–80)
  • Field Goal Attempts: 224 Morten Andersen (1995–2000, 2006–2007)
  • Field Goals Made: 184 Morten Andersen (1995–2000, 2006–2007)
  • Points: 806 Morten Andersen (1995–2000, 2006–2007)
  • Total Touchdowns: 61 Michael Turner (2008–2012)
  • Pass Interception Return Yards: 658 Rolland Lawrence (1973–80)
  • Pass Interception Returned for Touchdowns: 3 Deion Sanders (1989–1993) and Kevin Mathis (2002–2006)
  • Punt Return Yards: 1,723 Allen Rossum (2002–2006)
  • Kickoff Return Yards: 5,489 Allen Rossum (2002–2006)
  • Longest Punt: 75 John James (1972–1981) and Harold Alexander (1993–1994)

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Atlanta Falcons roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Unrestricted FAs

Rookies in italics
Roster updated July 6, 2014
Depth ChartTransactions

87 Active, 2 Inactive, 7 FAs

More rosters


Pro Football Hall of Famers[edit]

  • 21 Deion Sanders, CB, played for team from 1989–1993, inducted in 2011
  • 87 Claude Humphrey, DE, played for team from 1968-1978, inducted in 2014

Sanders and Humphrey are the only two players in the Hall of Fame that have been inducted based substantially on their service with the Falcons; however, three inductees played briefly and one coached for the Falcons during their careers:

"Ring of Honor"[edit]

The Atlanta Falcons organization does not officially retire jersey numbers; however in 2004, they began the "Ring of Honor" which honors specific players the same way as retiring numbers.[23]

Number Player Position Years played
10 Steve Bartkowski QB 1975–1985
21 Deion Sanders CB 1989–1993
31 William Andrews RB 1979–1983, 1986
42 Gerald Riggs RB 1982–1988
57 Jeff Van Note C 1969–1986
58 Jessie Tuggle LB 1987–2000
60 Tommy Nobis LB 1966–1976
78 Mike Kenn T 1978–1994
87 Claude Humphrey DE 1968–1978
88 Tony Gonzalez TE 2009–2013

Georgia Sports Hall of Fame[edit]

  • 60 Tommy Nobis, LB, 1966–1976
  • 87 Claude Humphrey, DE, 1968–1978
  • 57 Jeff Van Note, C, 1969–1986
  • Marion Campbell, Head Coach, 1974–1976, 1987–1989 (also former University of Georgia player)
  • 84 Alfred Jenkins, WR, 1975–1983
  • 31 William Andrews, RB, 1979–1983, 1986
  • Dan Reeves, Head Coach, 1997–2003 (also Georgia native)

Coaching staff[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

In their history, the Atlanta Falcons have had 15 head coaches.[24]

Coach Years Record Notes
Norb Hecker 1966–1968 4–26–1 (.129) Fired after three games in 1968.
Norm Van Brocklin 1968–1974 39–48–3 (.433) Fired after eight games in 1974.
Marion Campbell 1974–1976 6–19 (.240) Fired after five games in 1976.
Pat Peppler 1976 3–6 (.333) Interim head coach.
Leeman Bennett 1977–1982 46–41 (.529)
Dan Henning 1983–1986 22–41–1 (.344)
Marion Campbell 1987–1989 11–36 (.234) Retired after 12 games in 1989.
Jim Hanifan 1989 0–4 (.000) Interim head coach.
Jerry Glanville 1990–1993 27–37 (.422)
June Jones 1994–1996 19–29 (.396)
Dan Reeves 1997–2003 49–59–1 (.450) Fired after 13 games in 2003.
Wade Phillips 2003 2–1 (.667) Interim head coach.
Jim Mora 2004–2006 26–22 (.542)
Bobby Petrino 2007 3–10 (.231) Resigned after 13 games to take over Arkansas Razorbacks.
Emmitt Thomas 2007 1–2 (.333) Interim head coach.
Mike Smith 2008–Present 60-36 (.700)

Current staff[edit]

Atlanta Falcons staff
Front office
  • Owner/Chairman – Arthur Blank
  • President/CEO – Rich McKay
  • General Manager – Thomas Dimitroff
  • Assistant General Manager – Scott Pioli
  • Director of Player Personnel – Lionel Vital
  • Director of Football Administration – Nick Polk
  • Director of Pro Scouting – DeJuan Polk
  • Director of College Scouting – Steve Sabo
Head coaches
Offensive coaches
Defensive coaches
Special teams coaches
  • Special Teams Coordinator – Keith Armstrong
  • Assistant Special Teams – Eric Sutulovich
Strength and conditioning
  • Head Strength and Conditioning – A. J. Neibel
  • Strength and Conditioning Assistant – Jonas Beauchemin

Coaching staff
Management
More NFL staffs

AFC East
BUF
MIA
NE
NYJ
North
BAL
CIN
CLE
PIT
South
HOU
IND
JAX
TEN
West
DEN
KC
OAK
SD
NFC East
DAL
NYG
PHI
WAS
North
CHI
DET
GB
MIN
South
ATL
CAR
NO
TB
West
ARI
STL
SF
SEA

Radio and television[edit]

As of 2011, the Falcons' radio flagship station is WSTR Star 94 FM, and WQXI 790 AM "The Zone", previously held since 2006 by WZGC 92.9 "Dave FM." [25][26] Wes Durham, voice of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and son of longtime North Carolina Tar Heels voice Woody Durham, is the Falcons' play-by-play announcer. Preseason games not shown nationally television (except NBC-aired games) are seen on NBC affiliate WXIA, also known as "11 Alive." In 2008, preseason games aired on WATL-TV due to WXIA's commitment to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Both stations are owned by Gannett Company.

Fox affiliate WAGA-TV aired most preseason games through the 2004 season. WAGA continues to have a relationship with the Falcons as their primary broadcaster of regular season games (serving in this capacity since the Falcons started play), which dates back to when WAGA was a CBS affiliate and the NFL/NFC games were on CBS. WATL aired most Falcons games in 1994, as WAGA did not switch to Fox until December 1994.

Atlanta Falcons fans are more prevalent in western North Carolina due to the fact the Carolina Panthers only existed since 1996. Historically, they can be found generally west of Interstate 26 from Asheville to Murphy. East of Interstate 26 is considered a neutral zone, but the majority are Carolina Panthers fans.

Radio Affiliates[edit]

Falcons Radio Affiliates[dead link]

Georgia[edit]

City Call Sign Frequency
Albany WSRA-AM 1250 AM
Athens WRFC-AM 960 AM
Atlanta WQXI-AM 790 AM
Atlanta WSTR-FM 94.1 FM
Augusta WRDW-AM 1630 AM
Brunswick WSFN-AM 790 AM
Clarkesville WDUN-FM 102.9 FM
Columbus WDAK-AM 540 AM
Columbus WSHE 1270 AM
Dalton WBLJ-AM 1230 AM
Douglas WDMG-AM 860 AM
Gainesville WDUN 550 AM
Griffin WKEU-AM 1450 AM
Griffin WKEU-FM 88.9 FM
Hogansville WVCC-AM 720 AM
Jesup WLOP-AM 1370 AM
Jesup WIFO-FM 105.5 FM
LaGrange WMGP-FM 98.1 FM
Louisville WPEH-AM 1420 AM
Louisville WPEH-FM 92.1 FM
Macon WMAC-AM 940 AM
Milledgeville WMVG-AM 1450 AM
Newnan WCOH-AM 1400 AM
Rome WATG-FM 95.7 FM
Sandersville WJFL-FM 101.9 FM
Savannah WSEG-AM 1400 AM
Savannah WSEG-FM 104.3 FM
Statesboro WPTB-AM 850 AM
Swainsboro WJAT-AM 800 AM
Thomaston WTGA-FM 101.1 FM
Toccoa WNEG-AM 630 AM
Valdosta WJEM-AM 1150 AM
Valdosta WJEM-FM 96.1 FM
Vidalia WVOP-AM 970 AM
Waycross WFNS-AM 1350 AM

Alabama[edit]

City Call Sign Frequency
Birmingham WEZZ-FM 97.3 FM
Foley WHEP-AM 1310 AM

Florida[edit]

City Call Sign Frequency
Jacksonville WWJK 107.3 FM

Mississippi[edit]

City Call Sign Frequency
Jackson WYAB-FM 103.9 FM

South Carolina[edit]

City Call Sign Frequency
Charleston WTMZ-AM 910 AM
Clemson WCCP-FM 104.9 FM

Tennessee[edit]

City Call Sign Frequency
Chattanooga WDEF-AM 1370 AM

Virginia[edit]

City Call Sign Frequency
Lynchburg WBRG-AM 1050 AM
Lynchburg WBRG-FM 104.5 FM

Public interest initiatives[edit]

A delegation from the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, on January 26, 2009 traveled to the Guantánamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba, to sign autographs, and enhance the troops' morale.[27] While there,[28] the cheerleaders toured the detention camps' hospital, and Camp IV,[29] Camp V,[30] & Camp VI.[31]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Hubbuch, Bart (January 7, 2012). "Queens-born owner models Falcons after hometown team". New York Post. 
  3. ^ a b c [2][dead link]
  4. ^ Atlanta Falcons Corporate Headquarters and Training Facility http://www.claycorp.com/p/369/atlanta-falcons-corporate-headquarters-training/
  5. ^ "Atlanta Falcons Team History". Nflteamhistory.com. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  6. ^ "1966 NFL Draft". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  7. ^ Nicknames http://www.profootballhof.com/history/nicknames.aspx
  8. ^ "Arthur Blank buys Falcons from Smith family". December 17, 2001. 
  9. ^ “The new Atlanta Falcons logo is fresh, strong and dynamic, and yet appreciates the tradition and history of this franchise,” said Falcons owner and CEO Arthur Blank. “The new logo depicts a more powerful, aggressive Falcon – one of fast movement. It is also representative of the evolution and direction of our team.”
  10. ^ Atlantafalcons.com[dead link]
  11. ^ Atlantafalcons.com[dead link]
  12. ^ Atlantafalcons.com[dead link]
  13. ^ NFL.com
  14. ^ Atlantafalcons.com[dead link]
  15. ^ Singer, Mike (28 November 2012). "Atlanta's Jacquizz Rodgers emerging as Falcons top back". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "Galleries". CNN. September 5, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Atlanta Falcons, city officials agree on financing terms for new $1 billion stadium". ESPN.go.com. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Atlanta City Council approves Falcons stadium funding". myfoxatlanta.com. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "Falcons Uniform History"[dead link], NFL
  20. ^ "Falcons Unveil New Logo"[dead link], NFL
  21. ^ Atlanta Falcons Team Encyclopedia. Pro Football Reference. 2008. Retrieved August 17, 2008. 
  22. ^ NFL.com
  23. ^ Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor page
  24. ^ "Atlanta Falcons Team Directory". The Sports Network. January 9, 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2007. 
  25. ^ "790/The Zone and Star 94 become new Falcons radio partners; CBS Atlanta picks up pre-season games". AJC. 
  26. ^ "Falcons move to Star 94, 790 The Zone". Atlanta Business Chronicle. March 7, 2011. 
  27. ^ Richard M. Wolff (January 26, 2009). "Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader Visit January 26, 2009". Joint Task Force Guantánamo. Retrieved January 19, 2010. [dead link]
  28. ^ Richard M. Wolff (January 26, 2009). "Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader Visit January 26, 2009". Joint Task Force Guantánamo. Retrieved January 19, 2010. [dead link]
  29. ^ Richard M. Wolff (January 26, 2009). "Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader Visit January 26, 2009". Joint Task Force Guantánamo. Retrieved January 19, 2010. [dead link]
  30. ^ Richard M. Wolff (January 26, 2009). "Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader Visit January 26, 2009". Joint Task Force Guantánamo. Retrieved January 19, 2010. [dead link]
  31. ^ Richard M. Wolff (January 26, 2009). "Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader Visit January 26, 2009". Joint Task Force Guantánamo. Retrieved January 19, 2010. [dead link]

External links[edit]