1966 Atlanta Falcons season

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1966 Atlanta Falcons season
Head coach Norb Hecker
Owner Rankin M. Smith, Sr.
Home field Atlanta Stadium
Results
Record 3–11
Conference place 7th NFL Eastern
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers LB Tommy Nobis

The 1966 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's inaugural season in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons finished in seventh place in the NFL Eastern Conference with a record of 3–11, ahead of only the New York Giants.

Offseason[edit]

The Falcons attempted to acquire Green Bay Packers running back Jim Taylor. There were tensions in Green Bay because the Packers first round pick, Jim Grabowski would be groomed to take over for Taylor.[1] The signing of Grabowski upset Taylor but he stated he would leave Green Bay once his contract expired, therefore the Falcons could not acquire the running back.

NFL Draft[edit]

Due to the addition of the team for the 1966 NFL Season, the Falcons were allotted the first pick in all twenty rounds of the 1966 NFL Draft. As well as five compensatory picks and the end of the first five rounds.

Round Pick Player Position School
1 1 Tommy Nobis Linebacker Texas
1 16 Randy Johnson Quarterback Texas A&I
2 17 Nick Rassas Defensive Back Notre Dame
2 32 Jerry Jones Tackle Bowling Green
3 33 Mike Dennis Running Back Mississippi
3 48 Phil Sheridan Wide Receiver Notre Dame
4 49 Ken Reaves Defensive Back Virginia State
4 64 Willie Asbury Running Back Kent State
5 65 Bill Wolski Running Back Notre Dame
5 80 Martin Kahn Tackle North Texas State
6 81 Charley Casey Wide Receiver Florida
7 96 William Johnson Running Back University of the South
8 111 Bill Goss Linebacker Tulane
9 126 Bob Sanders Center North Texas State
10 141 Mike Bender Guard Arkansas
11 156 Steve Sloan Quarterback Alabama
12 171 Ken Hollister Tackle Indiana
13 186 Bob Collins Tackle South Carolina
14 201 Steve Ecker Kicker Shippensburg
15 216 Tom Tolleson Wide Receiver Alabama
16 231 Jim Vining Guard Rice
17 246 Lurley Archambeau Center Toledo
18 261 Doug Korver Center Southern Iowa
19 276 Walt Mainer Defensive Back Xavier
20 291 Bob Riggle Defensive Back Penn State

Personnel[edit]

Staff[edit]

1966 Atlanta Falcons staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches



Regular season[edit]

The Falcons played their first game (preseason) on August 1, 1966 against the Philadelphia Eagles before a crowd of 26,072 at Atlanta Stadium. The Falcons would lose against the Eagles and would lose their first nine games in the regular season before finally getting their first franchise win on the road against the New York Giants, 27–16.[2] Former Giant Ernie Wheelwright scored two TD's receiving and ran for 51 more yards as QB Randy Johnson hit for a trio of TD's. Their first ever home victory was against the St. Louis Cardinals, 16–10 to a crowd of 57,169. The Falcons ended their inaugural season at 3–11, yet Tommy Nobis won the NFL Rookie of the Year Award and became the first Falcon named to the Pro Bowl.

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 11, 1966 Los Angeles Rams L 19–14
54,418
2 September 18, 1966 at Philadelphia Eagles L 23–10
54,049
3 September 25, 1966 at Detroit Lions L 28–10
47,615
4 October 2, 1966 Dallas Cowboys L 47–14
56,990
5 October 9, 1966 at Washington Redskins L 33–20
50,116
6 October 16, 1966 San Francisco 49ers L 44–7
54,788
7 October 23, 1966 at Green Bay Packers L 56–3
48,623
8 October 30, 1966 Cleveland Browns L 49–17
57,235
9 Bye
10 November 13, 1966 Baltimore Colts L 19–7
58,850
11 November 20, 1966 at New York Giants W 27–16
62,746
12 November 27, 1966 at Chicago Bears L 23–6
44,777
13 December 4, 1966 at Minnesota Vikings W 20–13
37,117
14 December 11, 1966 St. Louis Cardinals W 16–10
57,169
15 December 18, 1966 Pittsburgh Steelers L 57–33
56,229

Standings[edit]

NFL Eastern Conference
W L T PCT CONF PF PA STK
Dallas Cowboys 10 3 1 .769 9–3–1 445 239 W1
Philadelphia Eagles 9 5 0 .643 8–5 326 340 W4
Cleveland Browns 9 5 0 .643 9–4 403 259 W1
St. Louis Cardinals 8 5 1 .615 7–5–1 264 265 L3
Washington Redskins 7 7 0 .500 7–6 351 355 L1
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 8 1 .385 4–8–1 316 347 W2
Atlanta Falcons 3 11 0 .214 2–5 204 437 L1
New York Giants 1 12 1 .077 1–11–1 263 501 L8

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Roster[edit]

Player Position
Randy Johnson QB
Steve Sloan QB
Dennis Claridge QB
Junior Coffey RB
Perry Lee Dunn RB
Rudy Johnson RB
Larry Morris RB
Ron Rector RB
Preston Ridlehuber RB
Charlie Scales RB
Jimmy Sidle RB
Ernie Wheelwright RB
Bill Wolski RB
Bill Martin TE
Hugh McInnis TE
Taz Anderson TE
Gary Barns WR
Vern Burke WR
Angelo Coia WR
Alex Hawkins WR
Tom Hutchinson WR
Tom Tolleson WR
Red Mack WR
Bob Sherlab WR
Don Talbert T
Richard Koeper T
Errol Linden T
Jim Simon G
Ed Cook G
Dan Grimm G
Lou Kirouac G
Bob Whitlow C
Frank Marchlewshi C
Billy Lothridge P
Wade Traynham K

Awards and records[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss,p. 385, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-84418-3
  2. ^ "Major Events in Falcons History", NFL
  3. ^ http://football.about.com/od/nflhistory/l/bl_awardsrookie.htm

External links[edit]