My first memory of Atlanta was moving to the city on a Sunday and watching Billy “White Shoes” Johnson returning a punt for a touchdown. It was one of the few decent moments for the 1982 Falcons. And while the team went through some “lean” years Fulton County Stadium always hosted a raucous crowd who supported Rankin Smith’s team.
From the days of Tommy Nobis to the current days of Mike Smith’s defense, these Falcons appear to be back on the brink of playoff status.
The Atlanta Falcons began their first NFL season in the NFL Eastern Conference, playing a "swing schedule", consisting of playing every other team once, in order to make up for the disparity of an odd number of teams. Their first game (preseason) was on August 1, 1966 against the Philadelphia Eagles before a crowd of 26,072 at the 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.
There have been plenty of great players to come through Atlanta, but these five players stand out as the greatest of all time.