The Atlanta Falcons who play in the NFC South Division of the National Football Conference were formed on 30th June, 1965. The then 15th franchise to be awarded by The National Football League was granted to Rankin M. Smith for $8.5 million.
Things looked bright for the Falcons as they set a record for season ticket sales and had a relatively successful draft picking up future pro bowl Line Backer Tommy Nobis from the University of Texas, beating off The Houston Oilers for his services. They also acquired Norb Hecker as head coach, who had made his name working with the legendary Vince Lombardi on the Green Bay Packers staff. Thus everything looked rosy going into their first season.
Things didn’t work out quite as expected though and they lost their first nine games before finally winning 27-16 against the New York Giants on 20th November 1965. . They managed a further 2 wins in their last 4 games to finish with a respectable 3-11 record, then the best for a first season expansion team.
They failed to make any progress in the following seasons finishing 1-1-12 then 2-12 but then made some steady progress with the 1968 appointment of Norm Van Brocklin “The Dutchman” as coach. In 1971, he guided them to their first winning season finishing 7-6-1 and in .1973, they finished 9-5 actually challenging for the playoffs. In 1977 under new coach Leeman Bennett The Falcons defence only gave up 129 total points in a 14-game season which remains an NFL record. He then led the Falcons into the playoffs three times in five years between 1978 and 1982 including a 12 win season in 1980, where the Falcons took the NFC Western Division title. Six of the team also went to the Pro Bowl that season including long serving Line Backer Tommy Nobis , who many feel should have a place in the Hall of Fame.
In 1991 the Falcons played their last season in the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in before moving to The Georgia Dome which is their current home. .
To Date the Falcons most successful season was in 1998 when after winning the NFC West with a 14-2 record they reached Super Bowl XXXIII but on the night of January 31, 1999 their best ever season ended in a 34-19 defeat to the Denver Broncos.
In the 2009 season Atlanta were unlucky to be in a strong division including the eventual Super Bowl Winners the New Orleans Saints but still managed a winning record which was the first time ever the team have managed back to back winning seasons.
Atlanta Falcons Honours
- NFC: 1998
- NFC West: 1980, 1998
- NFC South: 2004
Playoff appearances (9)
- NFL: 1978, 1980, 1982, 1991, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2008