Atlanta Falcons

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In June 1965 the city of Atlanta ended a long struggle to gain an NFL franchise. The long awaited franchise was given to a successful life insurance executive for 8.5 million dollars.

The enthusiasm of the city showed with a 54 day ticket selling window that ended on December by Christmas eve. That was an NFL record at the time with 45,000 season tickets.

The Atlanta Falcons were ready to play after their first round draft pick, Tommy Nobis, an Outland Trophy winning linebacker was selected from Texas U. Nobis was also taken by the AFL but he signed with the Falcons in the same month of December.

The coaching job was taken on by an assistant to Vince Lombardi, Norb Hecker. The Falcons lost their first nine games but after that got their first win by beating the New York Football Giants in November of 1966. This was one of three wins that year.

In those early years through 1990 the Falcons played at Atlanta's Fulton County stadium for 25 seasons. They got to move into the beautiful Georgia Dome and begin to play there in 1991. That stadium also hosted several Super Bowls.

By 1971 the Falcons had their first winning season under their new coach Norm Van Brocklin. They finished with a 7-6-1 record. 1973 was also a successful season, finishing with 9-5 record under Van Brocklin. In 1977 they changed coaches again, bringing in Leeman Bennett who brought a tough brand of football to the organization with a team that only allowed 129 points in that same year.

Between 1978 and 1982 the Falcons were in the playoffs 3 times, won the division title in 1980, and had a club record with 12 wins. These resulted from the draftings of Nobis their first year who stayed with them for a long time.

Their drafting also included stars like quarterback Steve Bartkowski, running back William Andrews, defensive end Claude Humphrey, center Jeff Van Note, running back Gerald Riggs, and Billy Johnson who were all pro bowlers that particular year.

In 1998 under one of the most winning coaches of all time, Dan Reeves led the Falcons to a super bowl berth. They were defeated by the Denver Broncos but have been providing season ticket holders and fans alike much excitement with their players and coaches on the field.

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