The Atlanta Falcons Mt. Rushmore

Falcons have been mediocre in their half a century as an NFL team, but theyve had some iconic players.

The Atlanta Falcons begin their 51st season as an NFL franchise in 2016. In that span they’ve played in one Super Bowl (XXXIII) after an upset win in the 1999 NFC Championship game over the then 16-1 Minnesota Vikings.

They’ve won 5 division championships (NFC West/NFC South) and made the playoffs 12 times. The “Dirty Bird’s” haven’t had as much success as most teams that have been around as long as they have, but they’ve had some iconic players. A few of which make my list of the Falcons Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Deion Sanders (1989-1993), 5 kickoffs and punt returns for touchdowns and 3 interceptions returned for touchdowns; the total of 8 gives him the most in franchise history. “Primetime” is the first Falcons player selected to the Hall of Famer based on his time with the organization. Sanders is an Atlanta sports Icon as he also played in the World Series as a key member of the successful Atlanta Braves teams of the 1990’s. Even though he won his Super Bowls with San Francisco and Dallas, he’s mostly known as a Falcon.

Claude Humphrey (1968-1974, 1976-1978),the second Falcon inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2014), the defensive end was a 6-time Pro Bowler, 5-time 1st-team All-Pro and 3-time 2nd-team All-Pro as a member of the organization. In 1968 he won the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Mike Vick (2001-2006), his time in the ATL didn’t end with pleasant memories off the field, but on it, the “Vick Experience” revived the organization and the fans base. Vick is the only QB in NFL history to throw for more than 20K (22,464) and rush for more than 5k (6,109). He’s 5th on the organization’s all-time passing list with 11,505 yards and 6th on their all-time rushing list with 3,859 yards. The first African-American quarterback to be selected with the first overall pick, Vick took the torch carried by his black QB predecessors like Randall Cunningham, Doug Williams and Warren Moon, to continue to pave the way for more mobile black QBs to get opportunities in the NFL. His success is the partly the reason we have Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick today.

Roddy White (2005-2015) is Atlanta’s all-time leading receiver with 808 catches, 10,863 yards and 63 touchdowns, which is the most anyone has ever scored rushing, receiving or passing in team history. He’s a 4-time Pro-Bowler and 1st-team All-Pro (2010). He has the record for most receptions by a Falcon in a playoff game with 11.

ATL I want to hear from you. Agree or disagree with my selections? Who would you choose? Let me know.

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