Established June 30, 1965
Play in Georgia Dome
Headquartered in Flowery Branch, Georgia
Black, Red, Silver, White
|General manager||Thomas Dimitroff|
|Head coach||Dan Quinn|
|The Dirty Birds|
League championships (0)
Conference championships (1)
Division championships (5)
|Playoff appearances (12)|
|NFL: 1978, 1980, 1982, 1991, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012|
The Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League (AFL). The AFL instead granted a franchise to Miami, Florida (the Miami Dolphins). The Falcons are tied with the Dolphins (who also began play in 1966) for being the oldest NFL franchise in the Deep South, and are the oldest NFC team in that region.
In their 49 years of existence, the Falcons have compiled a record of 316–414–6 with division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, and 2012. Their only Super Bowl appearance was during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami.
The Falcons play their home games at the
- Official website
- Super Bowl XXXIII.
- Atlanta Falcons Corporate Headquarters and Training Facility
- Nicknames http://www.profootballhof.com/history/nicknames.aspx
- "The new Atlanta Falcons logo is fresh, strong and dynamic, and yet appreciates the tradition and history of this franchise," said Falcons owner and CEO Arthur Blank. "The new logo depicts a more powerful, aggressive Falcon – one of fast movement. It is also representative of the evolution and direction of our team."
- "Falcons Uniform History", NFL
- "Falcons Unveil New Logo", NFL
- Atlantic Falcons "Rise Up" History
Notes and references
A delegation from the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, on January 26, 2009, traveled to the Guantánamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba, to sign autographs, and enhance the troops' morale. While there, the cheerleaders toured the detention camps' hospital, and Camp IV, Camp V, and Camp VI.
Public interest initiatives
Atlanta Falcon radio affiliates include:
Atlanta Falcons fans are more prevalent in western North Carolina due to the fact the Carolina Panthers only existed since 1996. Historically, they can be found generally west of Interstate 26 from Asheville to Murphy. East of Interstate 26 is considered a neutral zone, but the majority are Carolina Panthers fans.
As of 2014, the Falcons' flagship radio station is North Carolina Tar Heels voice Woody Durham, is the Falcons' play-by-play announcer, with former Atlanta Falcons QB and pro football veteran, Dave Archer serving as color commentator.
Radio and television
|Norb Hecker||1966–1968||4–26–1 (.129)||Fired after three games in 1968.|
|Norm Van Brocklin||1968–1974||39–48–3 (.433)||Fired after eight games in 1974.|
|Marion Campbell||1974–1976||6–19 (.240)||Fired after five games in 1976.|
|Pat Peppler||1976||3–6 (.333)||Interim head coach.|
|Leeman Bennett||1977–1982||46–41 (.529)|
|Dan Henning||1983–1986||22–41–1 (.344)|
|Marion Campbell||1987–1989||11–36 (.234)||Retired after 12 games in 1989.|
|Jim Hanifan||1989||0–4 (.000)||Interim head coach.|
|Jerry Glanville||1990–1993||27–37 (.422)|
|June Jones||1994–1996||19–29 (.396)|
|Dan Reeves||1997–2003||49–59–1 (.450)|
|Wade Phillips||2003||2–1 (.667)||Interim head coach.|
|Jim Mora||2004–2006||26–22 (.542)|
|Bobby Petrino||2007||3–10 (.231)||Resigned after 13 games to take over Arkansas Razorbacks.|
|Emmitt Thomas||2007||1–2 (.333)||Interim head coach.|
|Mike Smith||2008–2014||60-36 (.700)|
|Dan Quinn||2015–present||6-1 (.857)|
- 60 Tommy Nobis, LB, 1966–1976
- 87 Claude Humphrey, DE, 1968–1978
- 57 Jeff Van Note, C, 1969–1986
- University of Georgia player)
- 84 Alfred Jenkins, WR, 1975–1983
- 31 William Andrews, RB, 1979–1983, 1986
- Dan Reeves, Head Coach, 1997–2003 (also Georgia native)
Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
|31||William Andrews||RB||1979–1983, 1986|
|57||Jeff Van Note||C||1969–1986|
The Atlanta Falcons organization does not officially retire jersey numbers; however in 2004, they began the "Ring of Honor" which honors specific players the same way as retiring numbers.
"Ring of Honor"
- 29 Eric Dickerson, RB, played for team in 1993.
- 25 Tommy McDonald, WR, played for team in 1967.
- 56 Chris Doleman, DE, played for team in 1994 and 1995.
- Norm Van Brocklin, head coach from 1968–1974.
Sanders and Humphrey are the only two players in the Hall of Fame that have been inducted based substantially on their service with the Falcons; however, three inductees played briefly and one coached for the Falcons during their careers:
- 21 Deion Sanders, CB, played for team from 1989–1993, inducted in 2011.
- 87 Claude Humphrey, DE, played for team from 1968–1978, inducted in 2014.
Pro Football Hall of Famers
- Passing attempts: 3,916 Matt Ryan (2008–present)
- Passing completions: 2,508 Matt Ryan (2008–present)
- Passing yards: 28,166 Matt Ryan (2008–present)
- Passing touchdowns: 181 Matt Ryan (2008–present)
- Passing interceptions: 141 Steve Bartkowski (1975–85)
- Passing rating: 91.1 Matt Ryan (2008–present)
- Rushing attempts: 1,587 Gerald Riggs (1982–88)
- Rushing yards: 6,631 Gerald Riggs (1982–88)
- Rushing yards by a QB: 3,859 Michael Vick (2001–2006)
- Rushing touchdowns: 60 Michael Turner (2008–2012)
- Receiving catches: 765 Roddy White (2005–present)
- Receiving yards: 10,357 Roddy White (2005–present)
- Receiving touchdowns: 62 Roddy White (2005–present)
- Quarterback sacks: 68.5 John Abraham (2006–2012)
- Pass interceptions: 39 Rolland Lawrence (1973–80)
- Field goal attempts: 224 Morten Andersen (1995–2000, 2006–2007)
- Field goals made: 184 Morten Andersen (1995–2000, 2006–2007)
- Points: 806 Morten Andersen (1995–2000, 2006–2007)
- Total touchdowns: 62 Roddy White (2005–present)
- Pass interception return yards: 658 Rolland Lawrence (1973–80)
- Pass interception returned for touchdowns: 3 Deion Sanders (1989–1993) and Kevin Mathis (2002–2006)
- Punt return yards: 1,723 Allen Rossum (2002–2006)
- Kickoff return yards: 5,489 Allen Rossum (2002–2006)
- Longest punt: 75 John James (1972–1981) and Harold Alexander (1993–1994)
- Longest field goal: 59 Morten Andersen (1995–2000, 2006–2007)
- Passing attempts: 651 Matt Ryan (2013)
- Passing completions: 439 Matt Ryan (2013)
- Passing yards: 4,719 Matt Ryan (2012)
- Passing touchdowns: 32 Matt Ryan (2012)
- Passing interceptions: 25 Bobby Hebert (1996)
- Completion percentage: 68.6 Matt Ryan (2012)
- Passing rating: 110.2 Wade Wilson (1992)
- Rushing attempts: 410 Jamal Anderson (1998)
- Rushing yards: 1,846 Jamal Anderson (1998)
- Rushing touchdowns: 17 Michael Turner (2008)
- Receiving catches: 115 Roddy White (2010)
- Receiving yards: 1,593 Julio Jones (2014)
- Receiving touchdowns: 15 Andre Rison (1993)
- Quarterback sacks: 16.5 John Abraham (2008)
- Pass interceptions: 10 Scott Case (1988)
- Field goal attempts: 40 Jay Feely (2002)
- Field goals made: 33 Matt Bryant (2012)
- Points: 143 Matt Bryant (2012)
- Total touchdowns: 17 Michael Turner (2008)
Single season records
- Rushing: Michael Turner, 220 9/7/2008
- Passing: Matt Ryan, 448 9/7/2014
- Passing touchdowns: Wade Wilson, 5 12/13/92
- Receptions: William Andrews, 15 09/15/1981
- Receiving yards: Julio Jones, 259 12/8/14
- Interceptions: Several Falcons, most recently Robert Alford, 2 10/11/2015
- Field goals: Norm Johnson, 6 11/13/1994
- Total touchdowns: T. J. Duckett, 4, 12/12/2004, and Michael Turner 4, 11/23/08
- Points scored: T. J. Duckett, 24, 12/12/04, and Michael Turner, 24, 11/23/2008
- Sacks: Chuck Smith, 5, 10/12/97
Single game records
- *Notes International Series
|Team||W||L||T||Percent||Last result||Last date||Last locale||Postseason|
|St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals||13||15||0||.464||W 29–18||November 30, 2014||Atlanta||0–1 postseason|
|Baltimore Ravens||2||3||0||.400||L 7–29||October 19, 2014||Baltimore|
|Buffalo Bills||7||4||0||.636||W 34–31 (OT)||December 1, 2013||Toronto|
|Carolina Panthers||24||16||0||.600||L 3–34||December 28, 2014||Atlanta|
|Chicago Bears||12||14||0||.462||L 13–22||October 12, 2014||Atlanta|
|Cincinnati Bengals||5||8||0||.385||L 10–24||September 14, 2014||Cincinnati|
|Cleveland Browns||3||11||0||.214||L 26–24||November 23, 2014||Atlanta|
|Dallas Cowboys||10||14||0||.417||W 39–28||September 27, 2015||Dallas||0–2 postseason|
|Denver Broncos||5||8||0||.385||W 27–21||September 17, 2012||Atlanta||0–1 postseason|
|Detroit Lions||12||24||0||.333||L 21–22||October 26, 2014||London *(Falcons home team)|
|Green Bay Packers||12||15||0||.444||L 37-43||December 8, 2014||Green Bay||1–2 postseason|
|Houston Texans||2||2||0||.500||W 48-21||October 4, 2015||Atlanta|
|Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts||2||13||0||.133||W 31–7||November 6, 2011||Indianapolis|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||2||3||0||.400||W 41–14||December 15, 2011||Atlanta|
|Kansas City Chiefs||3||5||0||.375||W 40–24||September 9, 2012||Kansas City|
|Miami Dolphins||4||8||0||.333||L 23–27||September 22, 2013||Miami|
|Minnesota Vikings||10||16||0||.385||L 28–41||September 28, 2014||Minnesota||1–1 postseason|
|New England Patriots||6||7||0||.462||L 23–30||September 29, 2013||Atlanta|
|New Orleans Saints||48||44||0||.522||L 21–31||October 18, 2015||New Orleans||1–0 postseason|
|New York Giants||12||11||0||.522||W 24–20||September 20, 2015||New York||0–1 postseason|
|New York Jets||6||5||0||.545||L 28–30||October 7, 2013||Atlanta|
|Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders||6||7||0||.462||W 23–20||October 14, 2012||Atlanta|
|Philadelphia Eagles||13||15||1||.466||W 26–24||September 14, 2015||Atlanta||1–2 postseason|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||2||13||1||.156||L 20–27||December 14, 2014||Atlanta|
|San Diego Chargers||8||1||0||.889||W 27–3||September 23, 2012||San Diego|
|San Francisco 49ers||29||45||1||.393||L 24–34||December 23, 2013||San Francisco||1–1 postseason|
|Seattle Seahawks||5||9||0||.357||L 10–33||November 10, 2013||Atlanta||1–0 postseason|
|Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams||27||47||2||.368||W 31–24||September 15, 2013||Atlanta||1–0 postseason|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22||21||0||.512||W 27–17||November 9, 2014||Tampa Bay|
|Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans||7||7||0||.500||W 10–7||October 25, 2015||Nashville|
|Washington Redskins||9||14||1||.396||W 25–19 (OT)||October 11, 2015||Atlanta||0–1 postseason|
Includes postseason records
Record vs. opponents
In the 1980s, the Falcons wore their white uniforms at home most of the time because of the heat. When the Falcons started playing in a dome, the team switched to their dark uniforms for home games but have worn their white uniforms at home a few times since switching to the dome. It was announced at the 2009 state of the franchise meeting that the Falcons would wear 1966 throwback uniforms for a couple games during the 2009 season. The Atlanta Falcons wore 1966 throwback jerseys for 2 home games in 2009 – against the Carolina Panthers on September 20 and against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 29. The Falcons won both of those games. They donned the throwbacks again for 2 games in 2010, against Baltimore and San Francisco, winning both of those games as well.
In 2004, the red jerseys became the primary jerseys, and the black ones became the alternate, both worn with white pants. In select road games, the Falcons wear black pants with white jerseys. The Falcons wore an all-black combination for home games against their archrivals, the New Orleans Saints, winning the first two contests (24–21 in 2004 and 36–17 in 2005), but losing 31–13 in 2006. The Falcons wore the all black combination against the New Orleans Saints for 4 straight seasons starting in 2004, With the last time being in 2007, losing 34–14. They wore the combination again in 2006, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. The Falcons won that game, 14–3. The Falcons also wore their all-black uniform in 2007 against the New York Giants, and in 2008 against the Carolina Panthers and against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (for the second time).
Both the logo and uniforms changed in 2003. The logo was redesigned with red and silver accents to depict a more powerful, aggressive falcon, which now more closely resembles the capital letter F. Although the Falcons still wore black helmets, the new uniforms featured jerseys and pants with red trim down the sides. The uniform design consisted of either black or white jerseys, and either black or white pants. During that same year, a red alternate jersey with black trim was also introduced. The Falcons also started wearing black cleats with these uniforms.
In 1990, the uniform design changed to black helmets, silver pants, and either black or white jerseys. The numbers on the white jerseys were black, but were changed to red in 1997. (The red numerals could be seen on the away jerseys briefly in 1990.)
A prototype white helmet was developed for the team prior to the 1974 season but was never worn.
When the team debuted in Georgia Bulldogs (Red and Black) Although the gold was later taken out, the white remains to this day. They wore white pants and either black or white jerseys. At first, the falcon crest logo was also put on the jersey sleeves, but it was replaced by a red and white stripe pattern four years later. They switched from black to red jerseys in 1971, and the club began to wear silver pants in 1978.
Logo and uniforms
The new stadium is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2017 NFL season.  In March 2013, the Atlanta City Council voted 11–4 in favor of building the stadium. the total cost is now projected to be $1.5 billion according to Blank. In an effort to replace the aging Georgia Dome and potentially host a future
Despite having another rough season, the Falcons still had an opportunity to qualify for the playoffs at the end of the regular season. The Falcons hosted the Carolina Panthers in their regular season finale, with the winners clinching the NFC South division. Unfortunately, the Falcons lost in a 34–3 blowout as Matt Ryan threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns and got sacked six times. The Falcons finished the season 6–10, marking the second consecutive losing season for the team. The following day, Mike Smith was fired after seven seasons as head coach. The Falcons would soon hire Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as the team's 16th head coach. The Falcons had the 8th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft with which they selected Vic Beasley, a defensive end from Clemson University.
Following the success of the previous season, the Falcons were an expected Super Bowl contender. However, injuries hampered the team's performance and the team finished the season 4–12. With that, the streak of consecutive winning seasons came to an end and Mike Smith had his first losing season as a head coach. Tony Gonzalez, in his final season in the NFL, was selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl as a starter representing Team Rice. Following the conclusion of the 2012 season, director of player personnel Les Snead departed the team to join the St. Louis Rams and Dave Caldwell, assistant to general manager Thomas Dimitroff, left the team to join the Jacksonville Jaguars. Scott Pioli, former GM of the New England Patriots, was announced as the Falcons' new assistant GM. Mike Smith was given a one-year extension on his contract as head coach. The Falcons had the 6th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft with which they selected Jake Matthews, who played as offensive tackle for Texas A&M.
The Atlanta Falcons then advanced to face the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons seized control of the game early with a Matt Bryant field goal, a trio of Matt Ryan touchdown passes caught by Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez coupled with outstanding defensive play. By the end of the half, the score was 24–14.The tides of the game began to shift in the second half as the 49ers rallied back with a pair of Frank Gore touchdown runs. Atlanta's offense attempted to reply but were ultimately shut down by the 49er defense. A few series later, late in the 4th quarter with little time remaining, Atlanta found themselves in a 4th and 7 situation at the 10-yard line. The Falcons needed just 10 more yards to secure victory and advance to their first Super Bowl berth in nearly 15 years. Matt Ryan fired a pass to Roddy White which was ultimately broken up by inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, resulting in a 28–24 defeat.
The Falcons played the Seattle Seahawks in their first playoff game. Although they went down 28–27 with only 31 seconds left on the clock, Matt Ryan led the team to their first playoff victory, 30–28. It was the only playoff victory in the Mike Smith era.
Atlanta exploded out of the gate, going a franchise best 8–0 and remaining the last unbeaten team in the NFL that year. Their hopes to get an undefeated season came to an end with a 27–31 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Julio Jones had a remarkable second year, grabbing 10 touchdowns and 1,198 yards. The Falcons finished the season 13–3, and clinched the number one seed in the NFC playoffs.
The Falcons then went on to play the New York Giants in a 2011 NFC Wild Card Game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first half was a defensive struggle, with the first points coming off of a safety by the Falcons, giving Atlanta a 2–0 lead. In the 2nd quarter, though, Eli Manning connected with Hakeem Nicks for a short touchdown pass to make it 7–2 Giants heading into the 2nd half. Then the Giants took control, as Manning threw for two more TD passes to Mario Manningham and Nicks and the defense completed its shutout of the Falcons to give the New York Giants the win, 24–2, and the Falcons their third straight playoff loss with Matt Ryan and Mike Smith. After the season Defense Coordinator Brian VanGorder accepted a coaching job at Auburn University, and the offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey took the head coaching job in Jacksonville.
The Falcons made a surprise trade up with the Cleveland Browns in the 2011 NFL draft to select Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones sixth overall. In exchange, the Falcons gave up their first-, second- and fourth-round draft picks in 2011, and their first and fourth draft picks in 2012. Jones, along with teammates Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White, have since been dubbed Atlanta's "Big Three" (based on their total number of reception yards). On August 30, 2011, Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King, who correctly predicted the 2011 Super Bowl, made his predictions for the 2011 season and picked the Falcons to defeat the San Diego Chargers in the 2012 Super Bowl. The Falcons finished the season at 10–6, securing the fifth seed after a Week 17 beatdown of Tampa Bay in which the Falcons pulled their starters after leading 42–0 just 23 minutes into the game.
In 2010, with a regular season record of 13–3, their best regular season record since the 1998 Super Bowl season, the Falcons secured a third straight winning season, their fourth overall divisional title, and the top overall seed in the NFC playoffs; however, the Falcons were overpowered by the eventual Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs 48–21. The Falcons scored 414 points – third-most in franchise history in 2010. The Falcons 2010–2011 team sent an NFL-high and franchise-best nine players to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.
Although they failed to make the playoffs in 2009 the team rallied to win their final three regular season games to record back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history. The Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20–10 in the final game of the season to improve their record to 9–7.
Matt Ryan started all 16 games in his rookie season and was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year. First-year head coach Mike Smith was named 2008 NFL Coach of the Year.
The Falcons finished the 2008 regular season with a record of 11–5, and the #5 seed in the playoffs. On December 21, 2008, Atlanta beat the Minnesota Vikings 24–17 to clinch a wild card spot, earning a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The Falcons would go on to lose in the wild-card round of the 2008 NFL playoffs to the eventual NFC champion Arizona Cardinals, 30–24.
On January 13, 2008, the Falcons named former Patriots director of college football scouting Thomas Dimitroff General Manager. On January 23, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coach and former linebackers coach for the 2000 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens Mike Smith was named the Falcons' new head coach. Chargers back-up RB Michael Turner agreed to a 6-year deal, $30 million deal on March 2. On April 26, Matt Ryan (quarterback from Boston College) was drafted third overall in the 2008 NFL draft by the Falcons.
After the tumultuous and disappointing 2007 season, the Falcons made a number of moves, hiring a new General Manager and head coach, drafting a new starting quarterback, and signing a starting running back.
2008–2014: Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era
For the 2007 season, the Falcons were forced to start Joey Harrington at quarterback. On December 11, 13 games into his first NFL season as head coach, Bobby Petrino resigned without notice to coach at the University of Arkansas, leaving the beleaguered players only a note in the locker room. Secondary Coach Emmitt Thomas was named interim coach for the final three games of the season on December 12. The Falcons ended the year with a dismal 4–12 record.
The Falcons again fell short of achieving back-to-back winning seasons in 2005, going 8–8. In 2006, Michael Vick became the first quarterback in league history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, with 1,039. After finishing the season 7–9, however, coach Jim Mora was dismissed and Bobby Petrino, the University of Louisville's football coach, replaced him. Before the 2007 season began, Vick was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after pleading guilty to charges involving dog fighting in the state of Virginia. On December 10, 2007, Vick received a 23-month prison sentence and was officially cut from the Atlanta roster.
On March 19, 2003, the Falcons presented their new logo. During the 2003 preseason Michael Vick broke his leg and missed the first twelve games of the season. After losing 7 straight games, the decision was made to release head coach Dan Reeves. NFC Championship, which they lost to the Eagles 27–10.
The 2002 season saw the Falcons return to the playoffs with a regular season record of 9–6–1, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers in a heated contest. It was Michael Vick's first year as the starter, and the team, with newly acquired running back Warrick Dunn, delivered the Green Bay Packers their first home playoff loss ever.
The Falcons finished the 2001 season with a record of 7–9 and missed the playoffs. Jessie Tuggle retired following 14 seasons in Atlanta. On December 6, 2001, Arthur M. Blank reached a preliminary agreement with the Falcons' Taylor Smith to purchase the team. In a special meeting prior to Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans on February 2, 2002, NFL owners voted unanimously to approve the purchase.
In the 2001 NFL draft, the Falcons orchestrated a trade with the San Diego Chargers, acquiring the first overall pick (which was used on quarterback Michael Vick) in exchange for wide receiver / return specialist Tim Dwight and the fifth overall pick (used on running back LaDainian Tomlinson).
2001–2006: The Michael Vick era
In the second game of the Falcons 1999 season, running back Jamal Anderson, who had been a key player in the Falcons' 1998 success, suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Falcons finished the season with a very disappointing 5–11 regular season record. In 2000, the Falcons suffered through another horrendous season finishing 4–12 and once again missing the playoffs.
In 1998, under recently acquired head coach Dan Reeves, quarterback Chris Chandler and running back Jamal Anderson the "Dirty Bird" Falcons had their greatest season to date. On November 8, they beat the New England Patriots 41–10, ending a streak of 22 losses at cold-weather sites. The team finished with a franchise-best 14–2 regular season record and the NFC West division championship. On January 17, 1999, the Falcons upset the top-seeded Vikings at Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game 30–27, in an exciting overtime victory. However, in their first-ever Super Bowl appearance, they lost 34–19 to the defending champion Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII.
1997–2000: The Dan Reeves era
In 1992, the Atlanta Falcons opened a new chapter in their history moving into the newly constructed Georgia Dome, where the team has defeated all 31 other NFL teams at least once since its opening.
The Falcons' 1991 season ended in a divisional playoff loss to the Washington Redskins. In 1991, the Falcons drafted Brett Favre as the thirty-third overall pick. During his rookie season, he played in two games where he amassed a record of 4 passing attempts with 0 receptions and 2 interceptions. The following February, Favre was traded to the Green Bay Packers.
In 1989, the Falcons drafted CB Deion Sanders in the first round, who helped them for the next four years, setting many records for the franchise. "Neon Deion" (a.k.a. "Prime Time") had a flashy appeal and helped bring media attention to one of the league's most anonymous franchises. Sanders was also famous for playing on major league baseball teams (the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves) while simultaneously playing in the NFL.
In 1980, after a nine-game winning streak, the Falcons posted a franchise then-best record of 12–4 and captured their first NFC West division title. The next week, their dream season ended at home with a loss to the Cowboys 30–27 in the divisional playoffs. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, the Falcons made the playoffs but lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 30–24. Falcons coach Leeman Bennett was fired after the loss.
In the 1978 season, the Falcons qualified for the playoffs for the first time and won the Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles 14–13. The following week, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27–20 in the Divisional Playoffs.
The Falcons had their first season in 1966, and their first preseason game on August 1, 1966, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles. Under Head Coach Norb Hecker they lost their first nine regular-season games in 1966 and secured their first victory on the road against the New York Giants. The team finished the 1960s with only 12 wins. The Falcons had their first Monday Night Football game in Atlanta during the 1970 season. The 1971 season was their first with a winning record.
In February 2015, the team was investigated by the NFL for alleged use of artificial crowd noise in the Georgia Dome.
The Atlanta Falcons Football Club received its nickname on August 29, 1965. Miss Julia Elliott, a school teacher from Griffin, Georgia was singled out from many people who suggested "Falcons" as the Nickname for the new Georgia NFL franchise. She wrote: "the Falcon is proud and dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey. It is deadly and has a great sporting tradition."
 six weeks later in which the Falcons selected unprotected players from existing franchises. Although the Falcons selected many good players in those drafts, they still were not able to win right away.1966 NFL Expansion Draft also held the league, making him the first-ever Falcon. The draft with the first pick of the University of Texas from the Tommy Nobis linebacker All-American The Falcons drafted  as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds.1966 NFL draft Former commissioner Pete Rozelle and Smith made the deal in about five minutes and the Atlanta Falcons brought the largest and most popular sport to the city of Atlanta. The Atlanta expansion franchise became the 15th NFL franchise, and they were awarded the first pick in the  The Atlanta Falcons franchise began on June 30, 1965, when
With everyone running in different directions, some local businessmen worked out a deal and were awarded an AFL franchise on June 7, 1965, contingent upon acquiring exclusive stadium rights from city officials. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, who had been moving slowly in Atlanta matters, was spurred by the AFL interest and headed on the next plane down to Atlanta to block the rival league's claim on the city of Atlanta. He forced the city to make a choice between the two leagues. By June 30, the city picked Rankin Smith and the NFL.
In 1965, after the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was built, the city of Atlanta felt the time was right to start pursuing professional football. One independent group which had been active in NFL exhibition promotions in Atlanta applied for franchises in both the American Football League and the National Football League, acting entirely on its own with no guarantee of stadium rights. Another group reported it had deposited earnest money for a team in the AFL.
Professional football first came to Atlanta in 1962, when the American Football League staged two preseason contests, with one featuring the Denver Broncos vs. the Houston Oilers and the second pitting the Dallas Texans against the Oakland Raiders. Two years later, the AFL held another exhibition, this time with the New York Jets taking on the San Diego Chargers.
- Franchise history 1
Notable seasons 2
- 1966–1977 2.1
- 1978–1980 2.2
- 1989 2.3
- 1991–1992 2.4
- 1997–2000: The Dan Reeves era 2.5
- 2001–2006: The Michael Vick era 2.6
- 2007 2.7
2008–2014: Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era 2.8
- 2008 2.8.1
- 2009 2.8.2
- 2010 2.8.3
- 2011 2.8.4
- 2012 2.8.5
- 2013 2.8.6
- 2014 2.8.7
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium 3
- Logo and uniforms 4
- Season-by-season records 5.1
- Record vs. opponents 5.2
- Single game records 5.3
- Single season records 5.4
- Career records 5.5
- Current roster 6.1
- Pro Football Hall of Famers 6.2
- "Ring of Honor" 6.3
- Georgia Sports Hall of Fame 6.4
Coaching staff 7
- Head coaches 7.1
- Current staff 7.2
Radio and television 8
Radio affiliates 8.1
- Georgia 8.1.1
- Alabama 8.1.2
- Florida 8.1.3
- Mississippi 8.1.4
- South Carolina 8.1.5
- Tennessee 8.1.6
- Virginia 8.1.7
- Radio affiliates 8.1
- Public interest initiatives 9
- See also 10
- Notes and references 11
- External links 12