The 1966 NFL expansion draft was a National Football League (NFL) draft in which a new expansion team, named the Atlanta Falcons, selected its first players. On June 30, 1965, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle awarded the first NFL franchise in the Deep South to the city of Atlanta and granted ownership to Rankin Smith Sr.
So that the Falcons could become competitive with existing teams, the league awarded the Falcons the first pick in the 1966 NFL Draft, supplemented with the final pick in the first five rounds. The NFL also gave the new team the opportunity to select current players from existing teams. That selection was provided by the expansion draft, held on February 15, 1966. In this draft, held six weeks after the regular draft, the existing franchises listed players from which the Falcons could select to switch to the new team.
Each of the 14 established teams froze 29 players on their 40-man rosters that opened the 1965 season (That made 154 players available.). Atlanta picked one of the 11 and then each team froze two more. Atlanta was able to select two more for a total of 42 players chosen. The Falcons paid $8.5 million for the franchise. (Feb 17, 1966 St. Petersburg Times.)
|Player||Position||College team||Original NFL team|
|Roger Anderson||DT||Virginia Union||New York Giants|
|Larry Benz||S||Northwestern||Cleveland Browns|
|Lee Calland||DB||Louisville||Minnesota Vikings|
|Dennis Claridge||QB||Nebraska||Green Bay Packers|
|Junior Coffey||FB||Washington||Green Bay Packers|
|Ed Cook||OG||Notre Dame||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Dave Crossan||C||Maryland||Washington Redskins|
|Perry Lee Dunn||RB||Mississippi||Dallas Cowboys|
|Bobby Franklin||S||Mississippi||Cleveland Browns|
|Dan Grimm||OG||Colorado||Green Bay Packers|
|Alex Hawkins||WR||South Carolina||Baltimore Colts|
|Ralph Heck||LB||Colorado||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Bob Jencks||TE- PK||Miami (OH)||Washington Redskins|
|Bill Jobko||LB||Ohio State||Minnesota Vikings|
|Rudy Johnson||HB||Nebraska||San Francisco 49ers|
|Frank Lasky||OT||Florida||New York Giants|
|Danny Lewis||FB||Wisconsin||Washington Redskins|
|Errol Linden||OT||Houston||Minnesota Vikings|
|Bill (Red) Mack||FL||Notre Dame||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Frank Marchlewski||C||Minnesota||Los Angeles Rams|
|Billy Martin||TE||Georgia Tech||Chicago Bears|
|Dale Memmelaar||OG||Wyoming||Cleveland Browns|
|Dale Messer||FL||Fresno State||San Francisco 49ers|
|Max Messner||LB||Cincinnati||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Dennis Murphy||DT||Florida||Chicago Bears|
|Neal Petties||SE||San Diego State||Baltimore Colts|
|Tim Powell||DE||Northwestern||Los Angeles Rams|
|Dave Recher||C||Iowa||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Guy Reese||OT||SMU||Baltimore Colts|
|Bob Richards||DE||LSU||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Jerry Richardson||DB||West Texas State||Los Angeles Rams|
|Marion Rushing||LB||Southern Illinois||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Bob Sherman||DB||Iowa||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Chuck Sieminski||DT||Penn State||San Francisco 49ers|
|Carl Silvestri||DB||Wisconsin||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Jim Simon||OG-T||Miami||Detroit Lions|
|Ron Smith||DB||Wisconsin||Chicago Bears|
|Don Talbert||OT||Texas||Dallas Cowboys|
|Ernie Wheelwright||FB||Southern Illinois||New York Giants|
|Bob Whitlow||C||Arizona||Detroit Lions|
|Sam Williams||DE||Michigan State||Detroit Lions|
|Maury Youmans||DE||Syracuse||Dallas Cowboys|
The 1966 National Football League draft was held at the Summit Hotel in New York City on Saturday, November 27, 1965.The expansion Atlanta Falcons were awarded the first pick in each round as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds. The first overall selection was Tommy Nobis, a linebacker from Texas. The league also provided the Falcons with an expansion draft six weeks later.This was the last draft in which the NFL and the AFL selected their players separate of one another. As a result, most players drafted by teams from both leagues chose to play for the more established NFL, but not all. Similar to 1965, the AFL draft was held on the same day. After the merger agreement in June 1966, a common draft was held in March 1967.Billy Martin (tight end)
Jake William "Billy" Martin (October 27, 1942 – March 14, 2018) was an American football tight end in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Minnesota Vikings. He played college football at Georgia Tech and was drafted in the second round (twenty-first overall selection) of the 1964 NFL Draft. Martin was subsequently selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1966 NFL Expansion Draft.
Martin played high school football at Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Georgia.
He was a teammate of Billy Lothridge both at Gainesville High and Georgia Tech.
Martin died in Cumming, Georgia on March 14, 2018 he was 75.Bobby Franklin (American football)
Bobby Ray Franklin (born October 5, 1936) is a former football safety for the Cleveland Browns. He played as a quarterback for Ole Miss in college, and was the head football coach at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He has been named to seven Hall of Fames for his athletic and coaching accomplishments.
After retiring as a player, he coached at Georgia Tech and then became the defensive backs and special teams for the Dallas Cowboys from 1968 to 1972. He later coached for the Baltimore Colts and scouted for the Seattle Seahawks. He served as a college coach for Northwest Mississippi Community College for 26 years, 24 of those as the team's head coach.Dale Memmelaar
Dale Edward Memmelaar (January 15, 1937 – March 17, 2009) was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League for the Chicago Cardinals/St. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Colts. He played college football at the University of Wyoming.Don Talbert
Don Larry Talbert (born March 1, 1939) is a former American football offensive tackle in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, and New Orleans Saints. He played college football at the University of Texas at Austin. He was drafted in the eighth round of the 1961 NFL Draft.Expansion draft
An expansion draft, in professional sports, occurs when a sports league decides to create one or more new expansion teams or franchises. This occurs mainly in North American sports. One of the ways of stocking the new team or teams is an expansion draft. Although how each league conducts them varies, and they vary from occasion to occasion, the system is usually something similar to the following:
Each existing team is told it can "protect" a certain number of its existing contracted players by furnishing their names to the league office on or before a certain date. The expansion team(s) then are allowed to select players not on the protected lists in a manner somewhat similar to an entry draft. There are generally a maximum number of players that can be selected from any one team, at least without the team losing the player receiving something in compensation such as a future entry draft pick.
Teams subject to losing players usually tend to put most if not all of the players they truly need to stay competitive on the protected list. This means that the expansion franchise is usually left to choose among players who are old, injury prone, failing to develop as the teams had intended, or perhaps so highly compensated that a team wishes to remove them from the payroll. For this reason, expansion teams are often noncompetitive in their early years in a league, although the advent of the free agent system has modified this somewhat. Marc-André Fleury, who won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, is a notable exception of a star player in their prime being left exposed in an expansion draft, being made available for the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft after Fleury was made expendable due to the rise of Matt Murray at goaltender. The rules of the draft can be tweaked by the league to make the expansion team more competitive if that is the business objective of the league's expansion.Most teams seem to try largely to make a team which will serve until it can begin to develop its own talent, although occasionally players discarded by their old teams benefit from the change in environment and become stars, either again or for the first time.
A similar process occurs when an existing franchise is disbanded and the players contracted to it become available to the remaining teams; this process is referred to as a dispersal draft.Guy Reese
Guy Reese (September 22, 1939 – November 22, 2010) was a professional American football defensive tackle in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Colts and Atlanta Falcons. He played college football at Southern Methodist University.Maury Youmans
Maurice Edward Youmans (born October 16, 1936 in Eagle Bay, New York) is a former American football defensive end in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Syracuse University.Perry Lee Dunn
Perry Lee Dunn (January 20, 1941 – October 27, 2018), was a professional American football running back in the National Football League, for the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Colts. He played college football at the University of Mississippi.
|Early era (1936–1959)|
|AFL and NFL era (1960–1966)|
|Common draft (1967–1969)|
|Modern era (1970–present)|
|Wild card berths (7)|
|Division championships (6)|
|Conference championships (2)|
|Ring of Honor|
|Current league affiliations|