The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) South division. 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).
In their 53 years of existence (through 2018), the Falcons have compiled a record of 368–466–6 (358–452–6 in the regular season and 10–14 in the playoffs), winning division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012, and 2016. The Falcons have appeared in two Super Bowls, the first during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII, where they lost to the Denver Broncos 34–19, and the second was eighteen years later, a 34–28 overtime defeat by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
The Falcons' current home field is Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened for the 2017 season; the team's headquarters and practice facilities are located at a fifty-acre (20 ha) site in Flowery Branch, northeast of Atlanta in Hall County.
|Established June 30, 1965|
First season: 1966
Play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Headquartered in Flowery Branch, Georgia
|Team colors||Red, black, silver, white|
|General manager||Thomas Dimitroff|
|Head coach||Dan Quinn|
|League championships (0)|
|Conference championships (2)|
|Division championships (6)|
|Playoff appearances (14)|
Professional football first came to Atlanta in 1962, when the American Football League (AFL) 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.
In 1965, after the Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium (then known simply as Atlanta 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 AFL and NFL, 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.
With everyone running in different directions, some local businessmen (Cox Broadcasting) worked out a deal and were awarded an AFL franchise on June 8, 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.
The AFL's original expansion plans in June 1965 were for two new teams in 1966, in Atlanta and Philadelphia. It later evolved into the Miami Dolphins in 1966 and the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968. The NFL had planned to add two teams in 1967; the competition with the AFL for Atlanta forced the first to be added a year early in 1966. The odd number of teams (15) resulted in one idle team (bye) each week, with each team playing fourteen games over fifteen weeks (similar to 1960: twelve games over thirteen weeks). The second expansion team, the New Orleans Saints, joined the NFL as planned in 1967 as its sixteenth franchise.
The Atlanta Falcons franchise began on June 30, 1965, when Rozelle granted ownership to forty-year-old Rankin Smith Sr., an Executive Vice President of Life Insurance Company of Georgia. He paid $8.5 million, the highest price in NFL history at the time for a franchise. 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 team became the fifteenth NFL franchise, and they were awarded the first overall pick in the 1966 NFL Draft as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds. They selected consensus All-American linebacker Tommy Nobis from the University of Texas, making him the first-ever Falcon. The league also held the expansion draft six weeks later in which Atlanta selected unprotected players from the fourteen existing franchises. Although the Falcons selected many good players in those drafts, they still were not able to win right away.
The Atlanta team received its nickname on August 29, 1965. Miss Julia Elliott, a school teacher from Griffin, was singled out from many people who suggested "Falcons" as the nickname for the new 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."
The Falcons' inaugural season was in 1966, and their first preseason game was on August 1, a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Under head coach Norb Hecker, Atlanta lost their first nine regular season games in 1966; their first victory came on the road against the struggling New York Giants on November 20 in Yankee Stadium. Two weeks later, Atlanta won at Minnesota, and beat St. Louis in Atlanta the next week for their first home win. The team finished the 1960s with twelve wins in four seasons.
The Falcons had their first Monday Night Football game in Atlanta during the 1970 season, a 20–7 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The only two winning seasons in their first twelve years were 1971 (7–6–1) and 1973 (9–5).
In the 1978 season, the Falcons qualified for the playoffs for the first time and won the Wild Card game against the Eagles 14–13. The following week, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27–20 in the Divisional Playoffs.
In the 1980 season, 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. The team then had losing seasons for the next eight years.
In the 1989 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected cornerback 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 (New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves) while simultaneously playing in the NFL.
After defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card game, the Falcons' 1991 season ended in a divisional playoff loss to the Washington Redskins. In the 1991 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected quarterback Brett Favre as the thirty-third overall pick. During his rookie season, he played in two games where he amassed a record of four passing attempts with no receptions and two interceptions. The following February, Favre was traded to the Green Bay Packers.
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 during its time there.
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 the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 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.
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 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).
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.
The 2002 season saw the Falcons return to the playoffs with a regular season record of 9–6–1, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was 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. A 20-6 loss to the Donovan McNabb-led Philadelphia Eagles the following week, however, ended the Falcons' season.
On March 19, 2003, the Falcons presented their new logo. During the 2003 preseason 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. Wade Phillips acted as interim coach for the final 3 games. Although the Falcons won 3 of their last 4 games after the return of Vick, they ended up with a 5–11 record that year. In 2004, a new head coach, Jim L. Mora, was hired and Vick returned for the full season. The Falcons went 11–5, winning their third division title and earning a first-round bye into the playoffs. In the divisional playoffs, the Falcons defeated the St. Louis Rams, 47–17, in the Georgia Dome, advancing to the NFC Championship Game, which they lost to the Eagles, 27–10.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2010, with a regular season record of 13–3, 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 – the fifth-most in franchise history. The team sent an NFL-high and franchise-best nine players to the 2011 Pro Bowl.
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.
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.
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 division rival 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 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.
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 4 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 14 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.
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.
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.
In February 2015, the team was investigated by the NFL for alleged use of artificial crowd noise in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons lost a 2016 NFL Draft selection as a result of the league's investigation.
Dan Quinn's first season saw a 5–0 start, the team's best start in four years. They would then struggle throughout the rest of the season by losing 8 of their last 11 games, resulting in an 8–8 record. They did, however, give the Panthers their only regular season loss. The Falcons used their first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft on safety Keanu Neal from the University of Florida.
In the Falcons' 25th and final season in the Georgia Dome, Atlanta lost their Week 1 game to the Buccaneers 24–31. The Falcons would then win their next four including one over the Panthers, when the franchise set new records. Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards, and Julio Jones caught twelve passes for 300 yards. With a 41–13 thrashing of the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15, the Falcons improved to 9–5 and secured their first winning season since 2012. One week later, the Falcons defeated the Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina and clinched their first NFC South division title since 2012. In their last regular season game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints, and secured an 11–5 record and a first round bye.
In the divisional round of the playoffs, Atlanta defeated the Seahawks 36–20 in the Georgia Dome, and hosted their last game at the Dome against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on January 22, 2017. The Falcons defeated the Packers 44–21 to advance to Super Bowl LI as the NFC champions. Atlanta was up 28–3 late in the third quarter, and the New England Patriots scored 31 unanswered points, with the last 6 in the first-ever overtime in the Super Bowl. The Patriots' 25-point comeback was the largest in Super Bowl history.
In 2016, the Falcons scored 540 points in the regular season, the seventh-most in NFL history, tied with the Greatest Show on Turf (the 2000 St. Louis Rams). However, the Falcons defense gave up 406 points, 27th in the league.
The Falcons moved into their new home, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, this season. Their first game ever played at the new stadium was a preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The first regular season game at the new stadium was a rematch of the 2016–17 NFC Championship, with Atlanta defeating Green Bay 34–23. Their first loss of the season was a 23–17 home defeat to the Buffalo Bills in week 4. The team returned to the playoffs with a 10-6 record (albeit with a third-place finish in the NFC South). The Falcons defeated the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 in the Wild Card round, but their 2017 season came to an end a week later in the Divisional Playoff round at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles 15-10.
The Falcons have called three stadiums home in their 51 years of existence, and its third home in their history opened in the late summer of 2017. The first was the Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, sharing with the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team until 1991. In 1992, the Georgia Dome was built, and the Falcons played there from its opening to the 2016 season. The Dome has been frequently used for college football, including Georgia State football and college bowl games such as the Peach Bowl.
In an effort to replace the aging Georgia Dome and potentially host a future Super Bowl, team owner Arthur Blank proposed a deal with the city of Atlanta to build a new state-of-the-art stadium not far from where the Georgia Dome is located. Blank will contribute $800 million and the city of Atlanta will contribute an additional $200 million via bonds backed by the city's hotel/motel tax towards the construction of a retractable roof stadium. Blank will contribute additional money for cost overruns if it is needed. The team will provide up to $50 million towards infrastructure costs that weren't included in the construction budget and to retire the remaining debt on the Georgia Dome. In addition, Blank's foundation and the city will each provide $15 million for development in surrounding neighborhoods. Though the total cost of the stadium was initially estimated to be around $1 billion, the total cost was revised to $1.5 billion according to Blank. In March 2013, the Atlanta City Council voted 11–4 in favor of building the stadium. The retractable roof Mercedes-Benz Stadium broke ground in May 2014, and became the third home stadium for the Falcons and the first for the new Atlanta United FC Major League Soccer club upon opening in 2017.
The Atlanta Falcons' colors are red, black, silver and white. When the team began play in 1966, the Falcons wore red helmets with a black falcon crest logo. In the center of the helmet was a center black stripe surrounded by two gold stripes and two white stripes. These colors represented the two college rival schools in the state of Georgia; rival schools Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (white and gold) and the Georgia Bulldogs (red and black). Although the gold was removed after several seasons, 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.
A prototype white helmet was developed for the team prior to the 1974 season, but was never worn.
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.)
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 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 four 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).
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 two 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.
The Falcons unveiled an all-red Color Rush uniform on September 13, 2016; however, due to the fact that the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had similar all-red Color Rush uniforms, the Falcons were unable to wear their Color Rush uniform until the 2017 season.
In every season except for their debut season, the Falcons have shared a division with the New Orleans Saints (first the NFC West, and now the NFC South). Over this time, a heated rivalry has developed between the two cities' franchises. Atlanta leads the series 52–48.
In addition, the Falcons share a similar, yet smaller, rivalry with the Carolina Panthers, with both teams having been in the NFC West from the Panthers' founding in 1995 to the NFL realignment in 2002, where they have been in the NFC South since then. The Falcons lead the series 27–17.
Includes postseason records
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties
|Team||W||L||T||Percent||Last result||Last date||Last locale||Postseason|
|St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals||15||15||0||.500||W 40-14||December 16, 2018||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||0–1 postseason|
|Baltimore Ravens||2||3||0||.400||L 7–29||October 19, 2014||Baltimore, Maryland|
|Buffalo Bills||7||5||0||.583||L 17–23||October 1, 2017||Mercedes-Benz Stadium|
|Carolina Panthers||30||18||0||.625||W 24-10||December 23, 2018||Bank of America Stadium|
|Chicago Bears||13||14||0||.481||W 23–17||September 10, 2017||Chicago, Illinois|
|Cincinnati Bengals||5||8||0||.385||L 10–24||September 14, 2014||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Cleveland Browns||3||11||0||.214||L 24–26||November 23, 2014||Georgia Dome|
|Dallas Cowboys||11||14||0||.440||W 27-7||November 12, 2017||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||0–2 postseason|
|Denver Broncos||6||8||0||.429||W 23–16||October 9, 2016||Denver, Colorado||0–1 postseason|
|Detroit Lions||13||24||0||.351||W 30-26||September 24, 2017||Detroit, Michigan|
|Green Bay Packers||14||15||0||.483||W 34–23||September 17, 2017||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||2–2 postseason|
|Houston Texans||2||2||0||.500||W 48–21||October 4, 2015||Georgia Dome|
|Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts||2||14||0||.125||L 21–24||November 22, 2015||Georgia Dome|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||3||3||0||.500||W 23–17||December 20, 2015||Jacksonville, Florida|
|Kansas City Chiefs||3||6||0||.333||L 28–29||December 4, 2016||Georgia Dome|
|San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers||8||2||0||.800||L 30–33 (OT)||October 23, 2016||Georgia Dome|
|St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams||29||47||2||.385||W 26–13||January 6, 2018||Los Angeles, California||2–0 postseason|
|Miami Dolphins||4||9||0||.308||L 17–20||October 15, 2017||Mercedes-Benz Stadium|
|Minnesota Vikings||10||18||0||.357||L 9–14||December 3, 2017||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||1–1 postseason|
|New England Patriots||6||9||0||.400||L 7–23||October 22, 2017||Foxborough, Massachusetts||0–1 postseason|
|New Orleans Saints||51||48||0||.515||L 13–23||December 24, 2017||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||1–0 postseason|
|New York Giants||13||11||0||.542||W 23–20||October 22, 2018||Atlanta, Georgia||0–1 postseason|
|New York Jets||7||5||0||.583||W 25–20||October 29, 2017||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders||7||7||0||.500||W 35–28||September 18, 2016||Oakland, California|
|Philadelphia Eagles||13||16||1||.450||L 10–15||January 13, 2018||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||1–2 postseason|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||2||13||1||.156||L 20–27||December 14, 2014||Georgia Dome|
|San Francisco 49ers||30||46||1||.396||W 41–13||December 18, 2016||Georgia Dome||1–1 postseason|
|Seattle Seahawks||7||10||0||.412||W 34–31||November 20, 2017||CenturyLink Field||2–0 postseason|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27||24||0||.529||W 34-32||December 30, 2018||Raymond James Stadium|
|Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans||7||7||0||.500||W 10–7||October 25, 2015||Nashville, Tennessee|
|Washington Redskins||10||14||1||.420||W 38–14||November 4, 2018||FedEx Field||0–1 postseason|
Atlanta Falcons roster
|Atlanta Falcons Hall of Famers|
|Norm Van Brocklin||Head Coach||1968–1974||1971|
Sanders, Humphrey, and Gonzalez are the only players in the Hall of Fame that have been inducted based substantially on their service with the Falcons. Andersen spent eight of his 25 NFL seasons with the Falcons, previously being the team's all-time scoring leader, but he also played his first 13 NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints, leading that team's career scoring list.
The Atlanta Falcons organization does not officially retire jersey numbers, but considers certain players' jerseys worthy of being honored. The Falcons Ring of Honor, which is featured in the rafters of the Georgia Dome, honors individual players.
|Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor|
|31||William Andrews||RB||1979–1983, 1986||2004|
|57||Jeff Van Note||C||1969–1986||2006|
In their history, the Atlanta Falcons have had 15 head coaches.
|Norb Hecker||1966–1968||4–26–1 (.145)||Fired after three games in 1968.|
|Norm Van Brocklin||1968–1974||39–48–3 (.450)||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 (.352)|
|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 (.454)|
|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 the head coaching job at Arkansas.|
|Emmitt Thomas||2007||1–2 (.333)||Interim head coach.|
|Mike Smith||2008–2014||66–46 (.589)|
|Dan Quinn||2015–present||29–19 (.604)|
Atlanta Falcons staff
Falcons' flagship radio station is WZGC 92.9 The Game. Wes Durham, son of longtime 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.
In the regular season, the team's games are seen on Fox's O&O affiliate WAGA. When the Falcons challenge an AFC team, CBS affiliate WGCL will air those games while Sunday night games are televised on WXIA, the local NBC affiliate.
The 1966 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's inaugural season in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons finished in seventh place in the NFL Eastern Conference with a record of 3–11, ahead of only the New York Giants.1998 Atlanta Falcons season
The 1998 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise’s 33rd in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons qualified for the Super Bowl for the first time under the guidance of second-year head coach Dan Reeves, becoming the first dome team to play in a Super Bowl. The Falcons won their final nine regular season games to earn the #2 seed in the National Football Conference (NFC) for the postseason and the first-week bye. They beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round and the #1-seed Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game before losing to Reeves’ old team, the Denver Broncos, 34–19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.Head coach Dan Reeves almost didn’t make it to the end of the season. After Week 14, he was diagnosed with multiple blockages to his coronary arteries, necessitating quadruple bypass surgery. Reeves admitted he ignored the warning signs in hopes of finishing the season, but ultimately felt he needed to be checked out. Doctors stated by the time he went for treatment, he may have been “within hours of a catastrophic heart attack.” Defensive coordinator Rich Brooks substituted for him as head coach during Weeks 15 and 16. Reeves returned for Week 17 and finished the season.
The Falcons ranked fourth in the league in points scored (442 points) and surrendered the fourth-fewest points (289) in 1998; the Falcons also led the league in turnover differential at +20. The Falcons would not appear in the NFL title game again until 2017, Super Bowl LI, which they lost to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.2014 Atlanta Falcons season
The 2014 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 49th season in the National Football League and the seventh under head coach Mike Smith. The Falcons were defeated by the Carolina Panthers in week 17, officially eliminating them from postseason contention for the second straight year. As a result, head coach Mike Smith was fired after his seventh year as coach, after two straight years with a losing record.The 2014 Atlanta Falcons were featured on the HBO documentary series Hard Knocks.2016 Atlanta Falcons season
The 2016 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 51st season in the National Football League and the second under head coach Dan Quinn. It also marked the team's 25th and final season playing their home games at the Georgia Dome, as the Falcons moved into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017. The Falcons won the NFC South for the first time since 2012 and improved on their 8–8 record from 2015, going 11–5 and earning the second seed in the NFC playoffs. Quarterback Matt Ryan was named the 2016 NFL MVP.The falcons scored 540 points, 1st in the league
The Falcons defeated the Seattle Seahawks 36–20 in the Divisional Round to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2012. In the NFC Championship game, they defeated the Green Bay Packers, 44–21, to advance to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history; they had competed in Super Bowl XXXIII 18 years earlier. In Super Bowl LI, the Falcons faced the New England Patriots, and built a 28–3 lead midway through the third quarter, before surrendering 25 consecutive points, forcing overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history where they went on to lose 28-34.2017 Atlanta Falcons season
The 2017 season was the Atlanta Falcons' 52nd season in the National Football League and their third under head coach Dan Quinn. They entered the season as the defending NFC champions and tried to defend their NFC title for a second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl after losing the previous year against the Patriots in Super Bowl LI after blowing a 28-3 lead. This was the Falcons' first year in Mercedes-Benz Stadium after spending the previous 25 seasons in the Georgia Dome, which was demolished on November 20, 2017. Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened as scheduled on August 26, 2017; however, its retractable roof system was incomplete. The roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium remained in the closed position for most of the 2017 season, with the roof opened only during the September 17 game against the Green Bay Packers, as contractors continue to fully mechanize the roof.On December 13, 2017, Tommy Nobis, the first player drafted by the Falcons, died at the age of 74.Despite the Falcons failing to improve on their 11–5 record from 2016 or defend their NFC South title, the team posted its first consecutive winning seasons, consecutive 10-win seasons, and consecutive playoff berths since the 2012 season. The Falcons were the only NFC team from the 2016 playoffs to qualify for the 2017 playoffs. In the playoffs, the Falcons defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card Round, but lost against the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional round.Alex Mack
Javon Alexander "Alex" Mack (born November 19, 1985) is an American football center for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of California, and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns 21st overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.Calvin Ridley
Calvin Orin Ridley (born December 20, 1994) is an American football wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama, and was drafted by the Falcons in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.Devonta Freeman
Devonta Freeman (born March 15, 1992) is an American football running back for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Falcons in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at Florida State.Emmitt Thomas
Emmitt Earl Thomas (born June 3, 1943) is a former American football coach and cornerback. He most recently served as the defensive backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). He played in college at the now defunct Bishop College. He played professionally for Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. He owns the Chiefs all-time interception record with 58, which places him ninth on pro football's all-time list. Thomas was elected to the NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame after being nominated by the Seniors Committee.Falcons–Panthers rivalry
The Falcons–Panthers rivalry is a rivalry between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. Both franchises have a combined twelve divisional titles (eleven as members of the same division) and four Super Bowl appearances, with the Falcons appearing in Super Bowls XXXIII and LI and the Panthers appearing in Super Bowls XXXVIII and 50.
The Panthers and Falcons have played each other twice a year since 1995, as members of both the NFC West (1995–2001) and NFC South (2002–present) divisions. Their games have been marked by intensity, close scores, and remarkable performances.
It is also known as the "I-85 Rivalry" due to Atlanta and Charlotte being only four hours apart on Interstate 85. Indeed, games between the two feature large contingents of Falcons fans at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and Panthers fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (prior to 2017, the Georgia Dome) in Atlanta.James Carpenter (American football)
James Edward Carpenter Jr. (born March 22, 1989) is an American football guard for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks as the 25th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He played college football at Alabama.Julio Jones
Quintorris Lopez "Julio" Jones (; born February 8, 1989) is an American football wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama, and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons sixth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
During his sophomore season with Alabama in 2009, Jones helped lead the Crimson Tide to an undefeated 14–0 season, including a victory in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game. With the Atlanta Falcons, Jones has been invited to six Pro Bowls, was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2015 after leading the league in receiving yards and receptions, and in 2016 when he helped lead the Atlanta Falcons to Super Bowl LI. Jones was also named second-team All-Pro twice, in 2017 and in 2018 after leading the league in receiving yards.
Jones has a rare combination of size (6 ft 3 in and 220 lbs), speed (40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds), catching ability, strength, leaping ability, and body control. Jones has led the league in receiving yards twice in his career, in 2015 with 1,871 yards and in 2018 with 1,677 yards. On November 11, 2018, Jones became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards, accomplishing the feat in 104 games. His career average of 96.7 receiving yards per game is the highest in NFL history.Kyle Shanahan
Kyle Michael Shanahan (born December 14, 1979) is an American football coach who is the current head coach of the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). Previously, he served as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, whose offense led the league in points scored in 2016 and helped the team reach Super Bowl LI. In addition to the 49ers and Falcons, Shanahan has coached for the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns. He is the son of former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan.List of Atlanta Falcons head coaches
The Atlanta Falcons are an American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are members of the South division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1966 and have compiled an all-time record of 337 wins, 436 loses, and 6 ties. The team has won the NFC West championship twice in 1980 and 1998 and the NFC South championship 4 times in 2004, 2010, 2012 and 2016. The Falcons have appeared in two Super Bowls, losing both times; their first appearance was in Super Bowl XXXIII, with the Falcons falling to the Denver Broncos 19–34, and the second was in Super Bowl LI, where the Falcons fell to the New England Patriots 28–34 in overtime. There have been 16 head coaches for the Falcons franchise, 12 serving full-time. Current head coach Dan Quinn holds the best winning percentage at .604 in the regular season, while Mike Smith has won the most games and was the longest tenured head coach, with a 66–46 regular season record. Under Smith's leadership, the team attained consecutive winning seasons (11–5 in 2008 and 9–7 in 2009), consecutive playoff appearances (2010 and 2011), and consecutive seasons with 10 wins or more (also in 2010 and 2011) for the first time in franchise history. Also, Smith is the only Falcons coach to win 2 divisional titles (NFC South, 2010 and 2012).List of Atlanta Falcons starting quarterbacks
These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Falcons.Matt Ryan (American football)
Matthew Thomas Ryan (born May 17, 1985), nicknamed Matty Ice, is an American football quarterback and team captain for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). After playing college football for Boston College, Ryan was drafted by the Falcons with the third overall pick in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Ryan was Boston College's starting quarterback from 2005 to 2007, leading them to three bowl victories and a 25–7 record in 32 starts. He threw for 200 or more yards 15 times and is third all time in school history in passing yards and in pass completions. He earned MVP of the game honors at the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl.In 2007, Ryan led his team to an ACC Atlantic Division championship and was named ACC Player of the Year. During his rookie year, Ryan started all 16 games for the Falcons and led them to the playoffs with an 11–5 season record. He earned honors as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In 2016, Ryan was the NFL's Most Valuable Player and led the Falcons to Super Bowl LI, where they were defeated by the New England Patriots.
After signing a $150 million five-year extension with the Falcons in 2018, Ryan became the first $30 million per year quarterback and the highest paid player in NFL history until being surpassed months later by Aaron Rodgers.Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a multi-purpose retractable-roof stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), it replaced the now-demolished Georgia Dome, the Falcons' home stadium from 1992–2016. Mercedes-Benz Stadium holds the record for the world's largest video board at 62,350 square feet (5,793 m2), and is one of five stadiums in the NFL with a retractable roof.The stadium is owned by the state of Georgia through the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, and operated by AMB Group, the parent organization of the Falcons and Atlanta United. The total cost was estimated at US$1.6 billion, as of June 2016. The stadium officially opened on August 26, 2017 with a Falcons preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, despite the retractable roof system being incomplete at the time. Work on the retractable roof was completed on July 14, 2018.Roddy White
Sharod Lamor "Roddy" White (born November 2, 1981) is a former American football wide receiver who played his entire professional career with the Atlanta Falcons. He played college football at UAB, and was drafted by the Falcons in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft.Tevin Coleman
Tevin Ford Coleman (born April 16, 1993) is an American football running back for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played college football at Indiana, where he was a unanimous All-American.
|Wild card berths (7)|
|Division championships (6)|
|Conference championships (2)|
|Ring of Honor|
|Current league affiliations|