In our 3rd of the Atlanta Falcons Retro Post series, you get a chance to build your own Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Football Team. This was the idea of one of our posters Sgt. Pepper, and it should be a fun one to try and develop. Use any players that have ever played for the Atlanta Falcons. You can choose any player and there are not restrictions. You can do only a starting lineup or you can go all the way and create a Dream Team 53 Man Roster. While the sports boredom drags on with no football in sight, should be a fun little exercise. You don’t have to necessarily rank the players if you don’t desire. The idea is not really to field a team according to Fantasy Football, but rather the best at each position through the franchise’s history. The Bird Cage’s meager attempt:
Matt Ryan, Steve Bartkowski, Michael Vick
Hard to argue against these three as the best quarterbacks in Falcons history. Bartkowski is the all-time leading passer for the franchise. Vick was one of the most dynamic players in history and Ryan represents one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL currently and gives the Falcons hope that a Lombardi Trophy may finally be in the Falcons hopes.
William Andrews, Gerald Riggs, Jamal Anderson, Michael Turner, Dave Hampton
How would you like to have that backfield listed above? Technically, Riggs is the all-time leading Falcons rusher, but many believe that William Andrews could’ve been one of the best running backs to ever play the game if not for that fateful injury. Jamal Anderson carried the entire team all on his back and led the Falcons to their only Super Bowl appearance. Michael Turner is helping lead the Falcons to being a premiere team in the NFL. Now that’s a lineup. Dave Hampton led the Falcons in rushing four years in a row and is an underappreciated player due to the fact that he was on a fairly unspectacular offense at the time.
Roddy White, Terance Mathis, Alfred Jenkins, Andre Rison, Michael Haynes
Like Ryan, Roddy White gets the top spot both on what he’s done in his short time as a pro and a Falcon, but also what the future likely holds for him as well. He will almost definitely become the all-time leading receiver in Falcons history very soon, has made the Pro Bowl three years in a row and gone over 1,000 yards receiving 4 years consecutively. Terance Mathis gets the #2 spot as the current all-time receiving leader. Alfred Jenkins in the slot and Rison in the 4 hole? Michael Haynes gets the nod over Wallace Francis due to having more receiving yards and more TDs than him.
Jim Mitchell, Alge Crumpler, Tony Gonzalez
How do you even begin to try and order these three? Does Jim Mitchell get the nod as the trail-blazing Falcons TE? Or does Alge Crumpler get the starting job since he was basically the entire receiving threat for 5 years or so? Or do you plug in the best tight end to ever play the game even though he is just spending his twilight years here? I know that if I were the coach, I’d be running a ton of 3 TE sets.
Tackles (4) – George Kunz, Mike Kenn, Bob Whitfield, Todd Weiner
Guards (3) – Bill Fralic, Dave Scott, RC Thielemann
Centers (2) – Jeff Van Note, Todd McClure
This one’s a tough one outside a few easy choices. Bill Fralic, Mike Kenn, George Kunz, Jeff Van Note, and Todd McClure are pretty obvious choices since several are in the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor and the others either will be at some point or at least deserves consideration for it. The others are tough calls. No guards have stood out as dominant on the level of Fralic, so consistency and being on some of the best Falcon teams gives Scott and Thielemann the nod over guys like Kynan Forney and Justin Blalock. Surprisingly, Todd Weiner was the starting RT for the Falcons for 8 years and was the only anchor for all those years of leading the NFL in rushing and also helped the Falcons transition for awfulness back to the playoffs very quickly. Whitfield started at tackle for tons and tons of years, 12 to be exact. Tyson Clabo just made the Pro Bowl and has been arguably the best and most consistent Falcon during the Mike Smith era, but the possibility of him leaving free agency clouds the issue.
Claude Humphrey, John Zook, John Abraham, Patrick Kerney, Chuck Smith, Lester Archambeau
Claude Humphrey of course sets the bar insanely high and is the obvious pick, as well as hard-nosed gritty sack machine John Zook. Abraham has had some of the best seasons since becoming an Atlanta Falcons many years ago. He still looks to have a few more years left in the tank as well and has basically been the only pass rush the Falcons have gotten for several years now. Patrick Kerney is a tough call since he left and had many good years in Seattle, but his leaving probably had more to do with then-GM Rich McKay snubbing him and letting him walk. Kerney is also only one-half a sack behind Chuck Smith for all-time leading sacks. Chuck Smith played with the Falcons for 9 of his 10 years in the NFL and is currently the all-time leader in sacks for the Falcons with 58.5. Archambeau played 108 games as a Falcon, collared 31 sacks, and 241 tackles. Brady Smith probably deserves to be on here as well with his 32 career sacks, but not enough spots.
Travis Hall, Jonathan Babineaux, Moe Gardner, Don Smith
The cupboard is pretty thin at this position. Travis Hall leads the way 133 games played, 41.5 sacks, and a whopping 334 tackles. Even though he never had a ton of accolades, he was arguably the best player at his position in the entire franchise. Babineaux already is one of the best in franchise history after only playing for 6 years and garnering 18 sacks and 177 tackles. Gardner played for the Birds for 6 years and had an eye popping 420 tackles. Smith started for the Falcons for 6 years at defensive tackle, which is a hallmark for Falcons defensive tackles.
Tommy Nobis, Jessie Tuggle, Keith Brooking, Greg Brezina, Joel Williams, Don Hansen
Nobis, Tuggle, and Brooking are all pretty obvious picks since two of them are in the Ring of Honor and Brooking likely will be at some point. Nobis and Tuggle were exclusively middle linebackers and Brooking was for most of his career, but he did play outside linebacker for awhile as well. Williams was a starting linebacker for the Birds for 8 years and was a part of one of the Falcons best teams in 1980. Brezina started at linebacker from its infancy in 1968 all the way through 1979 and made the Pro Bowl in 1969. Hansen has one of the highest overall ratings from Pro-Football-Reference.com after starting at linebacker from 1969-1975.
Scott Case, Tom Pridemore, Ray Brown, Ray Easterling
Case absolutely is a lock here and could be headed for the Ring of Honor at some point. He is tied for 3rd in interceptions, had just an insane number of tackles at 946, and even threw in 7.5 sacks. He did play corner some as well. Tom Pridemore notched 121 games and is 7th all-time in interceptions when he played from 1975 to 1983. Ray Brown is behind only Rolland Lawrence in interceptions in franchise history after playing for 7 years from 1971 to 1977. Finally, Ray Easterling played for 8 years from 1972 to 1979 and is ranked twelve in all-time interceptions.
Deion Sanders, Ken Reaves, Bobby Butler, Rolland Lawrence, Ray Buchanan
Although Deion didn’t stay too awful long, he certainly did produce on an insane level while he was here and is in the Ring of Honor. Ken Reaves played for the Falcons for 8 years and is 4th all-time with 29 interceptions. Bobby Butler is 5th all-time in interceptions and played for the Falcons for 11 years and is only 8 games played behind Scott Case at 154. Rolland Lawrence is the all-time leader of interceptions in franchise history and has one of the highest overall ratings according to Pro Football Reference. Ray Buchanan gets the nod over Deangelo Hall with the last spot due to the fact that Buchanan had 13 more interceptions and almost double the amount of tackles that Hall had.
Morten Anderson – K
John James – P
Allen Rossum – KR/PR
Anderson is an easy choice here because he holds the all-time record for field goals made at 184 and kicked one of the most memorable field goals in Falcon history to propel the Birds onto the Super Bowl in 1998. Mick Luckhurst is close, but had a lower field goal % and less field goals made (115). John James gets the spot by a long shot with being the Falcons starting punter from 1972 to 1981 and punting almost double the amount of the next two Dan Stryzinski and Michael Koenen. James punted for almost 36,000 yards in his career as a Bird. Even though Deion was probably more exciting, Rossum blows away the competition with 1,723 punt return yards and 5,489 kick return yards. Even though he only netted 3 total TDs, he had 500 more punt return yards than Billy Whiteshoes Johnson and 2,000 more yards than Deion in kick returns.
Pro-Football-Reference.com is a fantastic reference on Atlanta Falcons history, stats, and starters.
-Time to build your All-Time Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Dream Team
-Agree or disagree with the list?
-Who should be on there that’s not?
-Who should NOT be on there who is?
-Does individual seasons or longevity mean more to you?
-Which positions have been the strongest in history?
-Which positions have been weakest in franchise history?
-What were your favorite years in franchise history?
-What current players can make the list in the future?