Favorite Atlanta Falcons Memories

List Some of Your Favorite Bird Recollections

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) tries to get around the tackle of Baltimore Ravens cornerback Josh Wilson (37) in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome.

A Great Game (J.Getz/AJC)

In the final of the Retro-Post Series, this one’s a really simple one: just list some your favorites memories you have in association with the Atlanta Falcons. Even though its summer, it appears that the NFL season is on the verge of getting some parts lost. Sure, there is still plenty of time for the NFL players and owners to stop their greedfest, but does many fans still have hope that they’ll get it together in three months after having three years? Anyway, we’ve got The Bird Cage to get us through. Your memories are special to YOU and don’t need to be a “highlight of the franchise,” per se, similar to who YOUR favorite Falcons players are. My youth in terms of being a Falcons fan will show, but here goes the list (which is not entirely extensive, because it could go on for days):

First Falcons Game in The Dome – I had the privilege of seeing the Falcons in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium before it got torn down, but due to my age I don’t remember too awful much from the games, except that it was a blast. One of the first games I do remember going to was seeing the Falcons play the Eagles in the newly opened Georgia Dome in 1994 and it was something I’d never forget going with my dad and his cousin. The June Jones led Falcons beat the Eagles that day and it was an awesome day after following the Falcons since I was little.

The Kick – It’s one of those moments you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing at the time. One of the most famous and best games in Falcons franchise history, the Birds shocked the world by going up to Minnesota and beating one of the highest scoring offenses in NFL history. With great defense, Jamal Anderson carrying the load, and timely aerial strikes from Chris Chandler, the Falcons beat the Vikes in the Metrodome to propel them to their only Super Bowl. I was working at The Sport Shoe while at UGA in Athens and they had a big screen TV and the entire place went nuts when the Morten Anderson kick sailed through the uprights. A special time in Falcons history.

Minneapolis, MN-Atlanta Falcons Chris Chandler, left and Eugene Robinson, right with the NFC Championship trophy. (AJC Staff Photo/Marlene Karas)

Of Course, a Favorite (AJC)

First Guy’s Trip – Had always followed the Falcons, but my fandom surged into overdrive when I moved to Atlanta after getting my teaching job. After moving to the Virginia Highlands, Atkins Park bar put on an all-inclusive trip to watch the Falcons play the Bucs in The Dome. It was really special because the trip included my father, my two brothers, and myself.

Playoff Excitement – After a fantastic year, the Falcons were set to take on the Rams in the playoffs in The Georgia Dome. Living in the highlands, my buddy Chelf and I headed out to Dugan’s to watch the big game. Upon getting there, we realized it was a Steelers haven (at least at the time), so we headed to our old stomping ground Atkins Park and had an amazing time watching the Falcons beat down the Rams and glory in the playoffs is something that is unparalleled.

Bottom of the Barrel – Yes, it was one of the worst seasons in Falcons history. The quarterback was Joey Harrington and the Falcons couldn’t play their way out of a paper bag and the scumbag, sleazeball head coach bolted in the middle of the night and things couldn’t really get worse. It was a great experience heading out to see the Falcons play the Seahawks in the home finale. It was significant because it was another family trip, but this one included my uncle who had been overseas teaching abroad for many years. It was also important to remember that the Falcons were my team in good times and bad and it also marked the end of a crappy few years and unknown to us fans, good times were just around the corner.

A New Era – After going to many single games over the last several years, my wife and I became season ticket holders and were beaming with excitement over our first official game, which was the introduction to a new era. It was the first game of the new Dimitroff/Smith/Ryan era and could it have started any better? The first play from scrimmage was a touchdown strike to Michael Jenkins and the Falcons haven’t looked back since. One down side? We were lollygagging in the concession area too long and missed the TD pass first hand. Yep.

Celebration After Bears Comeback (C.Compton/AJC)

A Team of Fighters – There’s so many games that were wonderful experiences in the Dimitroff/Smith Era, but one that sticks out more than any other and set the tone for what character this team would take on was the game vs. the Chicago Bears in 2008. The Falcons had played a really good game and seemingly gave it away right at the end. The Falcons only had 11 seconds left to get a field goal. Seemingly another hard fought game that would go down as a “what could’ve been” experience. With the Bears fans at an all-time obnoxious pitch, Harry Douglas took a squib kick on a good return and Matt Ryan found Michael Jenkins along the sideline for a fantastic catch that put the Falcons in position to win the game on a Jason Elam kick. The Dome went nuts and the tone was set for Coach Smith led teams being fighters who never give up. That identity has served them and us fans well.

A Special Experience – The Falcons held a “Roam the Dome” even during preseason where ticket holders could go and watch a practice and get up close with the players and check out The Dome in a comfortable, less hectic environment. It was exciting to see Tony Gonzalez in Falcons gear for the first time, but the most special thing about the event was taking my newborn son (4 months old), with my wife, to his first Falcons experience. He had his Falcons onesie on and hopefully we got a new Falcons fan for life.

A Night of Excitement – There were tons of heart-pounding games in 2010, but one of the most exciting ones was the primetime match-up of the Falcons and Ravens on Thursday Night Football. It was a good, clean, and hard-hitting game that saw the Falcons jump out on top early on and slowly let the Ravens back in the game and take the lead with less than two minutes remaining. Matt Ryan led the offense on one of his marquee last minute drives and connected with Roddy White for the game-winning touchdown. The place went absolutely crazy. It was also a very special experience because last was the first season my mother got season tickets as well, adding more family to the long list of Falcons fans.

So the list isn’t extensive or exhaustive, but those are some of my favorite Falcons memories (the list could go on for days, because frankly every time I watch the Birds, it’s an awesome time, even in losses and blowouts). Now it’s your turn. List whatever fond memories you have associated with our Beloved Birds.

Just to clarify once more, these are YOUR FAVORITE Falcons memories, not necessarily the highlights of the entire Falcons franchise history.

Your Turn

  • List any of your favorite memories and experiences associated with our Atlanta Falcons
  • A great time to take a trip down memory lane

150 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

June 13th, 2011
11:07 am

Enter your comments here

[...] Favorite Atlanta Falcons MemoriesAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)One of the most famous and best games in Falcons franchise history, the Birds shocked the world by going up to Minnesota and beating one of the highest scoring offenses in NFL history. With great defense, Jamal Anderson carrying the load, …and more » [...]

RC in the ATL

June 13th, 2011
11:18 am

I have fond memories of attending the last football game ever played at old ATL Fulton County stadium. The Falcons beat down the Seattle Seahawks on that cool and crisp late December afternoon in 1991…the prelude to a great playoff win the next weekend in New Orleans.

RC in the ATL

June 13th, 2011
11:19 am

Actually, if memory serves me correct, the Falcons went to Dallas and got beat the next week. Then, on to the Big Easy for that great comeback playoff win against the Saints.

Time Traveler

June 13th, 2011
11:45 am

The string of three straight Super Bowl wins in 2012-14. That was awesome!

Gene

June 13th, 2011
11:48 am

I recall the Monday night game with the Vikings in the early 70’s when the Falcons kicked four field goals and that exciting game with the Cowboys in probably 1978 when Bartkowski and the Falcons lost a close one.

Tim

June 13th, 2011
11:49 am

Christmas Eve, 1978 Wildcard game against the Eagles…Falcons losing 13-0 at the 2 minute warning…won 14-13…haven’t seen anything like it since.

MaxKare

June 13th, 2011
11:51 am

MNF:The big Monday night win versus Minnesota Viking with General Lee at Q.B.when MNF was still special.
Big Ben I; Bart beats New Orleans on Big Ben play.

chelf

June 13th, 2011
11:51 am

Man. Thought I drank that Ram’s game right out of my memory. But your post has of course reminded me of the ill-fated attempt to check it out at Dugan’s. Sitting on that patio in the rain did not seem appealing (at least I think it was raining. Maybe it was just cold. Killed too many brain cells to remember exactly.

Rikus

June 13th, 2011
11:52 am

How about favorite Matty-Ice memories? My fav was his college comeback against VT in the soaking rain, throwing 3 touchdown passes (one called back due to holding) in four minutes. It was a preview of what was to come in his pro career. Every time he leads the Falcons to come back and win a close one, it brings me back to that moment.

Craig

June 13th, 2011
11:55 am

Bartkowski to White Shoes Hail Mary win against the 49ers.

worm

June 13th, 2011
11:58 am

The strike year..Hoping for another!

blazerdawg

June 13th, 2011
12:02 pm

Beat the Vikes in MN in 1998.

Deion Sanders against the Rams in his debut in 1989. Except for Otis Nixon’s catch that was the loudest I ever heard that stadium and it was not at capacity.

Falcons beat LA Rams in 1980 to win NFC West. Bart long to Francis (?) for the win.

Falcons beat Vikings in first ATL Monday Night game in 75 (?).

StatesBurr

June 13th, 2011
12:03 pm

Dec 1978: We drove up from Ft. Benning and it was a cold , rainy day at Atlanta Fulton Co Stadium. The lights were on because of overcast and foggy weather, very electric atmosphere. The game was back and forth, but my fondest memory in the game was Wallace Francis cathing the pass from Steve Bartkowski and backing into the end zone for the TD… we went crazy. Then it was tense at the end , but the Philly placekicker was wide on the FG and we won. We flooded the field and the fans and players were dancing and yelling. I remember slapping Wilson Faumina on the pads saying Great Job and he was just standing there with his arms up… I cut a piece of the field goal net and kept that momento and the ticket stub with me all throughout my 20 plus years in the military. It was precious to me all those years.

John

June 13th, 2011
12:08 pm

I was so little, but I remember two things:
1) Early 80’s: The Billy White Shoes Johnson catch (I think it was him) when we caught the hail mary against either SF or Rams at the end of the game. The ball bounced off the defender and our receiver caught in on the 5, juked a few players and scored.
2) The return of Herschel Walker to Atlanta- I believe in Sept: 89′ or 90. Atl came back and won 27-21 or 28-20. Herschel’s first game in the state of Georgia since he played for the dogs. . I think he had 24 carries for 84 yards and 2 TD’s. That was also Troy Aikman’s 1st Carreer TD pass, a 75 yd strike to Michael Irvin on 3&10 in the 1st quarter. It was also a game where Deion ran a punt back- may have been one of his first games with the Falcons as well, maybe 2nd season?

There aren’t a whole lot more- I remember all the other teams big games- Like Jerry Rice’s

reggie

June 13th, 2011
12:11 pm

The first game of the year against Pitts, It was exciting we lost, but you could see the team was better, Then the first game against Green bay we won, Who would have known, that would have been the super bowl teams. But I’m proud of what the year turned out to be, We’ll be even better this year. GO Falcons This is going to be our year for Greatness..

Unca' Bob

June 13th, 2011
12:13 pm

D3,

One of my fondest memories was an opportunity to meet Mike Kenn. It was just after our play-off loss to Dallas at AFCS in ‘81.( A game that I was able to attend.) He apologized for the loss and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The man has so much character and a humbleness to him, it was truely a highlite.

reggie

June 13th, 2011
12:16 pm

My other was the 2nd Game against Tampa Bay, the falcons were losing, I took off my Falcon cap and threw it onto the sofa, My Pug started to bark at the hat a lot. Just then the Falcons ran the kick-off back for a touchdown and took the game from the Bucs. I wish I had a camcorder at the time, but he got off into them and they responded. Oh he also had on his official Falcon Jersey #00 Maxx, the Pug. It was so funny. Go Falcons.

Eddie Whitlock

June 13th, 2011
12:24 pm

“Hi, I’m Tommy Nobis. What do I know about frozen beef patties? Just watch!” It was from the 70s and it was the great Tommy Nobis doing a commercial for a product whose name I no longer recall. Playing is important, but product endorsements, well, that’s when you know you have a pro team.

old Gator Dawg

June 13th, 2011
12:27 pm

Not an instant but a drumbeat: 1966, 295 tackles (thin pads and no gatorade), The Bull in the Middle and a magnificent human being. Yeah, you know who even if you weren’t born yet. Tommy Nobis, #60, a good way for a running back to get mugged.

Bazooka Joe

June 13th, 2011
12:27 pm

Favorite memories ? Oh my…. having season tickets since ‘66 (through my dad first, then I took them over years and years ago) I have too many memories to list, but a few that come to mind are:

Eagles playoff game in ‘78 If I am not mistaken the first playoff game ever for the Falcons.

Deons punt returns against the Rams

The Christmas eve game against the Lions (dont remember year – late 80’s/early 90’s at the old staduim – the smallest crowd ever at a Falcons game. It was so cold the bathrooms, fountain machines, et… were all frozen over and most couldnt be used. I think the attendance was something like 5,000 – and I was one of them.

“We love dancing girls” – yep, that was us, we hung that banner for years at the old stadium and dome. Long story but it originated from the time the Falcons had the misguided thought to use college style cheerleaders. We hated them and wanted the real cheerleaders back so we came up with the banner.

The 81 playoff game against the Cowboys. After a 12-4 regular season we lost to the Cowboys in the playoffs which put us in an almost 20 year tailspin before we recovered.

Tailgating at the old stadium – every week we would wait for the guys in an old beat up station wagon with a grill bungied to the roof to come barreling down the road, jump the curb to avoid paying to park, and haul tail to the other side of the stadium to set up their tailgate !

Of course the 98 Super Bowl season. My whole body tingled sitting in the stadium watching the Falcons run out onto the field for the Super Bowl (and I met Rosie Greer at the game too, how cool was that ?). Oh Wait, maybe that was the alcohol…. Too bad ‘ol “Mr. Ed” John Elway beat us in the game though….. (ever notice when Elway smiled he looked like the horse Mr. Ed from the TV show ?)

I have a million more……..

Marcus

June 13th, 2011
12:29 pm

Bartkowski’s high-pitched snap count and the miracle season of ‘80, with Alfred Jenkins, Junior Miller, Buddy Curry and the whole lot. As a elementary school kid, that solidified football for me as my favorite.

Deion high-stepping on punt returns or INTs despite being realllllllllly bad teams.

Scott Case layin’ people out ……. probably taking out frustrations of all the L’s piling up.

UGASlobberknocker

June 13th, 2011
12:34 pm

MaxKare is right ..that Minnesota game is the top highlight for me. He didnt mention that the Vikings were 11-0 coming into the game. The Falcons , after that victory, only had to win 2 of their last 3 games to make the playoffs (for the first time)..but then they screwed around and lost back to back games against the then terrible Bills (with OJ) and the equally awful Cardinals to finish 9-5 and miss out.

UGASlobberknocker

June 13th, 2011
12:36 pm

It was said by more than one person close to the team that the Falcons laid down against the Bills and Cards because they knew if they made the playoffs, Van Brocklin would get an extension ..and they all hated him. as it turned out VB got fired the next year,

UGASlobberknocker

June 13th, 2011
12:37 pm

That Big Ben right victory against SF was pretty good too

UGASlobberknocker

June 13th, 2011
12:38 pm

maybe it was NO on the big ben

Jeff

June 13th, 2011
12:48 pm

Morton Anderson’s kick against the Vikings was the single greatest moment of my life, and I’ve lived a pretty happy, fulfilling life

mark p

June 13th, 2011
12:52 pm

The first offensive play from scrimmage in the New Georgia Dome was Chris Miller to Michael Haynes down the near sideline 80 yards for a touchdown. I saw it live. Place went nuts. Love it !

USMC DAWG

June 13th, 2011
1:09 pm

My two favorite Falcons memories… unfortunately the 1980 playoff game vs. Dallas, and the 1983 game vs. The 49′ers (Bartkowski to White Shoes) Big Ben left at the horn to win the game.

MightyQuinn

June 13th, 2011
1:11 pm

I was eight when the Falcons were born, my family had a connection in the Falcons front office and we got tickets fairly often, and I got to go into the locker room after a game and collect autographs, most notably Mr. Falcon himself, Tommy Nobis. But my favorite moment occurred in 1978 when the Birds made the playoffs for the first time. A buddy of mine scored four tickets from his father, and me and my three closest friends went to the game, which of course, the Falcons won in the last two minutes against the Eagles. One of my three friends passed away a couple of years ago, and I regret that the four of us never got together to go to a game again. Bittersweet memory.

Mitch (the one in Rome)

June 13th, 2011
1:14 pm

1998 last game of the season against the Dolphins. Miller to OJ Santiago and he goes all the way. Saw that live. Those tix were a birthday present from my fiance (now wife of almost 12 years). Then the Ravens / Falcons this past year. The electric atmosphere from pre-game to post-game in the dome, the win, the great football played. Those are two of my favorite memories.

Tim Dwight

June 13th, 2011
1:18 pm

TIM DWIGHT PUNT RETURN SUPER BOWL I WAS THERE GREATEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE.

three jack

June 13th, 2011
1:26 pm

when the scabs led by eric kramer took over for the striking players in 1984…never forget the on camera argument i had standing toe-to-toe with bill fralic outside afcs before the 1st scab game.

Ronald Millsaps

June 13th, 2011
1:40 pm

Yes, the Minnesota game stands out…. of course, probably the most-thrilling game in NFL history (with the Rams-Titans game the year after being number two). The ‘98 team was loaded, and I wish people would recognize this fact instead of lauding Jamal Anderson in lopsided fashion. Yeah, he was outstanding that year, but so were a lot of other people; they just didn’t dance every time they did something productive.

Others that come to mind for me, personally (you’ll be surprised): Going 4-0 in the 1990 postseason. I was a relatively-new football fan and had pulled for the Falcons always even though I didn’t watch football that closely. Now they had shown signs of having a team in 1989 and had Jerry Glanville and all the hoopla that came with him. They actually were 5-0 when you include their scrimmage win against the Eagles, where, yes a fight broke out– hardly surprising when you consider that Glanville and Buddy Ryan were involved. (The ‘90 season would go on to be a disappointment but was pretty exciting, at least through the Philadelphia offense. Lost in the shuffle of that 5-11 record was the fact that that offense was one of the highest-octane offenses in history.)

The 1993 season: I had HIGH hopes for the team heading into that year. One player on Chicago, Stan Thomas, told the Bears that he didn’t want to play for them and instead wanted badly to play for Atlanta– a rare comment, so he knew the team had success brewing. Atlanta signed Pierce Holt and Jumpy Geathers prior to the season and had drafted Chuck Smith the year before, so the defense was improved. Had Glanville focused on being a great coach instead of focusing on all this Elvis nonsense, they would’ve been better. As it was, they started 0-5, with three of those games being thrilling, and they almost came back and made the playoffs. Winning in San Diego drew little attention from the media but was a huge win for the franchise, which snapped their dreaded road losing streak. The team played homogenously and extremely decisively after starting 0-5—- until extremely-disappointingly losing the final three (winnable) games of the year, even after coming back and beating San Francisco, 27-24, after trailing, 24-7, after three. From Week 1 through this particular game, the season was more exciting from an enjoyment standpoint than the ‘98 team was.

2002– Michael Vick and the Falcons played a great opener in Green Bay but unfortunately seemed to buy into the “socialized” myth that you have to defer to certain people before you can beat them. Atlanta should’ve won the game. As it was, it was extremely exciting. Dan Reeves vindictively had run Anderson out of town, but T.J. Duckett was extremely exciting and unique, indeed a different type of player. He and Warrick Dunn gave a great 1-2 punch in the backfield. The defense was underrated also; Tampa and Philadelphia were better in this regard, but not by much, especially not Philadelphia. Atlanta was the third-best team in the league, behind those two.

2008– After running Reeves out of town for no valid ultimate reason and after seeing the adolescent Mora and the two-faced Petrino, who would be the worst coach in Atlanta sports history if not for Lenny Wilkens), Atlanta signed Mike Smith and Matt Ryan and acquired Michael Turner. No Elvis impersonators, no gimmicks… just good, solid, smart, “x”s-and-”o”s football.

I’ll stop for now.

ChillyMutt

June 13th, 2011
1:57 pm

Big Ben Right

thrash

June 13th, 2011
1:59 pm

the last lockout

Chucktown38

June 13th, 2011
1:59 pm

Really is one moment really better than another. I love every moment, well maybe the falcons lead by #10 to come back from 4 scores to win against the 1980 49ers. Maybe watching the falcons playing in the snow against da fish can’t think of the year.

Saints Fan with Falcons Memories

June 13th, 2011
2:01 pm

My favorite Falcons moment was the homemade “Free Mike Vick” t-shirts the players revealed on national television by pulling up their jerseys.

As a Saints fan and Falcons hater, the sheer tackiness and stupidity of that moment made me smile.

Geaux, Saints, Geaux!

Chucktown38

June 13th, 2011
2:01 pm

I really miss the old uniformes

gcs

June 13th, 2011
2:03 pm

1978 “Big Ben” vs. New Orleans Saints: Steve Bartkowski tipped by Wallace Francis to Alfred Jackson = TD, W!
1979 overtime vs. New Orleans Saints: Saints snap the ball over punter’s head. He recovers and attempts a pass that is intercepted by Atlanta = TD, W!
1991 Jerry Glanville California Champs trophy after beating the Chargers, the Raiders and twice each over the Rams and the 49ers.
2002 vs. Minnesota Vikings: Vick run makes two defenders collide.
2002-03 Upset at Lambeau: Falcons beat the Packers in the snow on their home field. First home playoff loss for Green Bay ever.
2008 Upset at Lambeau, Part 2: Matt Ryan’s coming out party.

.

stodeman

June 13th, 2011
2:13 pm

We’ll be forever indebted to the Falcons for giving up on Brett Favre. The Packers had had their day in the sun in the late 50’s, and 60’s and had fallen on hard times. With the Falcons giving up on this kid, he brought a world of fun, and enthusiism back to Green Bay. With Arthur Blank, you too will have your day in the sun, probably sooner than later. Best of Luck and again, thanks for letting Brett go years ago.

welcome

June 13th, 2011
2:20 pm

sto, maybe anthony weiner could play for gb, too.

welcome

June 13th, 2011
2:25 pm

remember the time that guy wasted his life in hiram blogging about the falcons?

megan

June 13th, 2011
2:26 pm

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ATL Fan

June 13th, 2011
2:26 pm

1978 MNF Atlanta (4-4) against the NFC West leaading LA Rams (7-1). Bartender Tim Mazzetti kicked 5 field goals for the 15 – 7 victory on a rare Monday Night Football appearance.

megan

June 13th, 2011
2:28 pm

My favorite Falcons moment was Eugene Robinson soliciting a cop disguised as a prostitute the night before the Falcons’ first ever Super Bowl!!!! That is the ongoing story of this franchise!!!!!!!

james

June 13th, 2011
2:31 pm

@Mitch (the one in Rome). I remember the last game of the 1998 season against the Dolphins, as well. A truly dominating performance for the Birds. But it was Steve DeBerg who quarterbacked them and he had a terrific day!

I would have to say my favorite moment was “the catch” by Roddy White against Baltimore last year.

Bill

June 13th, 2011
2:39 pm

The best Atlanta team was 1971 . They had 7 wins that year making them the best team to ever come out of the state of Atlanta . However The Braves was better in the late 1970s . But the falcons have done something the braves have never done …made it all the way to the dome … They may win a champion belt some day but I do not see it any day soon . The best or strongest team the falcons ever had was 1971 .

Larry

June 13th, 2011
2:46 pm

Morton Anderson’s kick in overtime to put the Dirty Birds in the 1999 Super Bowl.

Anything else is a distant second!

Alex Hawkins

June 13th, 2011
2:46 pm

Big Ben I and II

Sitting in Fulton Co Stadium on a Monday night way back in 1978 when Tim Mazzetti kicked 5 FGs to beat the Rams 15-7

Tailgating at the old stadium

Morten Andersen’s kick to beat the Vikings and send Atlanta to the Super Bowl (I remember screaming at the TV “Oh my God we’re going to the f*&kin’ Super Bowl!”)