Like every team, the Falcons have had a lot of good to great players make major contributions over the years. But some have stood out more than others. These four players played a major role in making the Falcons who they are today:
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The Falcons had a rough first two decades or so of existence, with only a few playoff appearances sprinkled between numerous sub-.500 seasons. But things changed for the better at the 1989 NFL Draft. Thanks to three other future Hall of Famers getting picked ahead of him, the Falcons took a shutdown cover cornerback with swagger named Deion Sanders.
While the team only finished above .500 once during his time with the team, he changed the way the team saw themselves. They weren’t afraid to challenge anyone. It helped that they had a cornerback who took away half the field and could take any kick to the house.
Michael Vick was not your prototypical franchise quarterback, but it was difficult to pass up on such an electric player with the first overall pick. And he didn’t disappoint (well, until later…).
No one could match Vick’s athleticism as he threw for 11,505 yards through the air and 3,859 on the ground. While his career in Atlanta was derailed by extremely poor choices, his presence made the Falcons the talk of the NFL for years.
I hated the idea of trading five draft picks to move up twenty one spots just to end up taking a receiver. Well, I was wrong. If you can find a true number one, and there aren’t many of them, you get one.
As the Super Bowl was slipping away, Julio almost single-handedly won it back with a catch that just…Wow! For a brief period in his career, he was the Falcons’ offense. He will never be forgotten in Falcons’ lore.
This one was a tough choice. We were going to give it to former safety Eugene Robinson, but he had to return it as he is still suffering from severe burning.
While Jessie Tuggle, Morten Andersen (he is number two on the franchise’s all-time scoring list), and Andre “Bad Moon” Rison all made a case for this spot, I have to go with the franchise quarterback. Always go with the franchise quarterback.
The longest sustained success by any Falcons’ quarterback has been by Ryan. The reigning NFL Offensive MVP, Ice Man is the team’s career leader in wins, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. And he’s still young for a quarterback. He’s only gonna pull away in the stat categories.
Well, there you have it. How did I do? Who would you have in your Falcons “Mount Rushmore?”