It was in 1965 that the Atlanta Falcons joined the National Football League as an expansion team. To date, in the team’s 55 years of existence, the Atlanta Falcons have compiled an all-time win-loss record of 379-487-6.
Here are five facts about the 2-time NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, who currently play in the NFC South division.
5 Atlanta Falcons Facts
- The Falcons most lopsided win in franchise history came in 1973. (source) The opening game for the Falcons season in 1973 turned out to be (and still is today) the franchise’s largest margin of victory in a single game ever. Atlanta opened the season on the road in New Orleans to take on the Saints, and would defeat their division rival by a score of 62-7. In the game, Falcons Quarterback Dick Shiner went 13/15 for 227 yards and three touchdown passes, and Atlanta went on to finish that season with a record of 9-5, missing the playoffs.
- In 1965, the franchise held a contest to help name for the team for their first season in 1966. (source) Atlanta’s NFL franchise was established in 1965, and a contest was held to determine what the team’s actual name would be. There were more than enough suggestions that came rolling in, with some names including the Knights, Goobers, Fireballs, Bombers and Rebels. However, many fans suggested the name ‘Falcons,’ and it was a teacher named Julia Elliott who had the winning entry. About the name, her essay said “the falcon is proud and dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey. It’s deadly and has a great sporting tradition.”
- The first Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons led to the franchise to a very abysmal record. (source) Green Bay Packers assistant Norb Hecker was the very first Head Coach for the Atlanta Falcons, and was hired for the position in January of 1966. Over the course of his three seasons in Atlanta, Hecker led the Falcons to a combined record of 4-26-1, and was fired after an 0-3 start in his final season with the team (1968). Following his time in Atlanta, Hecker would continue coaching in football until 1986, spending time with the New York Giants, the San Francisco 49ers and at the college level with Stanford.
- The Falcons are 0-2 in the Super Bowl. (source) It took the Atlanta Falcons more than 30 years a franchise in the National Football League to reach their very first Super Bowl. Their first appearance in the big game came on January 31, 1999 in Super Bowl XXXIII. The Falcons fell to the Denver Broncos on that day by a score of 34-19, and wouldn’t return back to the NFL’s Championship Game until Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Atlanta blew a 28-3 lead in the second half, losing to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in overtime (34-28).
- Despite being established in the NFL in 1965, the Atlanta Falcons have only won six division titles. (source) Historically, the Atlanta Falcons have not traditionally been one of the top franchises in the National Football League. In fact, the franchise has only won six division titles in nearly 50 years, with two division titles from the the NFC West (1980, 1998) and four from the NFC South (2004, 2010, 2012 and 2016). However, the franchise has appeared in the playoffs on 14 different occasions.
Falcons fans and football fans alike, do you have any fun facts to share about Atlanta’s NFL franchise?