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Sports Then and Now



Remembering Football’s Forgotten Stars: Atlanta Falcons 18

Posted on August 21, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Every team in the NFL has its own collection of heroes. Players who played key roles in helping that franchise reach their greatest heights. Some of these players have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and are forever immortalized. However, many players who endeared themselves to the home fans, but were not quite Hall of Fame worthy, have been forgotten as time passes and new players take their place.

This fall we are going team-by-team across the NFL featuring some of the “Forgotten Stars” whose greatness was valuable to their team, but who have been largely forgotten over time. We are not simply highlighting the best players from a franchise who are not in the Hall of Fame, but instead featuring some of the players who were important contributors and helped define the team during their era.

Some of these players probably should be in the Hall of Fame and were well known stars, while others were simply solid players and are remembered primarily only by true fans.

This week we look at the Atlanta Falcons, a franchise that despite having some great players during their 45 years in the NFL, just celebrated the first Falcon with at least five years of service with the team to enter the Hall of Fame with the recent induction of Deion Sanders.

Many of the players we are featuring probably would already be in the Hall of Fame had they played in New York, Dallas or for some other consistently successful team. Instead, they toiled in obscurity in Atlanta for a franchise that took more than 40 years to register their first back-to-back winning seasons.

William Andrews – Had it not been for an injury suffered during the 1984 preseason, it is very likely that William Andrews would have a bust in Canton and be on the short list of NFL all-time great running backs. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

      Read more »

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