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Sports Then and Now



NFL Classic Rewind: Falcons Get Not One, But Two Last-Seconds Wins over Saints 13

Posted on November 11, 2011 by A.J. Foss

In 1978, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints were unlikely contenders for a playoff spot in the NFC as both teams had never made the playoffs in their collective 23 seasons between the two teams.

The two divisional rivals meet twice over a span of 14 days in November 1978 in a pair of last-second finishes that determined both teams’ fates for the 1978 season.

The Falcons entered the first game with the Saints on a four-game winning streak to up their record to 6-4 to put themselves in the hunt for their first playoff berth in franchise history.

Atlanta was led by head coach Leeman Bennett, who was in his second season as the Falcons head coach, and featured a defense that called “The Grits Blitz” which had allowed a NFL-record 129 points in 14 games in Bennett’s first season, only to have the team finish 7-7 because of an offense that only scored 179 points.

While their stats were not that much better in the 1978 season, the Falcons offense with quarterback Steve Bartkowski at the helm was doing enough for the Falcons to win games. Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Sid Luckman: Chicago Bears Legend
      September 28, 2019 | 7:09 pm
      Sid Luckman

      After years of struggling to find a consistent quarterback, the Chicago Bears now hope third-year player Mitchell Trubisky will be their quarterback for years to come. As the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month we are recognizing the best quarterback in Chicago Bears history.

      Chosen out of Columbia–where he played tailback–with the second pick in the 1939 NFL Draft, Sid Luckman spent 12 seasons as the quarterback for the Bears and led them to five NFL Championship Game appearances and four titles.

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