1966 Atlanta Falcons season

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1966 Atlanta Falcons season
Head coach Norb Hecker
Owner Rankin M. Smith Sr.
Home field Atlanta Stadium
Local radio WSB
Results
Record 3–11
Conference place 7th NFL Eastern
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers LB Tommy Nobis

The 1966 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's inaugural season in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons finished in seventh place in the NFL Eastern Conference with a record of 3–11, ahead of only the New York Giants.

Offseason[edit]

The Falcons attempted to acquire Green Bay Packers running back Jim Taylor. There were tensions in Green Bay because the Packers first round pick, Jim Grabowski would be groomed to take over for Taylor,[1] the signing of Grabowski upset Taylor but he stated he would leave Green Bay once his contract expired, therefore the Falcons could not acquire the running back.

NFL Draft[edit]

Due to the addition of the team for the 1966 NFL Season, the Falcons were allotted the first pick in all twenty rounds of the 1966 NFL draft, as well as five compensatory picks and the end of the first five rounds.

Round Pick Player Position School
1 1 Tommy Nobis Linebacker Texas
1 16 Randy Johnson Quarterback Texas A&I
2 17 Nick Rassas Defensive Back Notre Dame
2 32 Jerry Jones Tackle Bowling Green
3 33 Mike Dennis Running Back Mississippi
3 48 Phil Sheridan Wide Receiver Notre Dame
4 49 Ken Reaves Defensive Back Virginia State
4 64 Willie Asbury Running Back Kent State
5 65 Bill Wolski Running Back Notre Dame
5 80 Martin Kahn Tackle North Texas State
6 81 Charley Casey Wide Receiver Florida
7 96 William Johnson Running Back University of the South
8 111 Bill Goss Linebacker Tulane
9 126 Bob Sanders Center North Texas State
10 141 Mike Bender Guard Arkansas
11 156 Steve Sloan Quarterback Alabama
12 171 Ken Hollister Tackle Indiana
13 186 Bob Collins Tackle South Carolina
14 201 Steve Ecker Kicker Shippensburg
15 216 Tom Tolleson Wide Receiver Alabama
16 231 Jim Vining Guard Rice
17 246 Lurley Archambeau Center Toledo
18 261 Doug Korver Center Southern Iowa
19 276 Walt Mainer Defensive Back Xavier
20 291 Bob Riggle Defensive Back Penn State

Personnel[edit]

Staff[edit]

1966 Atlanta Falcons staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches




Roster[edit]

1966 Atlanta Falcons final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists



Practice squad



Rookies in italics
Active, Inactive, Practice squad

Regular season[edit]

The Falcons played their first game (preseason) on August 1, 1966, against the Philadelphia Eagles before a crowd of 26,072 at Atlanta Stadium, a two-point Falcons loss, 9–7;[2][3] in their inaugural regular season, Atlanta played each of the fourteen other teams in the league once. The Falcons lost their first nine regular season games; their first win was on the road against the New York Giants, 27–16, on November 20.[4][5] Former Giant Ernie Wheelwright scored two touchdowns receiving and ran for 51 more yards as QB Randy Johnson hit for a trio of TD's.

Their first ever home victory was over the St. Louis Cardinals, 16–10, before 57,169 on December 11.[6] The Falcons ended their inaugural season at 3–11, yet Tommy Nobis won the NFL Rookie of the Year Award and became the first Falcon named to the Pro Bowl.

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Attendance
1 September 11 Los Angeles Rams L 19–14 0–1
54,418
2 September 18 at Philadelphia Eagles L 23–10 0–2
54,049
3 September 25 at Detroit Lions L 28–10 0–3
47,615
4 October 2 Dallas Cowboys L 47–14 0–4
56,990
5 October 9 at Washington Redskins L 33–20 0–5
50,116
6 October 16 San Francisco 49ers L 44–7 0–6
54,788
7 October 23 at Green Bay Packers L 56–3 0–7
48,623
8 October 30 Cleveland Browns L 49–17 0–8
57,235
9 November 6 Bye
10 November 13 Baltimore Colts L 19–7 0–9
58,850
11 November 20 at New York Giants W 27–16 1–9
62,746
12 November 27 at Chicago Bears L 23–6 1–10
44,777
13 December 4 at Minnesota Vikings W 20–13 2–10
37,117
14 December 11 St. Louis Cardinals W 16–10 3–10
57,169
15 December 18 Pittsburgh Steelers L 57–33 3–11
56,229
  • A bye week was necessary in 1966, as the league expanded to an odd-number (15) of teams; one team was idle each week.

Standings[edit]

NFL Eastern Conference
W L T PCT CONF PF PA STK
Dallas Cowboys 10 3 1 .769 9–3–1 445 239 W1
Philadelphia Eagles 9 5 0 .643 8–5 326 340 W4
Cleveland Browns 9 5 0 .643 9–4 403 259 W1
St. Louis Cardinals 8 5 1 .615 7–5–1 264 265 L3
Washington Redskins 7 7 0 .500 7–6 351 355 L1
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 8 1 .385 4–8–1 316 347 W2
Atlanta Falcons 3 11 0 .214 2–5 204 437 L1
New York Giants 1 12 1 .077 1–11–1 263 501 L8

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Awards and records[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss,p. 385, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-84418-3
  2. ^ "Fledgling Falcons lose, but scare Philadelphia". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. UPI. August 2, 1966. p. 7. 
  3. ^ "Falcons drop close game; grid squabbles continue". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. August 2, 1966. p. 13. 
  4. ^ "Falcons finally make it - cut down Giants for first victory". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. Associated Press. November 21, 1966. p. 8. 
  5. ^ "Major Events in Falcons History" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine., NFL
  6. ^ "Atlanta 'stacks 'Cards' against St. Louis, 16-10". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. Associated Press. December 12, 1966. p. 8. 
  7. ^ http://football.about.com/od/nflhistory/l/bl_awardsrookie.htm

External links[edit]