Gregg Williams is an American football coach, the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets of the National Football League. He was head coach of the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League, defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints with whom he won Super Bowl XLIV, the Cleveland Browns, acting as an interim head coach in the 2018 season. Williams is known for running aggressive, attacking 4–3 schemes that put heavy pressure on opposing quarterbacks and for his key role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. In March 2012, Williams was suspended from the NFL as a result of his admitted involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, under which bounties were paid for causing injuries that would take targeted players on opposing teams out of games. Williams' suspension was lifted a year and he returned to the NFL. Gregg Williams was a head coach for the Class 5 Belton High School Pirate football team in Belton, Missouri, he attended Northeast Missouri State University in Missouri.
Williams was an assistant coach for the University of Houston under former Redskins head coach, Jack Pardee. In 1990, Williams became the Special Teams coach of the Houston Oilers under defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan. From 1994–1996, Williams was the linebackers coach for the Oilers. From 1997–2000, Williams was promoted to defensive coordinator of the now Tennessee Titans after the Oilers moved out of Houston; as the defensive coordinator, the Titans led the league in total defense and only gave up 191 points, the third fewest in the NFL since the league adopted the 16-game schedule in 1978. The defense helped lead the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV where they lost to the St. Louis Rams. Williams joined the Buffalo Bills as head coach in 2001 along with new team President and general manager Tom Donahoe. After three seasons in which the team compiled records of 3–13, 8–8, 6–10 under his leadership, Williams' contract was not renewed after the 2003 season. After his release from Buffalo, Williams was at the top of several NFL teams' list for the position of defensive coordinator.
Williams signed with the Washington Redskins, the only team with which he interviewed, because Head Coach Joe Gibbs offered him total autonomy over his defensive players and defensive coaching staff. In Washington, with Williams' aggressive defensive scheme, the Redskins' defense ranked third in the NFL in 2004 and ninth in 2005. On January 3, 2006, Williams signed a three-year extension to remain with the Redskins, which made him the highest paid assistant coach in the NFL, his defense struggled at one point ranked 30th in the League. However, the 2007 season was a vast improvement for Williams; the defense ranked within the top ten in the NFC, the team finished 9–7, with a loss in the wildcard round to the Seattle Seahawks. Williams had established a close relationship with 24-year-old free safety Sean Taylor, calling him "the best player coached." When Taylor was murdered mid-season on November 27, 2007, Williams was affected. In tribute to Taylor, Williams called a defensive play with only ten men for the first play of the Redskins' first game after the tragedy, a November 30, 2007 game against the Buffalo Bills.
For the remainder of the season, Williams ran an inspired defense which performed, along with the rest of the team, to honor Taylor's memory, highlighted by holding star running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings to 27 yards on December 23, 2007, allowing a franchise-low one yard rushing to the Dallas Cowboys on December 30, 2007, sealing a playoff seed. After Joe Gibbs retired, Williams was considered to be the most popular candidate to take over as Head Coach of the Washington Redskins, he interviewed four times with team owner Daniel Snyder. However, on January 26, 2008, Williams was fired, along with offensive coordinator Al Saunders, with Jim Zorn getting the job. On February 6, 2008, Williams became the defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars; the position was vacated by Mike Smith, hired to coach the Atlanta Falcons. Williams was hired by the New Orleans Saints on January 15, 2009. Head coach Sean Payton, involved in the effort to recruit Williams to the team, raved about Williams "because he was so impressive and prepared" in his interview.
In fact, Williams was so impressive that Payton offered and took a voluntary $250,000 cut in salary to help facilitate his signing with the team. He took over a Saints defense ranked 23rd in the NFL in yards allowed and tied for 26th in points allowed in 2008. Williams' approach yielded immediate results, as the 2009 Saints recorded 35 defensive takeaways, second in the league, the aggressive defense played an integral role in the Saints' run to their first Super Bowl championship. However, in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, the defense failed to repeat its turnover successes; the Saints were knocked out of the 2011 playoffs in a 36–32 loss to San Francisco, in which the defense played well for most of the game but twice failed to hold a Saints lead during the last four minutes. At that time, the relationship between Williams and Payton deteriorated, with Payton regarding Williams as a "rogue coach". Williams' departure from the Saints was publicized not as a dismissal since his contract was expiring, however Loomis and Payton fired Williams telling him "There's no place for this in this organization or this league" after the NFL informed the Saints that it had reopened its investigation in the illegal bounty fund.
It was reported that Williams would leave the Saints to become defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, under their new head coach Jeff
Robert Patrick Petrino is an American football coach and former player. He most served as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals football team from 2014 until being fired during the 2018 season. From 2008 to 2011, Petrino was the head football coach at the University of Arkansas, he was dismissed from that position in the spring of 2012 "with cause". Petrino coached the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League for the first 13 games of the 2007 season, he spent the 2013 season as head football coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Petrino has directed his college teams to nine bowl games, including the first Bowl Championship Series bowl games for both the Louisville Cardinals and the Arkansas Razorbacks in their program's histories, his teams have achieved four 10-win seasons along with six AP top-25 finishes. Born in Lewistown, Robert Patrick Petrino grew up in Helena and graduated from Capital High in 1979, he attended hometown Carroll College and graduated with a physical education and a math minor in 1983.
While at Carroll, he played quarterback for the Fighting Saints and began his coaching career there as a graduate assistant during the 1983 season. Petrino grew up in the coaching profession, his father, Bob Petrino Sr. coached at Carroll College in Helena, Montana for 26 seasons, earning 163 victories and 15 conference titles. Before Bobby Petrino coached with his father, he played football for him at Carroll. Petrino twice earned NAIA All-American honors, he led the Fighting Saints to three straight Frontier Conference Championships and was named the league's most valuable player in 1981 and 1982. He played four years of basketball at Carroll. Bobby Petrino started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for his father at Carroll College in 1983. After a graduate assistant stint as quarterbacks coach at Weber State in 1984, Petrino returned to be the offensive coordinator for his father in 1985-1986. Carroll had the top-ranked offense in the NAIA ranks in both of his seasons, thanks in large part to the play of Bobby Petrino's younger brother, a four-year starter as quarterback at Carroll College.
After a year at Carroll, he moved to Weber State College in the Big Sky Conference, coaching quarterbacks as a graduate assistant under head coach Mike Price. Petrino returned to his alma mater in 1985 as offensive coordinator. In each of his two seasons in that position, Carroll had the top-rated offense in NAIA football, he returned to Weber State for two seasons in 1987 and 1988 as the receivers coach under Price. Petrino spent a year as quarterbacks coach at the University of Idaho in 1989 under new head coach John L. Smith was promoted to offensive coordinator. In 1992, he took a step up the collegiate coaching ladder to Division I-A when he became quarterbacks coach at Arizona State University in the Pac-10 Conference. During his two seasons at ASU under head coach Bruce Snyder, he oversaw the development of future All-American QB Jake Plummer, who went on to play ten seasons in the NFL. In 1994, he moved to the University of Nevada, serving as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Chris Ault.
During his one season there, the Wolf Pack were second in the nation in both passing offense and total offense, third in scoring offense. The next year, he began a three-year stint as offensive coordinator at Utah State University, reuniting with Smith; when Smith moved to Louisville in 1998, Petrino followed him there as offensive coordinator. In his one season there, the Cardinals were top-ranked in Division I-A in scoring and total offense and posted the biggest positive turnaround among I-A football teams, winning six more games than in the 1997 season. Petrino left the collegiate ranks to coach in the NFL for three years. Petrino's first stint in the NFL was from the 1999 season to the 2001 season, as he spent two seasons as the quarterbacks coach and a third as offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2002, Petrino returned to the college ranks, replacing Noel Mazzone as offensive coordinator under Tommy Tuberville at Auburn, whose offense improved that season under Petrino's watch.
Petrino returned to Louisville in 2003 as head coach, replacing John L. Smith, who departed for Michigan State. After only one season at Louisville, Petrino secretly interviewed for the coaching job at Auburn, as the Tigers were considering whether to retain his former boss, Tuberville. In four years at Louisville, Petrino built the Cardinals into a national power, he led them to 11 wins in 2004 and 12 wins in 2006—only the second and third times that the Cardinals won as many as 11 games in a season. On July 13, 2006, Petrino signed a 10-year, $25.6 million contract to stay on as head football coach. The deal gave Petrino a raise from $1 million to $1.6 million annually, he would have been paid $2.6 million in the final year of the deal. The contract included a buyout clause of $1 million. On January 7, 2007, it was announced Petrino had accepted the head coaching position for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons; the Falcons brought Petrino to Atlanta by signing him to a five-year, $24 million contract.
A major reason Petrino was brought in was to develop star quarterback Michael Vick into a more "complete" quarterback, Vick being known more for his ability to run than as a pocket passer. However, before Petrino's first training camp, it emerged that Vick had bankrolled an illegal dog fighting operation near his hometown in Newport News, Virginia; the terms of Vick's bail barred him from leaving Virginia before the November 26 trial, ending any realistic chance of him playing a meaningful down in 2007. Petrino entered the season with back-ups Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, Chris Redman as his quarterbacks
Louisville Cardinals football
The Louisville Cardinals football team represents the University of Louisville in the sport of American football. The Cardinals compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference; the University of Louisville began playing football in 1912 where the Cardinals went 3–1. Louisville had played several years at club level and teams were composed with medical students. Beginning in 1914 the Cardinals joined the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and they would participate in Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Due to financial difficulty Louisville did not participate in the 1917–1921 seasons; when the Cardinals did rejoin football they came back into the SIAA, going through reorganization losing most major state schools and thus became a small college conference. The Cardinals would face Kentucky state schools such as Eastern Kentucky, Murray State, Western Kentucky, Morehead State, along with private state schools like Centre, Kentucky Wesleyan, Georgetown College.
Tom King was the first coach to attempt to build a program at Louisville. King played college football at Notre Dame under Knute Rockne. King was known for his athleticism and speed. Before he came to the football team for punt returns he was on the track team and basketball team, where he was named captain in 1916, his experience at Notre Dame gave him ideas on developing a spread wing offense so his undersized players could be better utilized. He recruited players like him, that had the ability to outrun their opponent, his first standout was Fred Koster. Koster drew national attention to Louisville in 1926 by racking up 68 points in his first 2 games of the season. In six games, Koster scored 18 touchdowns, 10 extra points, 2 field goals and went on to finish second in scoring in college football with 124 points. Koster was an all-around athlete and was a letterman 16 times, 4 times in each baseball, basketball and track. Koster was a standout forward for the basketball team, leading the team in scoring two years.
In baseball, Koster played professionally for 10 years for the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the minor league teams Louisville Colonels and St. Paul Saints in the American Association. Tom King had the program going in the right direction until he decided to play Detroit for $10,000. Rockne, head coach at Notre Dame, a fellow graduate called King and asked if he would take the Detroit game because Rockne felt his team was not up to it; when King asked what was in it for Louisville Rockne replied $10,000, a substantial sum of money in 1928 for an athletics department. Louisville started the season with a 72–0 win over Eastern Kentucky but when they traveled to Detroit they were hammered with injuries and did not win another game or score for the rest of the season, as Detroit went undefeated and claimed a share of the national title. King served as head football coach for two more years but he served as track, baseball and athletic director during his tenure at Louisville. Louisville athletics took a step back when Dr. Raymond Kent was announced as the new president of Louisville.
Dr. Kemt began reducing the budget in the altheics department,making it difficult for teams to travel and outfit themseleves. King on the advice of his friend Rockne moved on and in 1933 became assistant coach at Michigan State. Louisville Athletics took a step back across all sports and in football posted one winning season until World War II. With the onset of World War II, like many college athletic programs around the country, was put on suspension until 1946. During that time Louisville played within KIAC and posted a 73–118–8 record with a.378 winning percentage. Frank Camp revived the Cardinal Program in 1946. Camp was collegiate player at Transylvania University in both football and basketball went on to accumulate a 102–35–04 record as a high school coach before he was tabbed for the head job at Louisville. Camp was responsible for moving away from the traditional KIAC competition and moving towards a more competitive schedule including match ups against some powerhouse traditional teams.
Camp would see success early after going 7–0–1 in his second year and was accredited for being able to gel current players with the new recruits return from war. Camp, like King, would see another President pull resources and scholarships in the early 1950s would see both Knop, who at the time was being recruited by Bear Bryant of Kentucky, Johnny Unitas, being recruited by Indiana, elect to stay at Louisville and play for Camp. Louisville did see a lot of talent leave and they went into a slump from 1950 to 1954. Camp would only suffer 2 losing seasons for the rest of his career; the loss of the scholarships saw a loss talent on the team. So when scholarships were again available Camp would start to recruit black players and start integration in the sports program in at Louisville. Camp's legacy is tied to three players he brought to Louisville Johnny Unitas, Lenny Lyles, Otto Knop; the most enduring legacy Camp left behind was pioneering integration in the southern athletics. Camp's first African-American player was Lawrence "Bumpy" Simmons, a local product from Central High School.
He only left the team on good terms. Camp would bring in Andy Walker, George Cain and Lenny Lyles in 1954 and they would become the first scholarship players at Louisville. Once the university was integrated in 1951, Camp and his assistant coach, sought out potential recruits. Coach Wood would be
California State University, Fresno
California State University, Fresno is a public university in Fresno, California. It is one of 23 campuses within the California State University system; the university had a Fall 2016 enrollment of 24,405 students. It offers bachelor's degrees in 60 areas of study, 45 master's degrees, 3 doctoral degrees, 12 certificates of advanced study, 2 different teaching credentials; the university's unique facilities include an on-campus planetarium, on-campus raisin and wine grape vineyards, a commercial winery, where student-made wines have won over 300 awards since 1997. Members of Fresno State's nationally ranked Top 10 Equestrian Team have the option of housing their horses on campus, next to indoor and outdoor arenas. Fresno State has a 50,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center and the third-largest library, in terms of square footage, in the California State University system; the university is classified as a doctoral university with moderate research activity in the Carnegie Classification, as of the February 1, 2016 update.
Fresno State was founded as the Fresno State Normal School in 1911 with Charles Lourie McLane as its first president. The original campus was. In 1956, Fresno State moved its campus to its present location in the northeast part of the city and FCC bought the old campus and moved back in, it became Fresno State College in 1949. It became a charter institution of the California State University System in 1961. In 1972 the name was changed to California State University, Fresno; the greater campus extends from Bulldog Stadium on the west boundary to Highway 168 on the east side. The University Agricultural Laboratory designates the northern boundary of the campus, while Shaw Avenue designates the southern edge; the 388 acres main campus features more than 46 modern buildings. An additional 34 structures are on the 1,011 acre University Agricultural Laboratory, used for agronomic and horticulture crops, swine, dairy and sheep units as well as several hundred acres of cattle rangeland. Fresno State was designated as an arboretum in 1979 and now has more than 3200 trees on campus.
Fresno State operates the first university-based commercial winery in the United States. The Henry Madden Library is a main resource for recorded knowledge and information supporting the teaching and service functions of Fresno State; because of its size and depth, it is an important community and regional resource and a key part of the institution's role as a regional university. The library underwent a $105 million renovation, completed in February 2009; the library held its grand opening on February 19, 2009 and is now home to a variety of book collections. The library houses 1,000,000 books in its 327,920 sq ft; the library is home to the largest installation of compact shelving on any single floor in the United States. The shelves amount to over 20 miles in length, it is the third largest library in the CSU system, among the top ten largest in the CSU system based on the number of volumes. It is the largest academic building on the Fresno State campus; the five-story building features seating areas for 4,000 people, group study rooms, wireless access and a Starbucks.
Public computers are available. Student and staff have access to over 200 wireless laptops, a media production lab for editing digital video and audio, an instruction and collaboration center for teaching information literacy skills. Reference assistance can be accessed by telephone, e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging, in-person in the Library; the Henry Madden Library features a number of special collections such as the Arne Nixon Center, a research center for the study of children's and young adult literature, the Central Valley Political Archive. Michael Gorman, the former dean of the Library, was the President of the American Library Association in 2005–2006; as of 2017, Delritta Hornbuckle is the Library's Dean. Fresno State was the first of all 23 CSU campuses to offer an individual-campus doctorate. At the graduate level, Fresno State offers the following nationally ranked programs: part-time MBA, Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Social Work. A joint doctoral program in collaboration with San Jose State University for a doctor of nursing practice degree is administered through Fresno State University.
California State University, Fresno is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The five engineering programs in the Lyles College of Engineering are each accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET; the Craig School of Business is AACSB accredited. The university is classified by the U. S. Federal government as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution and an Hispanic-serving institution because the Hispanic undergraduate full-time-equivalent student enrollment is greater than 25%. Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology College of Arts and Humanities Craig School of Business Kremen School of Education and Human Development Lyles College of Engineering College of Health and Human Services College of Science and Mathematics College of Social Sciences The Smittcamp Family Honors College is a program providing top high school graduates a paid President's Scholarship, which includes tuition and housing, as well as other amenities for the duration of their studies.
Admission to the Smittcamp Family Honors College is competitive and candid
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University is a public research university with its main campus in Flagstaff, Arizona. Governed by the Arizona Board of Regents and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the university offers 158 baccalaureate and graduate degree programs; as of fall 2017, 31,057 students were enrolled, 22,376 at the Flagstaff campus. The average cost of tuition and fees for a full-time, Arizona resident undergraduate student for two semesters is $11,059, out-of-state undergraduates pay an estimated $24,841. NAU participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program, which offers lower tuition rates for students from the Western United States. For 2017–18, WUE tuition and fees are $16,078. NAU offers Flagstaff undergraduate students the Pledge Program, which guarantees the same tuition rate for four years. According to the global university rankings published by Times Higher Education in 2018, NAU ranked among the top 500 universities in the world and in the top 10 percent worldwide for the frequency of citations of its research by other researchers.
The Center for World University Rankings places Northern Arizona in the top 2.9% of degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide. NAU is the state leader in setting up remote campuses, where classes have delivered via a video link; the oldest branch campus, the largest, is NAU Yuma. Named the Northern Arizona Normal School, the institution opened on September 11, 1899, with 23 students, two faculty members—one, Almon Nicholas Taylor, the school president—and "two copies of Webster's International Dictionary bound in sheepskin" as teaching resources; the first graduating class, in 1901, consisted of four women who received credentials to teach in the Arizona Territory. In 1925, the Arizona State Legislature allowed the school, called the Northern Arizona State Teachers College, to grant bachelor of education degrees. In 1929, the school became Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff. In 1929, the Great Depression struck the nation, the ASTC found new meaning in community outreach.
Rather than collapsing, the school endured through the depression. In fact, Grady Gammage, the school president at the time, described higher education as "a'depression industry' that fared well in hard times." Despite financial difficulties, enrollment increased from 321 students to 535 students between 1930 and 1940, graduate work was introduced in 1937. ASTC provided an education during economically trying times creating jobs to help students afford their education; the self-sufficiency of the college helped conserve monetary resources, it was a major contributor to the local economy of the surrounding Flagstaff community, injecting a half million dollars in 1938. ASTC was known for ethnic tolerance. In fact, the first Hopi to receive a college degree was Ida Mae Fredericks in 1939. Students came from rural farms, mining families, the East Coast, points between. During the depression, lots of fraternities and clubs sprang up, reflecting the diversity of background and interests. Enrollment dropped at the beginning of World War II, dropping to 161 in 1945.
During this time, ASTC became a Navy V-12 program training site. However, the end of World War II brought increased enrollment as returning veterans returned to continue their education; the end of the war expanded programs beyond teaching degrees in the fields of art and science. To reflect this growth, the school changed its name to Arizona State College at Flagstaff in 1945 and, in 1958, became Arizona State College after the former Arizona State College at Tempe became Arizona State University. In 1958, the Forestry Program was introduced. With further growth over the next two decades, the Arizona Board of Regents granted Arizona State College university status as Northern Arizona University in 1966. Perched at 6,950 feet above sea level, one of the highest-elevation four-year college campuses in the country, the main campus is surrounded by the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world and enjoys a four-season climate, with an average annual snowfall of 260 inches. Winter skiing is accessible at Arizona Snowbowl, an alpine ski resort located on the San Francisco Peaks, 7 miles northwest of Flagstaff, ranked the third best college town in the United States by the American Institute of Economic Research in 2017.
NAU offers 153 baccalaureate programs, 81 master's degree programs, 15 doctoral programs, along with 49 undergraduate and 30 graduate certificates. In 2006, the Arizona Board of Regents directed the university to develop innovative ways to provide access and affordability to all Arizona residents. NAU developed the Pledge Program and 2NAU partnerships with community colleges and NAU–Yavapai, a collaboration with Yavapai College in Prescott Valley, Arizona. NAU–Yuma, a quarter-century partnership with Arizona Western College, is nationally recognized as a model community college/university effort. In addition to the more than 22,000 students who study on the Flagstaff campus, NAU serves another 8,000 students online and statewide. NAU offers 99 online accredited degree programs at statewide campuses. NAU is the first public university to offer a competency-based online degree program that allows students to earn credit for experience. Personalized Learning, launched in 2013, is an competency-based degree path.
The program offers students access to a self-paced, affordable college education. The program has a flat fee for a six-month subscription, federal financial aid is available; this subscription allows students to access all
The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's National Football Conference South division; the Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League. In their 53 years of existence, the Falcons have compiled a record of 368–466–6, winning division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2016; the Falcons have appeared in two Super Bowls, the first during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII, where they lost to the Denver Broncos 34–19, the second was eighteen years a 34–28 overtime defeat by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons' current home field is Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Professional football first came to Atlanta in 1962, when the American Football League staged two preseason contests, with one featuring the Denver Broncos vs. the Houston Oilers and the second pitting the Dallas Texans against the Oakland Raiders.
Two years the AFL held another exhibition, this time with the New York Jets taking on the San Diego Chargers. In 1965, after the Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium was built, the city of Atlanta felt the time was right to start pursuing professional football. One independent group, active in NFL exhibition promotions in Atlanta applied for franchises in both the AFL and NFL, acting on its own with no guarantee of stadium rights. Another group reported it had deposited earnest money for a team in the AFL. With everyone running in different directions, some local businessmen worked out a deal and were awarded an AFL franchise on June 8, contingent upon acquiring exclusive stadium rights from city officials. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, moving in Atlanta matters, was spurred by the AFL interest and headed on the next plane down to Atlanta to block the rival league's claim on the city of Atlanta, he forced the city to make a choice between the two leagues. The AFL's original expansion plans in June 1965 were for two new teams in 1966, in Atlanta and Philadelphia.
It evolved into the Miami Dolphins in 1966 and the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968. The NFL had planned to add two teams in 1967; the odd number of teams resulted in one idle team each week, with each team playing fourteen games over fifteen weeks. The second expansion team, the New Orleans Saints, joined the NFL as planned in 1967 as its sixteenth franchise; the Atlanta Falcons franchise began on June 30, 1965, when Rozelle granted ownership to forty-year-old Rankin Smith Sr. an Executive Vice President of Life Insurance Company of Georgia. He paid the highest price in NFL history at the time for a franchise. Rozelle and Smith made the deal in about five minutes and the Atlanta Falcons brought the largest and most popular sport to the city of Atlanta; the Atlanta expansion team became the fifteenth NFL franchise, they were awarded the first overall pick in the 1966 NFL Draft as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds. They selected consensus All-American linebacker Tommy Nobis from the University of Texas, making him the first-ever Falcon.
The league held the expansion draft six weeks in which Atlanta selected unprotected players from the fourteen existing franchises. Although the Falcons selected many good players in those drafts, they still were not able to win right away; the Atlanta team received its nickname on August 29, 1965. Miss Julia Elliott, a school teacher from Griffin, was singled out from many people who suggested "Falcons" as the nickname for the new franchise, she wrote: "the Falcon is dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey, it is deadly and has a great sporting tradition." The Falcons' inaugural season was in 1966, their first preseason game was on August 1, a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Under head coach Norb Hecker, Atlanta lost their first nine regular season games in 1966. Two weeks Atlanta won at Minnesota, beat St. Louis in Atlanta the next week for their first home win; the team finished the 1960s with twelve wins in four seasons. The Falcons had their first Monday Night Football game in Atlanta during the 1970 season, a 20–7 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The only two winning seasons in their first twelve years were 1971 and 1973. In the 1978 season, the Falcons qualified for the playoffs for the first time and won the Wild Card game against the Eagles 14–13; the following week, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27–20 in the Divisional Playoffs. In the 1980 season, after a nine-game winning streak, the Falcons posted a franchise then-best record of 12–4 and captured their first NFC West division title; the next week, their dream season ended at home with a loss to the Cowboys 30–27 in the divisional playoffs. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, the Falcons made the playoffs but lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 30–24. Falcons coach Leeman Bennett was fired after the loss; the team had losing seasons for the next eight years. In the 1989 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected cornerback Deion Sanders in the first round
Drew McQueen Bledsoe is a former American football quarterback who played 14 seasons in the National Football League with the New England Patriots. He served as New England's starting quarterback from 1993 to 2001 and was considered the face of the Patriots franchise during his eight seasons with the team; the first overall pick in 1993 NFL Draft, Bledsoe helped improve the fortunes of the Patriots, who had fallen on hard times. Under his tenure as starting quarterback, the Patriots ended a seven-season postseason drought, qualified for the playoffs four times, made one Super Bowl appearance in XXXI, he was named to three Pro Bowls and became the youngest quarterback to play in the NFL's all-star game at the time with his 1995 appearance. Following a period of declining success and two consecutive seasons where the Patriots missed the playoffs, Bledsoe suffered a near-fatal injury early in the 2001 season and was replaced as starter by backup Tom Brady. Bledsoe was unable to regain his starting position after he was medically cleared to play due to Brady's success with the team, which culminated with the franchise's first Super Bowl title in XXXVI.
Bledsoe subsequently retired after short stints with the Buffalo Bills, where he made a fourth Pro Bowl appearance, the Dallas Cowboys. While his tenure with the Patriots would be eclipsed by Brady, Bledsoe is recognized for helping rebuild the franchise, including leading the team to victory in the 2001 AFC Championship after Brady was injured en route to their first Super Bowl win. For his accomplishments in New England, he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011. Bledsoe attended Walla Walla High School and was a letterman in football and track. In football, he was named a first team All-State selection by the Tacoma News Tribune. In track, he competed in the throwing events, recording top-throws of 45.34 meters in the discus throw and 54.70 meters in the javelin throw. Bledsoe had a record-setting career in his three years at Washington State. After gaining the starting job in the end of the 1990 season as a true freshman, he became the face of the Cougars offense. In 1992 Bledsoe led his team to a 9–3 record and a 31–28 win against the Utah Utes in the Copper Bowl.
Bledsoe completed 30-46 passes for 2 touchdowns in the game. He established WSU records in single-game passing yards, single-season pass completions, single-season passing yards, he was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. Following an impressive junior year Bledsoe decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 1993 NFL Draft. In the 34 starts of his collegiate career he amassed 532 completions and 66 touchdowns. Bledsoe was drafted first overall in the 1993 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, he started right away for the Patriots in his rookie season. On November 13, 1994, the Patriots had won just three of their first nine games and were losing, 20–3, to the Minnesota Vikings at halftime. Bledsoe led a comeback victory in which the Patriots won, 26–20, in overtime, as he set single game records in pass completions and attempts; the win sparked the beginning of a new age for the Patriots, as they rallied behind Bledsoe and won their final six games to finish with a 10-6 record and captured the wild card.
Due to his performance, Bledsoe was selected to his first Pro Bowl as an alternate. Following a difficult 1995 season, Bledsoe turned it around in 1996 ranking among the top passers in the league with the help of wide receiver Terry Glenn, thus pushing the Patriots to reach the playoffs again and winning the AFC championship against the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20–6; this led to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXI, where they lost to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 35–21. Bledsoe completed 25 of 48 passes for 253 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions in the loss, he was named a starter for the Pro Bowl that season, the second of his career. During the 1997 season, Bledsoe helped the Patriots win five of their final seven games to once again qualify for the playoffs, the fourth time in eight years as a Patriots starter he would lead the team to a postseason appearance; the Patriots lost in the second round to the Pittsburgh Steelers, however Bledsoe built a career-high 87.7 passer rating, passed for 3,706 yards, tossed 28 touchdowns, earned his third Pro Bowl invitation.
The following year, he became the first NFL quarterback to complete game-winning touchdown passes in the final 30 seconds of two consecutive games. In doing so, he propelled New England into the postseason for the third straight year, he completed these come-from-behind efforts while playing with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, an injury that would sideline him for the postseason. Bledsoe started the 1999 season strong, with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions as the Patriots held a 6–2 mid-season record. However, Bledsoe subsequently threw only six touchdowns versus 17 interceptions, the team finished with an 8–8 record; the team's slide continued into the 2000 season as the Patriots ended with a record of 5–11. While Bledsoe threw a then-career low 13 interceptions that year, he was sacked 45 times. In March 2001, Bledsoe was signed to $103 million contract. Bledsoe did not finish his career with the Patriots, nor see the opening of the new Gillette Stadium. During the second game of the 2001 season, Bledsoe was hit by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis and suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest, which resulted in his death