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Then And Now 1966 And 2016 Atlanta Falcons’ Notes

January 28, 2017

The NFC champion Atlanta Falcons’ first season was 1966. The NFL had 15 teams, eight in Eastern Conference which housed Atlanta and seven in the Western Conference.

Atlanta played each of the 14 other NFL teams once while the other 14 teams played their six (other in the Eastern Conference) conference opponents twice each and but one inter conference tilt.

Atlanta went (3-11) winning two of their last three games. There were five games against teams they played 50 years later in the 2016 NFL regular season.

This season Atlanta, of course had a total of six games vs fellow NFC South teams, the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers. None of those teams existed in 1966.

Additionally the ’16 Falcons faced all four teams from the AFC West, oddly all around in ’66 as the Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers and Broncos were all original AFL teams, but though the NFL and AFL had agreed to merger terms and did play a championship game that ’66 season, no NFL/AFL regular season tilts were played.

That leaves 6 possible games for a 2016/1966 match and five met the bill.

Three of the four NFC West teams the ’16 Falcons played and by the way defeated, were also 1966 opponents.

Start with the L.A. Rams, in both seasons playing in “Tinseltown” with time and a ’99 title in St. Louis in between.

Speaking of St. Louis, that was where the now Arizona Cardinals played in 1966. The Falcons defeated them in both ’66 and ’16.

S.F (49ers) are the third NFC West team around in ’66 and thus an “Atl” opponent in that their first season, the “Bay” team victorious in ’66 but not so in ’16.

The fourth NFC West team, the Seattle Seahawks, not around in ’66, defeated the Falcons in a “reg” tilt with Chris Myers presiding, aided and abetted by a non interference call. I can still see Atlanta coach and former “Sea” title team assistant coach, Dan Quinn raging and rightfully so regarding the call.

However, with help from the Cards who “dealt” (pun intended) “Sea” a key late season loss, “Atl” got the NFC “2” seed and eventually a home “slots” victory vs Sea, a second such victory in five seasons, this time covering the spread.

In ’66 both the Philadelphia Eagles and eventual first Supe, then the NFL/AFL championship game, victors, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Falcons.

Fifty years later, each was an additional NFC opponent for Atlanta.

The Eagles, whom the Falcons defeated for a victory in their first ever ‘offs game in 1978, won this season.

Meanwhile Atlanta, routed (56-3) by the ’66 Pack, defeated “G.B.” in both the regular season tilt played exactly 50 years and one week later and routed them in the NFC title game/NFL “semi” to gain entry into the Supe for just the second time in their 51 year history.



The great player Tommy Nobis, pictured above, was a rookie on the ’66 Falcons.

Few would detail and wax poetic about NFL 1966, as I just did above. Alas I was 11 and unaware, not that it was not great, less publicized and a good memory.

I was unaware of Nobis’ situation, but well aware of the NFL’s greed and desire to hide such things.

Please read this fine article by Terence Moore. Click below.

Inside the sad post-football life of Tommy Nobis. | Sports on …


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