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The Scale of Falconliness, Special Teams Week: Billy Lothridge

Who's the ultimate Falcon? And who's the ultimate anti-Falcon? That's what we're going to find out with our summer project: the Scale of Falconliness. We'll rate former Falcons on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most Falconly. The rule: minimum of three seasons with the Falcons for coaches, five seasons for players.

Two posts about punters in one week! What this punter lacks in longevity, he may or may not make up for with other bona fides. You will decide whether this happens.

Billy Lothridge, Punter/Safety (1966 - 1971)

Falconly Unfalconly
  • Inaugural Falcon. Third most years with the team of any footsman. Kicksman?
  • In 1968 he was the NFL's best punter -- while also picking off three passes and forcing a fumble as Atlanta's starting free safety. Yes, starting free safety.
  • Played NFL safety while lacking a kidney. Ladies and gentlemen, your punter literally risked his life to play regular season defense for a 2-12 team because NORM VAN BROCKLIN COULDN'T PUT UP WITH FLOYD HUDLOW ANY MORE.
  • Also finished top six in yards per punt in 1967 and 1969.
  • Only one punt blocked as a Falcon, despite punting all the freaking time (twice he led the NFL in total punting yardage).
  • While working as the Falcons radio color man, Lothridge offered to fill in as head coach after NORM VAN BROCKLIN EXPLODED ON THE SIDELINES IN 1974.
  • One of the greatest quarterbacks in Georgia Tech history, finishing behind only Roger Staubach in 1963's Heisman vote (Staubach's and Lothridge's only common opponent, Duke, voted for Lothridge). Never got much of a shot at QB in the NFL due to his weak arm, but he did complete two of his three Atlanta passes.
  • Born in Cleveland, Georgia; buried in Gainesville, Georgia.
  • Played only six years in Atlanta and 25 games elsewhere.
  • Played for the Cowboys, Rams, and Dolphins.

Current standings after the jump: