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.
Drafted by both the Falcons and the AFL's Houston Oilers. Nobis was from Texas, yet chose Atlanta. Not even a recorded message from space by a Gemini 7 astronaut imploring Nobis to "sign with Houston" swayed him.
Two-time Falcons Player of the Year. Led the team in tackles nine times.
Holds the unofficial record for tackles in a season with 294 in his 14-game rookie year, which works out to 21 per game. We know old Falcons tackle record-keeping integrity was iffy/hilarious, but let's be serious -- you can only pad a stat so far, folks. As Len Pasquarelli notes: "even if Nobis made just half as many stops as those for which media guides credit him, that still would be an unbelievable season [Falcoholic's note: 10.5 per game, 16 game season: 168 tackles]. By comparison, the NFL's top tackler this past season, San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis, had 152 in 16 games."
Eleven years with the Falcons, tied for sixth all-time.
Five-time Pro Bowler (the first Falcon Pro Bowler), second-best of any Falcon. 1967 All Pro (the first Falcon All Pro). 1966 Rookie of the Year (the first OK YOU GET IT.)
1960s All-Decade team.
No other player ever has worn #60 for the Falcons. The team's first retired number.
Inaugural Ring of Honor member.
The 49ers' Ken Willard, a four-time Pro Bowl fullback, wrote in after reading a Playboy article on Dick Butkus: "When you get around to writing a story on the best linebacker in the NFL, may I suggest Tommy Nobis of Atlanta."
49ers coach Jack Christiansen, a Hall of Fame defensive back: "I don't know how much Nobis got paid, but whatever it was, he was underpaid."
Dan Reeves, Cowboys running back for eight years: "I certainly took my share of hits. Unfortunately I remember some of them, particularly the ones from Falcons linebacker Tommy Nobis. He should be considered a worthy candidate for the Hall of Fame."
NORM VAN BROCKLIN, POINTING TO NOBIS' LOCKER: "THERE'S WHERE OUR FOOTBALL TEAM DRESSES."
Dolphins Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka: "I'd rather play against Dick Butkus than Nobis."
Not to start shit, but nobody ever said anything like the previous five quotes about Jessie Tuggle.
Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame. Not really relevant, but SI named him to their college football All-Century Team.
In a 1970s poll by ABC, he was named the second-best athlete of the '60s behind O.J. Simpson.
Tommy Nobis has never led police on a 30-mile-per-hour chase across Los Angeles.
Founded the Tommy Nobis Center in 1975, giving work training to people with disabilities. It's grown from an office on Bells Ferry Road into a network including six cities in four states. Also works with the Georgia Special Olympics.