As we continue our uniform history, we’re encountering probably one of the worst number selection of players in our franchise history….#19. In our previous entry, we covered the number #18 and the selections of Mick Luckhurst and Wade Wilson wasn’t very inspiring. Well, this number is possibly even worse for our poor eyes.
After a quick review of the #19, only six players wore the number over the Falcons' 50 years of existence in Atlanta. Despite the awful talent of players under the selected number, we had to pick a winner, and it's quarterback Bob Lee!
For most Falcons fans, soon as you read the name Bob Lee, your reactions are either "Who?" or "Never heard of the guy." Lee definitely won’t go down as one of the best quarterbacks in Falcons history; however, we won’t be remembered as the worst, either. The former 17th round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1968 played there until 1973 when the Falcons signed him as the backup quarterback for the upcoming season. 1973 was Lee’s best season in his career, and the Falcons posted their best record in franchise history at 9-5, which stood until 1980.
Bob Lee posted (1,786) passing yards, (10) touchdown passes, (8) interceptions, and a (52.2%) completion percentage. Sadly, all of the stats except the interceptions were career high stats for Lee. After a 1-3 start, the Falcons would bench Dick Shiner. Lee would respond by leading the Falcons to an 8-2 mark in 1973 in a 14 game season including being the lone Falcons team to knock off an undefeated team as Lee led Atlanta to a win over his former team, the 9-0 Minnesota Vikings; however, missed the playoffs after an unexpected home loss to a St. Louis Cardinals team that had won only one of its last ten and was playing an unknown quarterback called Gary Keithley.
After coming close to the playoffs in 1973, Bob Lee followed with a terrible 1974 campaign. The Falcons would only score 111 points with only twelve touchdowns, the lowest total in franchise history, and the second lowest by any team in a fourteen-game NFL season, only the 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were shut out an unprecedented six times. Bob Lee would get pulled from starting quarterback after 9 games, which he posted a 2-6 record for the team. Lee’s stats were the total opposite from the previous season as well posting (852) passing yards, (3) touchdown passes, and (14) interceptions. Imagine if a quarterback posted those numbers in today’s NFL? The media would have a field day with those atrocious stats. After the 3-11 1974 season, Bob Lee was released and the Falcons would go on to draft Steve Bartkowski in 1975.
The next best player from the horrific list of Atlanta Falcons players wearing the #19 is none other than wide Receiver Drew Davis. Davis signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in the 2011 season; however, was released on the final day of roster cuts. Atlanta would sign him to the practice squad for 2011. Eventually, Davis made the 53-man roster in 2012 as a special teamer and the club’s fourth string wide receiver. Drew Davis posted (16) receptions, (256) receiving yards, and three touchdowns in his career as a Falcon. Each of the touchdown receptions Davis made were memorable indeed. His first career touchdown reception was on one of the best efforts by a receiver during the 2012 season on a 3rd and 7 play in the 1st quarter of the Falcons victory over the Philadelphia Eagles as the defense would fall for the wide receiver fake screen to Julio Jones and he would catch one of the best toe tapping touchdowns of the season. He was cut in 2014.
The other players under the list, Mike Brunson (1970) only posted a career total of nine rushing yards and (54) kick return yards in his lone season with the Falcons and in the NFL. Corey Dixon (1994) and Shawn Mills (2001) also wore the number as well; however, neither even posted a single stat in their lone season as members of the Falcons as well. Laurent Robinson, a former third round selection, is the other man in the mix. Injuries hampered his career, and the Falcons eventually traded him in 2009 to the St. Louis Rams.
Aside from Bob Lee, the rest of the list of players who wore the coveted #19 jersey was short and sad. Currently, there’s nobody wearing the number #19; however, we can only hope the next player wearing this jersey can change the history behind the number and make a solid impact for the Atlanta Falcons!