We enter into the 50's with a sigh of relief, because there were many great players to wear these numbers, and that starts right away with #50.
You can make a convincing argument that not one, not two, but three of the better linebackers to play in Atlanta wore this number. Let's dive in.
In 11 seasons with the Falcons, this #50 played in 151 games, started 114 and amassed 12 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries and snagged a Pro Bowl berth in 1969. He began his Atlanta career two years after the birth of the franchise and essentially locked down the right side of the team's linebacker corps for the next decade, providing consistently quality run defense, useful coverage chops and the occasional big play over that span. His place on this list owes something to longevity, we'll readily grant you, but this was a very good player for a young Falcons team that needed more of them.
Curry came along later and wound up serving as one of the team's inside linebackers for a full eight seasons, and like Brezina, he was a career Falcon. With 107 games started in that span, seven picks, 5.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown, he was a consistently productive thumper who earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1980, plus All-Pro selections in '80 and '82. There's a reason he was a franchise icon, and his reputation as a fearsome run defender is a big part of that.
It doesn't hurt that he has been coaching kids in safe football camps since 2002 and promoting safety in the sport for a long time, as well.
Lofton was a favorite of mine during his all-too-brief Falcons tenure, posting four sacks, eight forced fumbles, and three interceptions over his four seasons. Many made hay of his lack of coverage skills when he left to join New Orleans—and they weren't wrong—but the Lofton who terrorized running backs in Atlanta was one of the league's hardest-hitting, most effective run-stopping middle linebackers, which made him a nice fit for the Falcons' defense under Mike Smith. Unfortunately, that four-year run basically precludes him from winning this, even if it was a hell of a run.
It's tough to choose between Brezina and Curry, but despite his shorter career, I'm giving the honor to Curry. Either way, this is a refreshingly robust set of players, and a reminder that linebacker has traditionally been a position of strength for the last five decades of Falcons teams.