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Jonathan Babineaux’s forgotten milestone

The longtime defensive tackle is now fifth in games played for the Atlanta Falcons.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We’ve discussed all the big, flashy, record-breaking milestones this offense has put up by the Falcons’ offense, but there was one milestone we didn’t remark upon, despite bringing it up over the summer. That would be Jonathan Babineaux’s number of games played mark, which is the kind of accomplishment that deserves a spotlight.

Babineaux played in all 16 games this year, which gave him a grand total of 185 games played in a Falcons uniform since he was drafted way back in 2005. That puts him fifth on the list of players who have put on the red and black, and he’s keeping company with some of the best players in franchise history.

  1. Mike Kenn, 251 games
  2. Jeff Van Note, 246 games
  3. Jessie Tuggle, 209 games
  4. Todd McClure, 198 games
  5. Jonathan Babineaux, 185 games

None of Babineaux’s numbers have ever popped off the page, but he was a legitimately disruptive force throughout most of his career, and a valuable member of the defensive line through the tenures of four different head coaches. Those players don’t grow on trees, to put it mildly, and it’s awesome to see Babineaux make this list. He’s also, for those curious, 12th all-time in tackles and 9th all-time in sacks, needing just three more for the Falcons to vault all the way up to tied for 5th on the latter list.

This has not been the finest year of Jonathan Babineaux’s career, to understate things. The 35-year-old had 14 tackles and no sacks, though he did have a couple of near misses and nice stops along the way, and he started just six games in one of the worst groupings of Atlanta defensive tackles in recent memories. The team has phased him out of the regular rotation, which obviously has a lot to do with his age, but he can still bring it in bursts, and he won’t lack for motivation to do so against the Seahawks this weekend.

Candidly, Babineaux seems likely to be gone next year unless he wants to take a relatively cheap, short-term deal from the team. The Falcons are going to remake this set of defensive tackles sooner rather than later with an expensive, moderately effective Tyson Jackson also potentially headed out the door. I’d love to see Babs come back and finish a terrific career here, but I’m also not particularly sanguine about the prospect that he’ll return.

If this is it for Babineaux, I hope the Falcons can at least send him on his way with a Super Bowl ring.