The Falcons offense from 1981-1990 promises to have some familiar names on it, with legends like Steve Bartkowski, Mike Kenn, Alfred Jenkins and William Andrews standing out. The defense does not have quite as many of those names, but it may quietly be much better than the offense.
This is a terrific defense thanks to its constituent parts, even if most of these names have been lost to history. I was surprised, again and again, by just how many great defensive linemen and linebackers were playing during this era, which made selecting a list challenging. The Falcons didn’t have much at cornerback throughout the 80s, but they did have some very good run-stoppers up front, a terrific safety tandem, and one of the best pass rushing defensive tackles in team history in Mike Lewis.
Give us your nominees and we’ll vote on these soon!
Falcons All-Decade Defense & Special Teams, 1981-1990
Defensive Ends: Mike Gann & Jeff Merrow
Defensive Tackle: Mike Lewis & Don Smith
Linebackers: Buddy Curry, Joel Williams & John Rade
Cornerbacks: Bobby Butler & Deion Sanders
Safeties: Scott Case & Tom Pridemore
Kicker: Mick Luckhurst
Punter: Rick Donnelly
Returner: Billy “White Shoes” Johnson