Two Atlanta Falcons legends are both one step closer to football immortality in Canton, Ohio as “Mr. Falcon” Tommy Nobis and Dan Reeves have both been named finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Centennial Class.
Both are overdue for the consideration, given how much they accomplished in Atlanta. That’s particularly true of Nobis, the original Falcons great.
The Hall of Fame Board recently passed a resolution that suspended the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee By-Laws for the Class of 2020 election cycle only. The measure is intended to honor the NFL’s Centennial Celebration through a special Centennial Class that will be comprised of 20 members in 2020. The group will include five Modern-Era players in addition to 10 Seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two Coaches.
Tommy Nobis aka Mr. Falcon
Someone who Falcons fans have dreamed of one day making it to Canton is former Falcons linebacker Tommy Nobis. The Falcons selected Nobis first overall in the 1966 NFL draft, and he’s regarded as one of the best players to ever put on a Falcons uniform.
Tommy Nobis was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, and in 2004 “Mr. Falcon” joined quarterback Steve Bartkowski, running back William Andrews, and middle linebacker Jessie Tuggle as an inaugural member of the Falcons Ring of Honor. His jersey #60 is also one of four numbers currently retired by the franchise. He played for the Falcons from 1966-1976 with a long list of accolades such as:
· NFL Rookie of the Year (1966)
· 5x Pro Bowl selection (1966-1968, 1970, 1972)
· First Team All-Pro (1967)
· Second-team All-Pro (1968)
· NFL 1960s All-Decade Team selection
Outside of football, The Tommy Nobis Center has helped more than 25,000 people with disabilities find and keep meaningful jobs in the community for more than 40 years. Sadly, Tommy Nobis passed away on December 13, 2017 at the age 74.
Dan Reeves was already a well-regarded coach when he joined the Falcons in 1997, but it was the 1998 season that made him a permanent legend in Atlanta. He guided that team to a 14-2 finish, piloted them through the playoffs and past the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, arguably the greatest game in franchise history up to that point. Then came the Falcons first appearance in a Super Bowl since the franchise was established 30-plus years before. Reeves’ 49-59-1 record isn’t all that impressive, but a lot of his overall career success came with the Denver Broncos where he coached from 1981-1992, although he was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 1998 with the Falcons.
The Selection Committee will meet on Feb. 1, 2020 in Miami to elect the Class of 2020. The Centennial Class of 2020 will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the annual Enshrinement Week from Aug. 6-9, 2020 and the Centennial Celebration in Canton on Sept. 16-19, 2020.