Hey Falcoholics, I’m back with another edition of The Falcoholic’s Throwback Thursday series. This weekly segment highlights a former Atlanta Falcons player and discusses their life and what they did for the franchise.
Whether you’ve been a fan since the inaugural season, or just became a fan recently, this series will give insight on players from the past. This week we will be focusing on center Jeff Van Note.
Jeffrey Aloysius Van Note was born on Feb. 7, 1946, in South Orange, New Jersey. He attended high school at St. Joseph Prep in Kentucky. Van Note eventually enrolled at the University of Kentucky, where he played defensive end and running back for the Wildcats. He was a second-team all-Southeastern Conference as a sophomore at Kentucky and was named the team’s most valuable player during his senior season.
With the 269th overall pick in the 1969 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected linebacker Jeff Van Note. During the 1969 season, Van Note only appeared in one game, as he played minor league football with the Alabama Hawks of the Continental Football League. For the 1970 season, Van Note was moved to center by then Falcons head coach Norm Van Brocklin.
The move by Coach Van Brocklin turned out to be a wise one, as Van Note would go on to be one of the important players in Atlanta Falcons history. His 18-year career with the Falcons is the second-longest in NFL history spent with one team. Even more impressive, Van Note somehow managed to only miss four games during his career.
Van Note established himself as one of the best centers in NFL history, as he made six Pro Bowls and was selected as a second-team All-Pro twice. During his final NFL game, the Atlanta Falcons retired Van Note’s No. 57, where he’s currently joined by Steve Bartkowski (10), William Andrews (31), and Tommy Nobis (60) as the only players to receive such an honor. In 1999, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and he entered the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor in 2006.
After his retirement from the NFL, Van Note did color commentating for the Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Oilers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Kentucky Wildcats.
Jeff Van Note is yet another former Atlanta Falcons player ignored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The six-time Pro Bowler languished on some very bad teams between 1969 and 1986, and still managed to be reliable for the Falcons. I truly believe that if Jeff Van Note had the same career, but for a team such as the Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers, he’d have entered Canton a long time ago.
Let me know in the comments below some of your favorite Jeff Van Note memories. As always, you can find me on Twitter @EvanBirchfield. Additionally, make sure to follow @The_Falcoholic on Instagram for up-to-date news and information. Thanks for reading, Falcoholics.