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. Last week there wasn’t an article due to the highly anticipated 2019 NFL Draft.
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 quarterback Chris Chandler.
Christopher Mark Chandler was born on Oct. 12, 1965 in Everett, Washington. At Everett High School, Chandler threw for 49 touchdowns and 2,000 yards. For college, he stayed in-state and attended the University of Washington.
While at Washington, Chris Chandler passed for 32 touchdowns and 4,442 yards. While preparing for the 1988 NFL Draft, Chandler was named the Offensive Player of the Game in the 1988 Senior Bowl.
With the 76th overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected QB Chris Chandler. He remained with the Colts until they decided to trade him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a first-round pick, following the Colts selecting quarterback Jeff George in the 1990 NFL Draft. After an 0-6 record with the Buccaneers, they cut him during the 1991 season.
Chris Chandler was picked up by the Phoenix Cardinals in 1992, where he would play until 1993, before joining the Los Angeles Rams in 1994. The Rams moved on from Chandler and he joined the Houston Oilers in 1995, where he would earn a starting role. During the 1996 season, Oilers head coach Jeff Fisher benched Chris Chandler in favor of a younger quarterback, Steve McNair. Due to Chandler now being expendable, the Oilers traded him to the Atlanta Falcons for a fourth-round pick.
Chris Chandler would have his best years in Atlanta, where he would be a Pro Bowler in both 1997 and 1998. In 1998, Chandler led the Atlanta Falcons to a 14-2 record, and ultimately an NFC Championship victory. The Falcons would also have their first ever Super Bowl appearance, where they unfortunately lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII. In the loss, Chandler had a disappointing one touchdown and three interceptions.
After the Super Bowl appearance, the Falcons signed Chris Chandler to a five-year, $27 million contract. After two disappointing seasons, the Falcons began to prepare for the future at the quarterback position. After trading a first round pick, WR Tim Dwight, a third round pick, and a 2002 second round pick to the San Diego Chargers, the Falcons selected QB Michael Vick with the first pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.
In 2001, Chris Chandler started 14 games, having 2,847 passing yards and a 6-8 record. The Falcons officially moved on from Chandler at the end of the 2001 season, and he joined the Chicago Bears in 2002. He would spend two seasons in Chicago, never throwing for more than 4 touchdowns, before being released, and joining the St. Louis Rams in 2004.
The Rams brought Chandler in to serve as the backup to Marc Bulger. In his first start with the Rams, he threw a team-record six interceptions. Following the 2004 season, Chris Chandler was released and eventually retired from the NFL. He finished his career with a combined 170 passing touchdowns and 28,484 passing yards.
Chris Chandler is the definition of a “journeyman” quarterback. He bounced around the NFL, having varied success, but luckily the Falcons benefited the most. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler (1997 & 1998) and is one of 60 players in NFL history to post a perfect passer rating in an NFL game. I personally remember at age 8 thinking Chris Chandler was a phenomenal quarterback, so much that I wore a Chris Chandler jersey to my elementary school’s picture day.
Let me know in the comments below some of your favorite Chris Chandler 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.