Hey, Falcoholics, I’m back with another edition of The Falcoholic’s Throwback Thursday series. This weekly segment (which is running on Friday this week) 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 fullback Bob Christian.
Robert Douglas Christian was born on November 14, 1968 in Florissant, Missouri. Bob attended Florissant McCluer North High School, the same institution attended by rapper Chingy, popular for his song “Right Thurr.”
Bob Christian went on to play at the collegiate-level attending Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, Bob unfortunately suffered an alarming amount of concussions. He would eventually turn his attention to the NFL, where he was projected to be selected in the mid-rounds.
With the 310th pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected Bob Christian. This was the same draft in which the Falcons selected future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. Shortly after being selected by the Falcons, Bob was cut during training camp.
In 1992, Bob Christian was picked up by the Chicago Bears where he would play for three seasons. In his 28 games for the Bears, Bob totaled 15 carries for 48 rushing yards.
The 1995 National Football League Expansion Draft was held on February 15, 1995. This event allowed for the NFL’s two newest teams, the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars, to alternate picks from lists of unprotected players from existing franchises. The Falcons lost notable players WR David Mims and DL Bill Goldberg.
With the 28th overall pick, the Carolina Panthers selected Bob Christian. Even though it doesn’t show in the record books, Bob technically scored the first touchdown in Carolina Panthers franchise history, hauling in a pass from Frank Reich in the 1995 Hall of Fame game.
As a Panther, he had 41 carries, 158 rushing yards, and one receiving touchdown. He would eventually miss the 1996 season due to a torn pectoral muscle.
In 1997, Bob Christian returned to the team that selected him six years prior, the Atlanta Falcons. Bob played six seasons in Atlanta, and helped Jamal Anderson rush for an NFC-best 1,846 yards in 1998. Unfortunately, a knee injury sidelined Bob towards the end of the season, causing him to miss the playoffs and the Falcons first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. In Atlanta, Bob totaled six receiving touchdowns, 625 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Following the 2002 season, Bob Christian retired from the NFL.
Historically speaking, the Falcons have been fortunate to have some very good fullbacks. From William Andrews and Ovie Mughelli, to Justin Griffith and Bob Christian. Growing up in the 90s, I admired how Bob Christian doubled as both a fullback and running back. He was willing to catch passes, block or run the ball himself.
Let me know in the comments below some of your favorite Bob Christian 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.