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Falcons Throwback Thursday: Hall of Fame Games

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Reminisce about Falcons history

George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Hey Falcoholics, I’m back with another edition of The Falcoholic’s Throwback Thursday series. This weekly segment highlights a former member of the Atlanta Falcons or an event that took place during the franchises history.

Whether you’ve been a fan since the inaugural season, or just became a fan recently, this series will give insight on Falcons from the past. This week’s subject is the Hall of Fame games in which the Falcons have participated.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game is an annual exhibition game which is generally held the same weeks as the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The game itself is played in Canton, Ohio, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium which is nearby the Pro Football Hall of Fame building. The game is commonly known as the first on-field action to kick off the NFL season.

The Falcons are set to take on the Denver Broncos in this year’s game, but did you know that this isn’t the first time the Falcons have played in the Hall of Fame game?

Falcons vs. Packers – September 13, 1969

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In the seventh ever Pro Football Hall of Fame game, the Falcons took on the Green Bay Packers. These were the early days in Atlanta, as the team was owned by Rankin Smith and coached by Norm Van Bronklin. In the first half the Falcons trailed the Packers 10-21, and things didn’t improve any. Quarterbacked by NFL Hall of Famer Bart Starr, the Packers never gave up the lead and the Falcons fell 24-38 in the first appearance.

The Falcons would go on to finish 6-8 that season.

Falcons vs. Browns – August 1, 1981

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Over a decade later, the Falcons would have another appearance in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game. This time led by Falcons’ greats Steve Bartkowski and William Andrews, they’d face the Cleveland Browns. The game started off quiet, with only three points being scored in the first quarter. By halftime, the Falcons found themselves in a hole, losing 7-10. They would not recover in the second half, and went on to lose 10-24 to the Browns.

The Falcons went on to finish 7-9 that season.

Falcons vs. Chargers – July 30, 1994

1994 would be the next time the Falcons would play in a Pro Football Hall of Fame game, to help the NFL kick off it’s 75th season. The team was now led by Jeff George and Craig “Ironhead” Heyward. The Falcons would come out, naturally losing 7-17 at halftime. But in a remarkable turn of events, the team would somehow shutout the Chargers, scoring 14 unanswered points in the second half. 1994 wasn’t just momentous due to the great films that came out that year (The Lion King, Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, etc.) – but the Falcons won their first ever Pro Football Hall of Fame game, 21-17.

The Falcons went on to finish 7-9 that season.

As meaningless as it is, the Pro Football Hall of Fame game is an exciting time as football finally returns to our lives. Even though it’s just another glorified exhibition game, this year marks the NFL’s 100th season and the Falcons will be in action. Enjoy the festivities and the upcoming preseason game, as the regular season will be here before you know it!

The 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game will take place on Thursday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. and will be televised on NBC.