One of the biggest snubs in the history of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is Atlanta Falcons linebacker Tommy Nobis. Nobis, appropriately nicknamed “Mr. Falcon,” was the first NFL Draft selection for the Falcons in franchise history. Year-after-year, Falcons fans hope to see Nobis get the recognition he deserves on a national level, and be honored with football immortality in Canton, Ohio. It’s taken quite some time, but it appears it could finally be happening.
On Wednesday evening, it was announced that Nobis has been named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame through the Seniors category. The full list of finalists includes Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Randy Gradishar, Chuck Howley, Cecil Isbell, Joe Klecko, Bob Kuechenberg, Eddie Meador, Ken Riley, Sterling Sharpe, Everson Walls and of course — Tommy Nobis. The 12-person Seniors Committee will meet Aug. 16, and each committee member will discuss one Finalist in detail. The committee’s final vote will send three Seniors to the full 49-person Selection Committee for consideration at its annual meeting in early 2023; each of those three could be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame at that meeting.
Nobis certainly has the accolades to make it to Canton. He won NFL Rookie of the Year, played in five Pro Bowls, selected first-team All-Pro (1967) and is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1960s.
The late Claude Humphrey spoke with The Falcoholic in 2020, where he shared his thoughts on former teammate Tommy Nobis and his hope that he would one day join him in Canton.
“I think he was just as good as some of the guys who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame right now,” Humphrey told The Falcoholic. “I don’t know how, other than the fact that he played during the time of those guys like Ray Nitschke and Dick Butkus, who played on better overall football teams than Tommy Nobis. But as far as comparing talent, I don’t see a whole lot of difference between his talent and the talent of some of those guys who are already in.”
It’s certainly not a guarantee that Nobis will make it this year. The Pro Football Hall of Fame often overlooks deserving Falcons’ players, as Mike Kenn, Jessie Tuggle, John Abraham and Jeff Van Note join Nobis in hoping to get in one day. Sadly, Nobis is no longer with us, as he passed away in 2017. Even though he wouldn’t be there in person, his legacy deserves to be enshrined with the rest of the NFL’s legends in Canton.