Editor’s note: This is the first in our new weekly series called Atlanta Falcons Flashback Friday, in which we highlight a player from the Atlanta Falcons past. If you have a suggestion for a FF player, let us know!
Dave Hampton holds the unique distinction as not only the first Atlanta Falcons running back to surpass 1,000 yards in a season, but the player who was the first Falcon to do it twice.
Impossible, you say? Unfortunately, for the bad-luck Falcons of that era, not just possible but almost par for the course.
The star running back from Wyoming was originally drafted by the Packers in 1969. After three lackluster seasons, he was traded to the Falcons in 1972. That season, Hampton, so it seemed, became the Falcons’ first 1,000 yard rusher, in the final game of the season, against the Kansas City Chiefs, when a carry put him at 1,001 yards for the season. They even stopped the game for a celebration and game ball presentation.
And then he took one more carry. A six-yard loss. Total for the season — 995 yards. Not sure if he had to give back the game ball.
The next season, Hampton came just shy of the 1,000-yard mark, rushing for 997 yards. He finally climbed the mountain — and stayed atop it — in 1975, when he rushed for 1,002 yards.
Since then, there have been more household names to blow past the 1,000-yard mark for the Dirty Birds. William Andrews, Gerald Riggs, Michael Turner, Jamal Anderson. Warrick Dunn. But none of these guys can ever lay the claim that Dave Hampton has — that he was the first. Twice.