Atlanta Falcons: Players that should be in the Hall of Fame

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

Over the course of the their franchise history, the Atlanta Falcons have only drafted three players who found their way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are Claude Humphrey, Deion Sanders, and Brett Favre. Unfortunately, many remember Sanders for his play in San Francisco or Dallas, and Favre earned his gold jacket for his time in Green Bay.

Now, there are other Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers who have spent significant time in Atlanta, such as Morten Andersen and Tony Gonzalez, but the Falcons overall are very under-represented in Canton.

Let’s look at some Falcons who should be in the Hall of Fame or at the very least have a case for consideration.

Jeff Van Note

Center for the Atlanta Falcons from 1969 to 1986

Career Stats and Accolades:

  • 6× Pro Bowl (1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982)
  • 226 Games Started (2nd in Falcons History, 29th in NFL History)
  • 246 Games Played (2nd in Falcons History, 45th in NFL History)

As far as longevity is concerned, Jeff Van Note is one of the better centers in NFL history. He played all of his eighteen years in the NFL in Atlanta, only missing four games. Van Note was an anchor for the Falcons offensive line, serving as a model of consistency. He earned AP All-Pro honors twice in his long career.

Mike Kenn

Left Tackle for the Atlanta Falcons from 1978 to 1994

Career Stats and Accolades:

  • 5× Pro Bowl (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)
  • 251 Games Started (1st in Falcons History, 9th in NFL History)
  • 251 Games Played (1st in Falcons History, 40th in NFL History)

Another long tenured lineman to play his entire NFL career for the Falcons, Mike Kenn is undoubtedly deserving of a bust in the Hall of Fame. Along with his amazing longevity, Kenn had a reputation for allowing very few sacks and committing very few penalties. He was truly an elite offensive tackle of his time, and earned AP All-Pro honors five times in his career.

Jessie Tuggle

Linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons from 1987 to 2000

Career Stats and Accolades:

  • 5× Pro Bowl (1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998)
  • 1640 Tackles (1st in Falcons history, 1st in NFL History*)
  • 21 Sacks
  • 6 Interceptions
  • 10 Forced Fumbles

* Tackles did not become an official NFL statistic until 1994 *

Nicknamed “The Hammer” for the crushing force of his tackles, Jessie Tuggle was one of the best linebackers in the NFL in the 1990s. He was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 1987, but quickly proved himself worthy of a roster spot. Tuggle became a defensive star and a leader for the Falcons, and he was a major factor in the success of the 1998 NFC Champion team.

Tommy Nobis

Linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons from 1966 to 1976

Career Stats and Accolades:

  • 5× Pro Bowl (1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1972)
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year (1996, Sporting News)
  • NFL 1960s All Decade Team

As the first ever player drafted or signed by the Atlanta Falcons, Tommy Nobis did anything but come in to the NFL quietly. He unofficially recorded 294 tackles in his rookie season, the most ever by a rookie and also the most single season tackles in NFL history. Over the course of his career, Nobis established a reputation as one of the most fearsome tacklers and hard-hitters in the NFL. He was a bright spot on the very unsuccessful early Falcons teams.

Honorable Mentions:

George Kunz

William Andrews

Bill Fralic

Are there other Falcons that deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame?

Let us know in the comments below!

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