Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
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George Kunz. 14. player. 44. . OT. (1969-74)

  • 5x Pro Bowl w/Falcons (1969, 1971-74)
  • 2x First-Team All-Pro (1972-73)
  • 79 starts at right tackle for Falcons over six seasons
  • PRFA Hall of Very Good (2014)

Very early into the Falcons’ history as a franchise, Atlanta was able to land two of it best offensive linemen to date in the 1969 NFL Draft. One of those players was a late-round selection out of Kentucky in the form of Ring of Honor center Jeff Van Note. The other was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft in right tackle George Kunz out of Notre Dame.

Kunz had been an All-American in his senior season at Notre Dame in 1968. A very cerebral player, it did not take long for Kunz to establish himself as one of the premier tackles in football during the 1970s.

He made five of his eight career trips to the Pro Bowl in his six seasons in Falcons uniform. This included his rookie campaign with Atlanta in 1969, where he started all 14 games for the Falcons. After appearing in only nine games in his sophomore season in the league, Kunz rattled off his first four of seven-straight Pro Bowl berths as the Falcons’ right tackle.

No, Atlanta did not make the playoffs at any point of his tenure with the team. After six years with the club, Kunz would join the Baltimore Colts, where he would spend the final five seasons of his excellent football career.

When looking at Kunz’s NFL career, his prime ran from 1972 to 1975. He ended up making three All-Pro teams during that stretch, including 1972 and 1973 with the Falcons. In total, Kunz would start 79 games at right tackle for the Falcons. He would go on to make three additional Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team with the Colts before retiring in 1980 at age 33.

One would think making eight Pro Bowls in a nine-year span would have been enough to earn Kunz Canton enshrinement. However, he remains on the outside looking in at a bronze bust nearly 40 years since his pro football retirement. While he didn’t play long enough at a high enough level to be Ring of Honor material, Kunz’s body of work could make him a Canton candidate one day.