Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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44. . OT. (1978-94). Mike Kenn. 8. player

  • Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor (2008)
  • 5x Pro Bowl (1980-84)
  • 3x First-Team All-Pro (1980, 1983, 1991)
  • 2x Second-Team All-Pro (1981-82)
  • Franchise record holder for most games played, started (251)

To date, the Falcons have had two or three players depending on how you classify kicker Morten Andersen inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame based substantially on their time in Atlanta uniform: defensive end Claude Humphrey and cornerback Deion Sanders.

Atlanta will gain another player with a bronze bust in Canton next year in the form of tight end Tony Gonzalez. However, will we ever see former All-Pro left tackle Mike Kenn earn pro football’s highest honor?

The Falcons would use a first-round pick to select the left tackle out of Michigan in the 1978 NFL Draft. Kenn would play all 17 of his professional seasons with the Falcons, making five-straight Pro Bowls from 1980 to 1984. Five times was Kenn was named to either the All-Pro first or second teams during his Falcons career.

For nine years, he played on the same offensive line as Falcons Ring of Honor center Jeff Van Note.  As Van Note’s lengthy NFL career was winding down, the Falcons had another outstanding offensive lineman join Kenn in the front-five in the form of multi-time Pro Bowler Bill Fralic. They played together for all eight of Fralic’s seasons with the Falcons.

But it wasn’t just durability and consistency that made Kenn such a special offensive tackle. He was an incredibly quick player, rarely getting beat for sacks coming off the edge. Even more impressive, the guy was hardly ever penalized. Perhaps most impressive, keep in mind that he only played on four playoff teams in his Falcons career.

So why is that so significant? Well, that indicates that his team often trailed in ball games, meaning Atlanta was forced into obvious passing downs early. In essence, would be down by multiple touchdowns and it was Kenn’s responsibility to keep the lies of Steve Bartkowski, Dave Archer and Chris Miller upright.

Though he last played in 1994, Kenn’s chances to earn Canton enshrinement could happen as to some point. With the help of his daughter, Kenn was a semifinalist for induction back in 2015. It did take Humphrey a ridiculously long time to have his day in the Ohio sun. Together, Kenn and Humphrey were inducted into the Falcons Ring of Honor in 2008.