Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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Alex Mack, Atlanta Falcons
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44. . C. (2016-present). Alex Mack. 26. player

  • 2x Second-Team All-Pro (2016-17)
  • 2x Pro Bowl (2016-17)
  • Started at center in Super Bowl LI with a broken leg!

Yes, Alex Mack may have only played two seasons so far in Falcons uniform. However, there is absolutely no doubt how important he has been to the Dirty Birds’ gridiron success the last two seasons. Without him, Atlanta doesn’t make the playoffs the last two years and has no shot at even getting to the Super Bowl.

So let’s begin, why is Mack so valuable to the Falcons? Do you seriously want to relive the three-year center debacle of 2013-15 for Atlanta between Todd McClure’s retirement and Mack’s arrival in free agency? It was a lot of Peter Konz and Joe Hawley and Mike Person snapping the ball on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome turf like it was a hockey puck against the arch rival Saints on Thursday Night Football! It was that bad.

Mack had a previous working relationship with then Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan from their time together with the Cleveland Browns in 2014. After seven years of a whole bunch of not winning, Mack left Northeast Ohio to sign with Atlanta in 2016 free agency on a sweet five-year, $45 million contract. Atlanta’s offensive line improved immediately.

Offensive linemen like Andy Levitre, Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder elevated their play upon Mack’s arrival. Mack has so far demonstrated an elite ability to run the zone blocking scheme, as well as giving his quarterback Matt Ryan plenty of time to throw from a clean pocket.

In his first year in Atlanta, the Falcons went 11-5, won the NFC South for the first time since 2012 and made it to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998. Atlanta had one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history.

While Atlanta crushed the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 NFC Championship, in what was the final game played at the Georgia Dome, Mack suffered a broken leg. Though he joined the Jack Youngblood Club of playing in a Super Bowl with a broken leg, that proved to be problematic in the second half of Super Bowl LI.

Lady Gaga’s halftime set went a little long and the Falcons’ offensive line collapsed around an injured Mack. People tend to forget that when they discuss 28-3. Mack bounced back with what was his fifth Pro Bowl season to date in 2017.

If his next three years in Falcons uniform were as good as his first two, Mack stands a realistic chance of earning eventual Canton enshrinement. He’s been that good at center for going on a decade in the NFL with two different franchises.