The 80s were not kind to the Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons history has resulted in some terrible teams. The decade of the 1980s resulted in eight losing seasons with horrible football and many painful memories, for those of us that can remember.

The decade of the 1980s will go down in Atlanta Falcons history as long and excruciating. Throughout the ten years, the Falcons compiled an overall record of 57-94-1.

The decade started off on a high note as the Falcons went 12-4 in 1980, but lost in heartbreaking fashion in the divisional playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys 30-27. Led by quarterback Steve Bartkowski, the Falcons blew a big second half, late lead.  Sound familiar?

This was another all too familiar excruciatingly playoff loss that Falcons fans are all too familiar with.

The remainder of the decade of the 1980s was a complete disaster. 1982 was the only other winning season with a record of 5-4, and that was the strike-shortened season. The Falcons had some very bad head coaches in the 1980s such as Marion Campbell as Dan Henning. They also had a string of bad luck and horrific injuries.

Their best running back – William Andrews suffered a career-threatening knee injury on the last day of training camp in 1984. He would then be sidelined for 2 years before returning for the 1986 season. He was forced to retire soon after that.

Gerald Riggs went on to replace Andrews and became one of the lone bright spots in 1984 and 1985, amassing over 3,000 total yards with 23 total touchdowns in those two seasons. The Falcons had 4-12 records in these two back to back season.

The overall misery far outweighed the lone bright spots, though throughout the overall decade. The Falcons started off 4-0 in 1986 with quarterback David Archer at the helm but collapsed to a 7-8-1 overall record. 1987 was the worst of the decade for the Atlanta Falcons record-wise at 3-12. Quarterback Chris Miller was the team’s first-round selection.

He became the starting quarterback in 1988 as the Atlanta Falcons lost seven of their first eight games. The Falcons also endured some tragedies in the latter part of the decade.  Sadly, three players on the roster died. David Croudip, a cornerback, died in October of 1988 of cocaine ingestion.

Two players were killed during the 1989 season.  Offensive tackle Ralph Norwood and tight end Brad Beckman were tragically killed in auto accidents.

Fortunes turned for the franchise in 1989 when the Atlanta Falcons drafted the flamboyant defensive back from Florida State – Deion Sanders.  “Prime Time” helped increase the Falcons fan base by tenfold after his arrival and exuded flashiness, which was backed up by his performance on the field.

All in all the decade of the 1980s for the Falcons was a complete disaster. They played in front of sparse crowds with bags over their heads at Fulton County Stadium. The franchise was in dire need of new life, a new regime, new ownership and most of all winning football teams!

Next: What becomes of the Atlanta Falcons off-season?

It’s fun to look back and see highlights including all the follies, miscues and retro team colors and uniforms. What is not fun are the painful, miserable memories of what Falcons fans endured for pretty much ten years.

Load Comments