This is essentially the halfway mark for this series as we started back in June with the best Atlanta Falcons to wear numbers 90 through 99. We are now onto numbers 50 through 59.
Of course, this means that we are now entering the final stretch until the Falcons' 2023 season. All you have to do is wait 50 days to watch players like Bijan Robinson and Drake London help the Dirty Birds hopefully start their season off on a high note.
The best players to wear each number in the 50s with 50 days until kickoff for the Atlanta Falcons
This is the most exciting set of jersey numbers for the Atlanta Falcons to this point. It is full of some of the greatest players to ever take the field for the Falcons. Numbers 55 to 58 each hold an all-time great player.
Here are the best players to wear jersey numbers 50 to 59:
#59: John Rade, LB (1983-1991)
John Rade spent nine years in the NFL, all with the Atlanta Falcons. While he did miss some games during his career, he did start in 112 games and play in 122 games. He led the Falcons in tackles for numerous years and had a period of six years where he racked up 100+ tackles four times.
#58: Jessie Tuggle, LB (1987-2000)
Jessie 'The Hammer' Tuggle is one of the most underrated players in NFL history and should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hammer was an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State who went on to make 1,805 tackles, 21 sacks, 10 fumble recoveries, and 10 forced fumbles. Tuggle made five Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team and should have made many more.
He played in all 16 games in 10 of his 14 seasons. He totaled 100+ tackles in a season nine times, 150+ tackles six times, and 200+ tackles twice. And for those of you who didn't know, his son is someone by the name of Grady Jarrett. That family has done a lot for the Falcons.
#57: Jeff Van Note, C (1969-1986)
The Atlanta Falcons really did have some great players during the early parts of their existence and Jeff Van Note is certainly one of them. Van Note went to the Unversity of Kentucky as a fullback, was switched to linebacker, was drafted in the 11th round of the 1969 NFL Draft, and then the Falcons moved him to center. He played in 246 games over 18 seasons with the Falcons and made six Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams. Again, how is he not in the Hall of Fame?!
#56: Keith Brooking, LB (1998-2008)
Yet another great linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons. Keith Brooking, the Georgia Tech alum, spent 11 seasons with the Falcons. He made 1,133 tackles, 12 interceptions, eight forced fumbles, ten fumble recoveries, 44 tackles for loss, and 17 sacks in his 161 games in Atlanta. Brooking also made the Pro Bowl five straight times from 2001 to 2005.
#55: John Abraham, DE (2006-2012)
John Abraham was traded to the Falcons in 2006 and became something this franchise has seen so little of—a franchise pass rusher. There weren't many players who were feared more than Abraham during his time in the league. He was a monster who had four double-digit sack seasons and 68.5 sacks overall with the Falcons. You also have to throw in his 24 forced fumbles and 79 tackles for loss.
#54: Fulton Kuykendall, LB (1975-1984)
When your nickname is 'Captain Crazy' you deserve recognition. Fulton Kuykendall played in 123 games and had three interceptions, one touchdown, nine fumble recoveries, and ten sacks in his ten seasons with the Falcons.
#53: Mike Peterson, LB (2009-2012)
Mike Peterson isn't the most famed player in Falcons history but he played in 63 games with four interceptions, four forced fumbles, 207 tackles, and 20 tackles for loss. He was better known as a linebacker for the Colts and Jaguars. His brother is also running back Adrian Peterson—just not that running back named Adrian Peterson, this one was a bit less famous, but he did go to GA Tech.
#52: Matt Stewart, LB (2001-2004)
Again, not the most exciting number for the Falcons, but Matt Steward played in all but one game during his four seasons and had 239 tackles and seven sacks.
#51: Alex Mack, C (2016-2020)
Here is a name you undoubtedly recognize. Alex Mack was a transformative player for the Atlanta Falcons. I strongly believe the Falcons never would have come close to the Super Bowl without Alex Mack. He was a warrior who deserves to make the Hall of Fame when he is eligible. All told, he played in 78 games with the Falcons and made three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams.
#50: Greg Brezina, LB (1968-1979)
It was either Greg Brezina or the linebacker who joined the team the year after Brezina's final season with the Atlanta Falcons, Buddy Curry. I went with Brezina because of the length of his career with Atlanta. He played in 151 games and had 14 fumbles recoveries and 26 sacks.
The rest of the series: