With no sports going on, Chase and I decided to dive into some Falcons history and build our dream all-time Falcons squad on each side of the ball, starting with the offense. A historic 2016 Falcons machine combined with legends from the past creates a juggernaut that could rival any all-time team.
A preface for this exercise, we’re taking into consideration:
- The careers for these guys IN an Atlanta uniform. Guys like Eric Dickerson and Brett Favre aren’t going to be on here.
- Considering every player is in their prime while playing in Atlanta (think 2012 Tony Gonzalez, not 2004 in Kansas City)
For the most part, their primes were spent in Atlanta anyways. If you think we missed anyone, let us know your opinion. The defense will be coming soon as well!
QB: Matt Ryan
Backup: Mike Vick
As sentimental as we all are for Michael Vick, there’s no debate here for me. It says a lot about Matt Ryan that he beats out possibly the most electric player in NFL history. He will be in the top 10 in NFL History for yards after the 2020 season, and for the most part, he’s kept pace with his 2016 MVP Season
2016 (All-Pro, MVP): 69.9% CMP, 4944 Yards, 38/7 TD-INT (NFL Leader with 79.4 QBR)
2017: 64.7% CMP, 4095 Yards, 20/12 TD-INT
2018: 69.4% CMP, 4924 Yards, 35/7 TD-INT (Not named to the Pro Bowl….????)
2019: 66.2% CMP, 4466 Yards, 26/14 TD-INT (NFL Leader in Completions)
Matt’s always good for 4,000, doing so in nine straight seasons (2nd in NFL history). He’s no slouch in the playoffs either:
Ryan Career in the Playoffs: 67.5% CMP, 2672 Yards, 20/7 TD-INT (100.8 Passer Rating in Playoffs — 4th all-time. 144.1 Passer Rating in Super Bowl, 4th all time.)
Matt Ryan should be a Hall of Famer. End of story.
Subbing in Mike Vick now and again is just icing on the cake. 4.3 speed with a rocket arm as a change of pace is something that will give any defensive coordinator nightmares. Plus, we could have another GOATed Wildcat QB in Mo Sanu (more on him later).
RB: Warrick Dunn
Backup: Jamal Anderson
RB2: Gerald Riggs
Backup: Michael Turner
As amazing as a person as Warrick Dunn is, he’s also my RB1. After coming from division rival Tampa Bay, he did nothing but eat next to Mike Vick. An All-Pro in 2005, Dunn was also a significant threat in the passing game. He’s what the Falcons thought they were getting in Devonta Freeman after they signed him to that lucrative contract following the 2016 season.
Dunn Career Rushing for ATL: 5,981 Yards & 30 TDs on 4.3 YPC
Dunn Career Receiving for ATL: 253 Catches for 1635 Yards & 6 TDs
He’s now a minority owner of the Falcons and continues to do amazing things for the Atlanta community.
Gerald Riggs was a VERY close 2nd. He’s the Falcons all-time leading rusher and is 2nd in rushing TDs. He was also a threat out of the backfield, but I give Dunn the edge for being more of a three-down back.
Jamal Anderson has had his issues off the field, but he is still one of the best players to ever wear the red & black at his best. His pinnacle season was in 1998 when he carried the ball a jaw-dropping 410 times for 1,846 yards and tallied 14 scores on the ground. He was named an All-Pro for his efforts. Averaging 115 yards per game in a season will land you on my team, even if it was a short peak.
Michael Turner rumbled to 17 TDs in 2008 and was named an All-Pro. Standing 5’10 and 245 pounds, he was a problem to bring down, finishing his Falcons career with 60 TDs before retiring after the 2012 season. I wanted to sneak in Eric Dickerson, but he played one season for the Falcons and ran for 93 yards in four games.
FB: William Andrews
Backup: Patrick DiMarco
William Andrews is a name a lot of younger Falcons fans may not be familiar with, but he was a force with Atlanta for seven years. Andrews was a mean, punishing back — and at his peak, he was Jerome Bettis before Jerome Bettis. His best season in 1983 saw him rush for 1567 yards and tally 2176 yards from scrimmage, but knee injuries cost him two seasons after that. While he’s technically classified as a running back, his injury troubles pushed him to a Tight End/H-Back/Fullback role in 1986, which would be his last season in the NFL. When he retired, he was 24th in NFL History in rushing, and his tenacious blocking and thumper attitude gets him the nod here.
Patrick DiMarco was a vital piece of the Falcons from 2013-2016 and made a Pro Bowl. No flashy stats, but he was a critical piece of what made Kyle Shanahan’s running game so effective. He’s now a big part of a potent Bills rushing attack that ranked 7th in the NFL.
WR1: Julio Jones
Backup: Calvin Ridley
WR2: Roddy White
Backup: Alfred Jenkins
WR3: Andre “Bad Moon” Rison
Backup: Devin Hester
Harry Douglas and Mo Sanu were so tough to snub here, but when you look at Jenkins’ TD numbers in his entire nine-year career in Atlanta, it isn’t a debate.
Douglas: 3130 Yards on 258 Catches with 8 TDs in 91 Games
Sanu: 2507 Yards on 225 Catches with 13 TDs in 46 Games
Jenkins: 6267 Yards on 360 catches with 40 TDs in 110 Games
Roddy White is one of the most criminally underrated receivers of all time. He’s still the Falcons all-time leader in catches (Julio will pass him this season), finishing his career with over 10,000 yards and 63 TDs. That’s good enough for 38th and 68th all-time (including TEs), respectively. White had six straight seasons of 1100+ yards and was an All-Pro/League Leader in catches in 2010. FALCONS AND NFL LEGEND.
Andre Rison is another legend and an all-time nickname guy. He only spent four years in Atlanta, but he made them count, catching 423 balls for 5633 yards and 56 scores. An All-Pro in 1990 and the NFL League Leader in TDs in 1993 makes him a mortal lock as my slot receiver.
Jenkins separates himself with a jaw-dropping 17.4 YPR. I love Mo Sanu, I want him on this list, and I want him back when his contract is up after this season. I also wanted to throw Turbo Gabriel in for what magic he provided us, but I must have Devin Hester on this squad returning kicks. He’s the all-time NFL leader in kick/punt return TDs. I was lucky enough to watch him break the record on MNF against Tampa Bay in person.
I could sit here all day and type Julio Jones’ accolades. My GOAT of the 21st century.
- Highest YPG in NFL History with 96.2
- Fastest player in NFL History to 10,000 Yards
- Fastest player in NFL History to 12,000 Yards
- 2nd most 1,300 Yards Season (6, Rice Leads with 7)
- 4th all-time in 100-yard receiving games
- 3rd all-time in 125-yard receiving games
- 4th all-time in 150-yard receiving games
- 2nd player ever with six consecutive 100-yard games
- Falcons Franchise Leader in Yards, 100-yard games
TE1: Tony Gonzalez
Backup: Austin Hooper
TE2: Alge Crumpler
Backup: Jacob Tamme
Easy pick here with the GOAT. Tony Gonzalez is also one of the best locker room guys you could ask for. His career stats are truly amazing, especially before the happy pass era that is the NFL today… and he still holds an astounding 23 NFL records, including games played, receptions, and yards by a tight end. His longevity isn’t to be overlooked either — the six-time All-Pro owns the records for most consecutive seasons with 70+ receptions, most seasons with 1000+ yards by a TE, and most 2+ TD seasons in NFL History with 17…all while not missing a start.
Gonzalez Career (KC & ATL) : 1325 Receptions, 15,127 Yards, 111 TDs.
Gonzalez Career (ATL): 409 Receptions, 4187 Yards, 35 TDs
Alge Crumpler over Austin Hooper may raise some eyebrows, but Crumpler is one of my favorite Falcons ever to suit up. Over his stretch of four seasons with four straight Pro Bowls, Crump hauled in 375 passes (118 in 2005 and 103 in 2006) for 2983 yards and 22 scores. His longevity, combined with his menacing run-blocking ability, gives him the edge over the new Cleveland Brown Hooper. Jacob Tamme is a bit of a strange selection, but Atlanta doesn’t have a storied history at tight end. He was plagued by injuries in Atlanta and retired after 2016, but he did average 11 YPC in 2015.
OL: Alex Mack
OL: RC Thielemann
OL: Mike Kenn
OL: Todd McClure
OL: Jeff Van Note
OL: Jake Matthews
OL: Bill Fralic
OL: Bob Whitfield
OL: Tyson Clabo
OL: Ryan Schraeder
Not going to drone on about offensive line stats, these guys were just mostly staples across the front for Atlanta for many years. I didn’t account for position here, and the 2nd team is much more tackle heavy — the first team is littered with elite guards and centers. I could never choose between Alex Mack & Todd McClure anyways.
With Matt Ryan, Warrick Dunn, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Todd McClure, and Alex Mack, this team is not only crazy talented; their character is off the charts.