Nobis a Hall-worthy bird
While Deion figures to be first Falcon in, an old Atlanta LB deserves consideration, too
Oh, sure, tailback Eric Dickerson and wide receiver Tommy McDonald, both Hall of Fame members, have some Atlanta ties. But those connections are flimsy, to say the least: Longtime Los Angeles Rams standout Dickerson played four games for the Falcons in his final season, '93, and former Philadelphia Eagles star McDonald played 14 contests in 1967.
So who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame from a franchise that has almost as many last-place divisional finishes (13) as nonlosing years (14, not counting the 1982 strike-truncated campaign) in its mostly miserable 44-year history?How about Tommy Nobis?
In 11 seasons, he was named five times to the Pro Bowl, was once honored as an All-Pro and was the NFL's defensive rookie of the year in 1966. That season, records indicate, Nobis made 294 tackles in 14 games. OK, so the number is preposterous, given that it would mean a 21-tackle average per game. Tackle totals are hard to gauge in that period, for sure.But even if Nobis made just half as many stops as those for which media guides credit him, that still would be an unbelievable season. By comparison, the NFL's top tackler this past season, San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis, had 152 in 16 games. The most dominant middle linebacker of Nobis' era, Dick Butkus of Chicago, was one of the all-time great defenders. Butkus played in a city where he garnered headlines and the NFL had a history. Nobis was burdened with helping write the history, such as it is, of the Falcons.