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1966 Atlanta Falcons season

1966 Atlanta Falcons season
Head coach Norb Hecker
Home field Atlanta Stadium
Record 3-11-0
Division place 7th NFL Eastern
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season      Next season
N/A      1967 >

The 1966 Atlanta Falcons season was the NFL franchise's inaugural season. The Falcons finished in seventh place in the NFL Eastern Conference with a record of 3-11, ahead of only the New York Football Giants.


The Falcons attempted to acquire Green Bay Packers running back Jim Taylor. There were tensions in Green Bay because the Packers first round pick, Jim Grabowski would be groomed to take over for Taylor.[1] The signing of Grabowski upset Taylor but he stated he would leave Green Bay once his contract expired, therefore the Falcons could not acquire the running back.

NFL Draft

Due to the addition of the team for the 1966 NFL Season, the Falcons were alotted the first pick in all twenty rounds of the 1966 NFL Draft. As well as five compensatory picks and the end of the first five rounds.

Round Pick Player Position School
1 1 Tommy Nobis Linebacker Texas
1 16 Randy Johnson Quarterback Texas A&I
2 17 Nick Rassas Defensive Back Notre Dame
2 32 Jerry Jones Tackle Bowling Green
3 33 Mike Dennis Running Back Mississippi
3 48 Phil Sheridan Wide Receiver Notre Dame
4 49 Ken Reaves Defensive Back Virginia State
4 64 Willie Asbury Running Back Kent State
5 65 Bill Wolski Running Back Notre Dame
5 80 Martin Kahn Tackle North Texas State
6 81 Charley Casey Wide Receiver Florida
7 96 William Johnson Running Back University of the South
8 111 Bill Goss Linebacker Tulane
9 126 Bob Sanders Center North Texas State
10 141 Mike Bender Guard Arkansas
11 156 Steve Sloan Quarterback Alabama
12 171 Ken Hollister Tackle Indiana
13 186 Bob Collins Tackle South Carolina
14 201 Steve Ecker Kicker Shippensburg
15 216 Tom Tolleson Wide Receiver Alabama
16 231 Jim Vining Guard Rice
17 246 Lurley Archambeau Center Toledo
18 261 Doug Korver Center Southern Iowa
19 276 Walt Mainer Defensive Back Xavier
20 291 Bob Riggle Defensive Back Penn State

Regular season

The Falcons played their first game (preseason) on August 1, 1966 against the Philadelphia Eagles before a crowd of 26,072 at Atlanta Stadium. The Falcons would lose against the Eagles and would lose their first nine games in the regular season before finally getting their first franchise win on the road against the New York Giants, 27-16.[2] Former Giant Ernie Wheelwright scored two TD's receiving and ran for 51 more yards as QB Randy Johnson hit for a trio of TD's. Their first ever home victory was against the St. Louis Cardinals, 16-10 to a crowd of 57,169. The Falcons ended their inaugural season at 3-11, yet Tommy Nobis won the NFL Rookie of the Year Award and became the first Falcon named to the Pro Bowl.


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 11, 1966 Los Angeles Rams L 19-14
2 September 18, 1966 at Philadelphia Eagles L 23-10
3 September 25, 1966 at Detroit Lions L 28-10
4 October 2, 1966 Dallas Cowboys L 47-14
5 October 9, 1966 at Washington Redskins L 33-20
6 October 16, 1966 San Francisco 49ers L 44-7
7 October 23, 1966 at Green Bay Packers L 56-3
8 October 30, 1966 Cleveland Browns L 49-17
9 Bye
10 November 13, 1966 Baltimore Colts L 19-7
11 November 20, 1966 at New York Giants W 27-16
12 November 27, 1966 at Chicago Bears L 23-6
13 December 4, 1966 at Minnesota Vikings W 20-13
14 December 11, 1966 St. Louis Cardinals W 16-10
15 December 18, 1966 Pittsburgh Steelers L 57-33


NFL Eastern
Dallas Cowboys 10 3 1 .769 445 239 W-1
Cleveland Browns 9 5 0 .643 403 259 W-1
Philadelphia Eagles 9 5 0 .643 326 340 W-1
St. Louis Cardinals 8 5 1 .615 264 265 L-3
Washington Redskins 7 7 0 .500 351 355 L-1
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 8 1 .385 316 347 W-2
Atlanta Falcons 3 11 0 .214 204 437 L-1
New York Giants 1 12 1 .077 263 501 L-8


Player Position
Randy Johnson QB
Steve Sloan QB
Dennis Claridge QB
Junior Coffey RB
Perry Lee Dunn RB
Rudy Johnson RB
Larry Morris RB
Ron Rector RB
Preston Ridlehuber RB
Charlie Scales RB
Jimmy Sidle RB
Ernie Wheelwright RB
Bill Wolski RB

Awards and records


  • Falcons on Pro Football Reference
  • Falcons on

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