The anniversary celebration continues…
Bill Simmons once coined the term “irrational confidence” to describe an NBA player that plays with far more self-esteem that what his game actually dictates.
If one NFL team ever embodied this concept, it turned out to be the 1991 Atlanta Falcons.
Tenants of the Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, the Falcons developed an identity in large part thanks to their head coach, the brash Jerry Glanville.
Prior to arriving in Atlanta, Glanville coached the Houston Oilers but numerous playoff flops led to his dismissal. Once Glanville hit Atlanta, he changed the team’s cultural.
Gone were the traditional red and white jerseys. Now, the Falcons wore black and so did their head coach, who roamed the sidelines in a black trench coat, resembling an extra in a cowboy-western flick.
Entering 1991, the 49ers were still kings of the NFC West but doubt clouded their season. Joe Montana was out with an elbow injury that would sideline him for the entire season. Yet, the Niners could still fall back on Steve Young, who was one of the NFL’s best backups.
However, the Niners and the division’s other primary contender lacked one thing…M.C. Hammer.
During the ’91 season, the Falcons amassed comeback victories and adopted a new fan, the aforementioned Hammer. On multiple occasions, Hammer appeared on the sidelines during Falcons games.
In fact, Atlanta took on Hammer’s hit song “2 Legit 2 Quit” as its theme song.
Was Atlanta a great team? Nope. Despite being armed with Sanders, a future of Hall of Fame cornerback, the Falcons allowed the most touchdown passes in the NFL (28) and were responsible for one of the worst defensive performances of the modern era.
During a November loss at Washington, Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien completed 16 of 31 passes for 442 yards and six touchdown passes.
Washington crushed Atlanta 56-17. How bad was Atlanta that day? Down to their third string quarterback, Glanville opted to put in a little-used rookie quarterback out of Southern Mississippi.
Whatever happened to that kid, anyhow?
Nonetheless, from Hammer to Glanville to Deion Sanders to Andre Rison, the ’91 Falcons had one mighty bark. Their bite was another story. Atlanta finished 10-6 and advanced to the playoffs as a wild card team.
After overcoming New Orleans on the road in the wild card round, they ran into the Redskins again and fell decisively, 24-7 in RFK Stadium.
Nonetheless, the 1991 Atlanta Falcons gave us something few NFL teams do these days…an identity AND personality AND a catchy rap theme song.
They were great for the game in 1991. Their success was fleeting though.
After four years and just one playoff win, Glanville was fired after the 1993.
Categories: Atlanta Falcons