Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Falcon Numbers 8 and 9

Any Falcon who played without a facemask would be something, wouldn't he? Only one did - Pro Football Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald was one of the expansion team’s leading receivers. His storybook career, combined with the lack of any other standout number eight, makes McDonald the greatest Falcon to wear the number.

UVA’s Matt Schaub backed up Michael Vick but might could have done just as well. Backup QB’s Chris Redman from Louisville, Stanford’s Steve Dils, and Princeton’s Bob Holly also wore the number.

Kenny Vinyard was another much-maligned kicker in the early days.

Yankee Yogi Berra. Laker Kobe Bryant. NFL Hall of Famers Steve Young, Larry Wilson, and Troy Aikman. Also Saint Archie Manning and QB Mark Brunell.

Braves: Justin Upton was a worse defender than advertised. Bob Uecker caught knuckleballs. Young infielder Jase Peterson could surpass slugging all-star catcher Javy Lopez as the greatest Brave number eight. Veteran 1B Bob Watson. Free agent flop Jody Davis from Gainesville. Leader/funny man/catcher David Ross was missed when he left.

UGA: QB Buck Belue led the Dawgs to their 1980 national championship. Tony Flack made All-SEC. Also Terrence Edwards and AJ Green.

Tech: QB Damarius Bilbo was a bust. WR Demarius Thomas was up and down at Tech, accepting clothing money that cost the Jackets their ACC Championship. In Denver Peyton Manning finally taught him how to act like a grown up.

Norm Johnson kicked in Atlanta four years. He played the first part of his career in Seattle. The greatest number nine by default.

Michael Koenen played for the Falcons six years. It was his punt that was blocked early in the first game back in the Superdome, setting the tone for the Saints blowout. Wingback Larry Fortner played one season.

Tech: Future Falcon H back Ken Whisenhunt quarterbacked the Jackets to an upset tie over number one ranked Notre Dame as a freshman, before moving to tight end. Kerry Watkins was a dynamic receiver. Josh Nesbitt was loved by many. QB Rudy Allen passed out of Pepper Rodgers’ wishbone. Scott Sisson’s kicks were crucial to the 1990 national championship.

UGA: kicker Allen Leavitt made All-America.

Braves: Shortstops Marty Perez and Pepe Frias played during the lean years. Ozzie Virgil came over in the Dale Murphy trade. Terry Pendleton won MVP. Local boy Marquis Grissom played for the World Series winners.

The Hawks retired hall of famer Bob Pettit’s number nine. NFL QB’s Sonny Jurgensen, Jim McMahon, and Drew Brees. HOF punter Ray Guy grew up in Georgia.

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