The first conference title game to feature two "dome" teams was marked as much for the back-and-forth play in regulation - as seen by Falcons' Jessie Tuggle exchanging words with Minnesota's Chris Carter - as its dramatic ending. With 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Falcons trailed the Vikings 27-17. The Falcons narrowed the score with a Morten Andersen field goal and caught a huge break when Minnesota's kicker Gary Anderson missed a 38-yard attempt - his only miss of the season. With 2:07 left in the game, the Falcons drove down the field and tied the game on a Terance Mathis 16-yard touchdown grab with 49 seconds left, setting up overtime ...

1998 Super Bowl team takes a walk down memory lane 

Robinson’s arrest help to derail their Super Bowl bid 

Here are some of the favorite memories from the Falcons’ appearance in Super Bowl XXXIII in January 1999:

DAN REEVES, head coach 

“It was a great team effort. The whole season was just a special year. It certainly ended up on a high note. Unfortunately we didn’t play as well as you have to play. When you get to the Super Bowl, you have to play your very best. We had some distractions and didn’t play as well as we could play and got beat. 

“It was just a great year. We had a lot of things that happened with the team coming together and playing as well as it did. It started the year before with a good run.”

CHUCK SMITH, defensive end

“When I got a chance to be one of the captains in the Super Bowl, walking to midfield with Jessie Tuggle next to me, the ultimate warrior Falcon. Standing out there looking at John Elway in the eye. Looking at Terrell Davis and hearing John say, ‘Hey man, take it easy on me today.’ I’m out there acting a fool, trying to be a crazy maniac. But it was just an unbelievable moment.

“When I came into the league, the Falcons hadn’t had a double-digit sacker is 16 years, then they bring in this little kid from (the University of) Tennessee. The next thing you know, I’m out there for the coin toss at the Super Bowl representing my state and the team that I always loved.” (Smith is from Athens.)

JESSIE “The Hammer” TUGGLE, middle linebacker

“At that particular time, that was in my 12th year in the (NFL). It was a big deal to me because I’d waited a long time to get to the Super Bowl. Being a captain and going on the field was real cool. It was an experience that you’ll never forget. Even after all of these years, we played in Super Bowl XXXIII, now after the Super Bowl at this time of the year they air some of the old Super Bowls. It’s still funny when I see myself out there.”


“There weren’t many (fond memories). It kind of stopped after Cher sung the national anthem. I did have the first point of the game and that was cool. I also have the distinction of missing the shortest field goal in Super Bowl history. We moved the ball. It was a great week in Miami, having family and friends there. The whole vibe was good until Saturday when the whole thing went down with Eugene (Robinson getting arrested for soliciting a prostitute not far from the team’s hotel.) I don’t want to rehash that, but it kind of threw a wrench in the wheel.

“Momentum is so important going into that type of game. ... What we were fighting was that Denver had experience. They beat the Packers the year before, and this was Elway’s last year. There was a ton of mojo in their corner. 

“We had to keep it clean and stay with that as far as the energy and as far as the mojo, you know what I mean. We didn’t do that. That’s kind of what my memory was. 

“(With Robinson’s arrest) the air went out of the balloon. It was depressing. ... We moved the ball early. We had to settle for a field. I missed one in the red zone and then on the very next play Denver threw a bomb to Rod Smith. I think that Eugene was one-on-one on him. That was a 10-point swing. That didn’t help.”

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