“Mr. Falcon,” Tommy Nobis, played in Atlanta from 1966-76. Nobis was Atlanta’s No. 1 pick in the NFL draft out of Texas. With the Texas Longhorns (1963–1965), Nobis averaged nearly 20 tackles a game. He won the Outland Trophy for the best lineman in the country as a senior. In Atlanta, Nobis quickly became the face of the franchise. Nobis won Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl in 1966. He averaged close to 18 tackles a game his first year. Nobis made five Pro Bowl teams during an 11-year car

Tommy Nobis, Dan Reeves not selected for Pro Football Hall of Fame’s centennial class 

Former Falcons linebacker Tommy Nobis and former coach Dan Reeves, who were finalists for the Special Centennial Class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, were not selected for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.

The class was announced Wednesday on NFL Network. 

Nobis died in December 2017.

In March 2018, NFL.com named Nobis as the top Falcon not in the Hall of Fame. 

Reeves, who coached the Broncos (1981-92), New York Giants (1993-96) and the Falcons (1997-2003) took four teams to the Super Bowl. His 1998 Falcons team was the first team in franchise history to advance to the Super Bowl. 

Nobis and other Falcons have been hurt in the voting process by the team’s lack of success in the team’s early years. 

It took the Falcons six seasons to post a winning season, 13 seasons to make the playoffs and 15 seasons to win a division title. The team went to its first Super Bowl after the 1998 season and returned after the 2016 season.

The Falcons lost both Super Bowls, including a historic collapse after leading New England 28-3 in Super Bowl LI. 

Nobis was the first pick of the 1966 draft and set an NFL record with his 294 tackles. He was named the NFL defensive rookie of the year.

Nobis played 11 seasons and went to five Pro Bowls. He was an all-decade selection in the 1960s, joining fellow middle backers Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke, both of whom were first-ballot Hall of Famers. 

Nobis isn’t the only Falcon who has been shunned by the Hall of Fame voters, according to Rick Gosselin of the Talk of Fame Network. 

“Some of the NFL’s finest offensive line play was on display in Atlanta for a span of 26 consecutive seasons from 1969 through 1994,” Gosselin wrote in a 2016 article. “George Kunz was a right tackle who played the position at an elite level. So did Jeff Van Note at center, Mike Kenn at left tackle and Bill Fralic at right guard.”

He noted that those players were recognized for their fine play during their careers, but not in retirement. He noted that none of the former Falcons have been a Hall of Fame finalist, and only Kenn has been a semifinalist.

A total of 10 seniors, three contributors, including the controversial pick of former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, and two coaches were selected as part of the Class of 2020.

This class was not selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s regular group of selectors, which had spurned Tagliabue’s nomination in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2017.

The Centennial Slate of Enshrinees will be joined in the Class of 2020 by five Modern-Era players who will be elected through the normal process the day before Super LIV in Miami. 

 Here’s the Centennial Slate which was picked to help commemorate the NFL’s 100th year anniversary.

COACHES 

  • Bill Cowher – 1992-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Jimmy Johnson – 1989-93 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins 

CONTRIBUTORS

*Deceased

  • *Steve Sabol, Administrator/President – 1964-2012 NFL Films
  • Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
  • *George Young, Contributor/General Manager – 1968-74 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-97 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

SENIORS

*Deceased

  • Harold Carmichael, WR – 1971-83 Philadelphia Eagles, 1984 Dallas Cowboys
  • Jim Covert, T – 1983-90 Chicago Bears
  • *Bobby Dillon, S – 1952-59 Green Bay Packers
  • Cliff Harris, S – 1970-79 Dallas Cowboys
  • *Winston Hill, T – 1963-76 New York Jets, 1977 Los Angeles Rams
  • *Alex Karras, DT – 1958-62, 1964-70 Detroit Lions
  • Donnie Shell, S – 1974-87 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • *Duke Slater, T – 1922 Milwaukee Badgers, 1922-25 Rock Island Independents, 1926-31 Chicago Cardinals
  • *Mac Speedie, E – 1946-52 Cleveland Browns (AAFC/NFL)
  • *Ed Sprinkle, DE/LB/E – 1944-55 Chicago Bears

CENTENNIAL SLATE BLUE-RIBBON PANEL

The Centennial Slate Blue-Ribbon Panel was comprised of many members of the overall selection committee in addition to Hall of Famers, coaches, football executives and several leading historians. The panel considered nearly 300 nominees in the lengthy process to elect the slate. 

“This was the most thorough vetting of candidates in the Hall’s history and it needed to be. Our charge was to scour 100 years of professional football and find the most deserving candidates who have slipped through the cracks,” Gosselin said. “All 38 finalists for the Centennial Slate were Hall of Fame worthy, but we could only choose 15. I am proud to be a part of this process that honors these men who shaped the NFL in its first century."

  • Bill Belichick – New England Patriots head coach
  • Jarrett Bell – Hall of Fame Selector, USA Today
  • Gil Brandt – Pro Football Hall of Fame Contributor 
  • Joel Bussert – Former NFL Executive, Pro Football Historian 
  • John Clayton – Hall of Fame Selector, The Washington Post
  • Frank Cooney – Hall of Fame Selector, Sports Xchange 
  • John Czarnecki – Hall of Fame Selector, Fox Sports 
  • Rick Gosselin – Hall of Fame Selector, Talk of Fame Network
  • Elliot Harrison – Pro Football Historian and Long-time TV Analyst
  • Joe Horrigan – Retired Pro Football Hall of Fame Executive Director, Football Historian 
  • Ira Kaufman – Hall of Fame Selector, JoeBucsFan.com 
  • Dick LeBeau – Pro Football Hall of Fame Cornerback, Longtime NFL coach 
  • Jeff Legwold – Hall of Fame Selector, ESPN/ESPN.com 
  • John Madden – Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach 
  • John McClain – Hall of Fame Selector, Houston Chronicle 
  • Gary Myers – Hall of Fame Selector, Sports Illustrated  
  • Ozzie Newsome – Pro Football Hall of Fame Tight End, EVP Baltimore Ravens 
  • Sal Paolantonio – Hall of Fame Selector, Senior National Correspondent – ESPN
  • Carl Peterson – Longtime Pro Football Executive
  • Bill Polian – Pro Football Hall of Fame Contributor
  • Dan Pompei – Hall of Fame Selector, The Athletic
  • Charean Williams – Hall of Fame Selector, Pro Football Talk 
  • Chris Willis – Producer-Head of Research Library - NFL Films, Football Historian
  • Barry Wilner – Hall of Fame Selector, Associated Press
  • Ron Wolf – Pro Football Hall of Fame Contributor

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