Friday Flashback: 1966 Atlanta Falcons

Vic Stein

It was 50 years ago when the Atlanta Falcons played their first season in the National Football League (NFL).  They were granted an expansion team in June 1965 and played their first game on September 11, 1966 losing to the Los Angeles Rams 19-14.

The Falcons lost their first nine games until beating the New York Giants 27-16 for their first win in franchise history.  They would end up winning three games in their first season to finish 3-11 for seventh place in the NFL’s Eastern Conference.

The first head coach was Norb Hecker who had been the defensive backs coach for the Green Bay Packers.  Hecker continued coaching in various positions and retired after coaching the Amsterdam Admirals of the World League of American Football in 1995.

Randy Johnson started 11 of the 14 games at quarterback for the Falcons.  He passed for 1,795 yards with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.  Johnson played for the Falcons until 1970.  He also played for the New York Giants, Honolulu Hawaiians of the World Football League, Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers.

Junior Coffey was the team’s leading rusher with 722 yards and scored four touchdowns.   Coffey finished his career with 2,037 yards and 10 touchdowns.  After football, Coffey became a racehorse trainer.

Linebacker Tommy Nobis won the NFL Rookie of the Year Award and became the first Falcon named to the Pro Bowl.  Nobis played for the Falcons for 10 seasons before retiring after the 1976 season.   Today Nobis is a co-founder and board of directors member of the Tommy Nobis Center which helps to develop and provide job training, employment and vocational support for youth and adults with disabilities.

The Falcons would not have their first winning season until 1971 when they finished 7-6-1.   Their first playoff appearance came in 1978.







Driving 101: Patience


If you asked me one thing that is a problem in traffic and I would immediately say it is impatient drivers.  Impatience causes a lot of frustrations on the roadway.

Yesterday was a good example as I was getting on the Interstate, another driver was tailgating me and flailing their arms at me because I wasn’t doing it fast enough.  The problem was that I had to wait for the drivers in front of me to do what they were going to do.  I couldn’t push them.  Once we got on the interstate, the driver behind me jerked their vehicle into the other lane and raced away.

I’m sure you have had your own experience with impatient drivers too.  Common examples are those who tailgate and trying to push you out of their way or drivers who fly by you on the left so they can cut in front of you to the exit or those who want to make two lanes before there are actually two lanes.

Most of these impatient moves actually don’t end up saving the impatient driver very much, if even a few seconds down the road.

Now I admit that I am not the perfect model for patience and I don’t like being delayed by slower drivers ahead of me either but some take their impatience to the extreme.  There is quite a driver arrogance when you honk legitimately at someone for being in the wrong and they either honk back at you or flip you off.     I had a guy do that one day when HE ran a stop sign and I honked at him.  He flipped me off and keep going.

Yes, we all have somewhere to be.  Unfortunately there are some who are not disciplined enough to leave in enough time to get to their location on time without having to use the roads as their personal NASCAR race to get to their destination.  When someone is impatient with me during the morning commute, I will make it a joke that THEY are the only ones who have to get to work.

Let’s all relax and take a deep breath.  Quit trying to one-up other drivers or force your way in traffic.  It’s a small world and we’re all trying to get somewhere.  Let’s get there safely.

Some places in Nashville that are in need of patience:

  • Drivers who are trying to get on I-65 North when other drivers are going straight on Rosa Parks.  I have seen people drive up on the sidewalk to get around.  It’s funny because they are in a hurry to get in line on I-65.
  • Drivers getting off the Broadway exit on I-40 who immediately try to make it two lanes before it actually has two lanes.
  • Drivers either entering downtown from I-40 exit ramp or those on the frontage road that insist on ignoring the red light.

Nearly ever time you drive, you will see another driver do something impatient or even reckless.  Take a deep breath and let it go.  None of us like injustice but be patient.   Being impatient will only make it worse.   Because there are so many people on the roads, we have the false sense of negativity of others and the idea that we will never see them again so we can act however we want.

Come on Nashville drivers!  Be patient!  They say we are one of the friendliest cities in America but there is little evidence of that on the highways.




Ottawa upsets Calgary in Canada’s Super Bowl


While we are entering into the last month of the National Football League’s regular season, the Canadian Football League (CFL) crowned their most unlikely champion as the Ottawa Redblacks upset the Calgary Stampeders, 39-33 in overtime to claim the 104th Grey Cup in Toronto.

The Stampeders had dominated the CFL the entire season finishing with a 15-2-1 regular season record and easily dispatched of the British Columbia Lions 42-15 in the playoffs.

The Ottawa Redblacks were playing in just their third season since bringing at team back to Ottawa.  The Redblacks ended a 40-year championship drought for the City of Ottawa that involved three different CFL franchises.  They also became the fourth-fastest expansion team to win a championship.

The Redblacks finished the regular season with an 8-9-1 record which was good enough to win the Eastern Division title.

In the Grey Cup, the Redblacks jumped out to a surprising 27-7 lead and held a 33-23 lead with six minutes left in the game.  With under two minutes left to play, Stampeders’ wide receiver DaVaris Daniels scored a touchdown to close the lead to 33-30.  The Stampeders recovered the onside kick and drove to the two-yard line but had to kick a game-tying field goal as time expired to force overtime.

In the overtime, the Redblacks were on offense first and scored on a 18-yard pass from Henry Burris to Ernest Jackson.  Ottawa failed to convert on the two-point conversion but the Stampeders were unable to respond with a touchdown and an incomplete pass on fourth down sealed the win for the Redblacks.

Burris was named the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Player.  He completed 35-of-46 for 461 yards and three touchdowns.  Burris became the oldest quarterback to lead his team to a Grey Cup win at 41 years old.


Experience at the Ryman

ryman2Last night I attended my first concert at the Ryman with my wife and daughter.  A few months ago, my wife and I had toured the Ryman but actually attending a concert in this historic venue was something totally different.  The concert itself wasn’t that spectacular in my opinion with Kacey Musgraves performing her Christmas tour but sitting in the same place where country legends have played was amazing.  At times, when you heard that country “twang” you could sense what it was like when Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn or the other country greats have performed.

I’m not a country music fan and about the extent of my country music knowledge came from watching episodes of Hee Haw growing up but you could feel the spirit of country music past in the Ryman.

With the Ryman having originated as a church in 1892, you first get the feel of a church when you sit in the church pews.  The building became the home of the Grand Ole Opry in 1925 and remained there until 1974 when the Grand Ole Opry House opened at what is now the location of the Opry Mills mall and Opryland Hotel.

Although we had seats in the very last row of the balcony (thanks to an unlucky draw in the lottery on the day I bought the tickets) we still had a good view of the stage.  The acoustics were good and the vocals were easy to understand as the sounds bounced off the walls and ceiling of the historic building.

Some other interesting facts about the Ryman:

  • The Country Music Awards shows were performed and broadcast live from the Ryman from 1968 – 1973.
  • Ringo Starr recorded his 72nd birthday concert at the Ryman on July 7, 2012.
  • Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline made their Opry debuts at the Ryman.
  • The Johnny Cash Show was recorded and broadcast from the Ryman between 1969-1971.

Georgia High School Football Review: State Quarterfinals


Two more state champions from last season were eliminated in the quarterfinals.  Colquitt County and Westminster came up short in their games this weekend.

Colquitt County’s run ended with a 49-21 loss to Grayson in a game which wasn’t really close.  Grayson ran out to a 49-7 lead as running back Kurt Taylor rushed for 198 yards and Jamyest Williams ran for 100 yards.  I told you to look out for this team when the playoffs started.  They are definitely on a roll now and will play Mill Creek in the semifinals.

Westminster was knocked out by Peach County, 27-17 as the Trojans had 500 yards of total offense.  Peach County is in their ninth semifinal and will play Greater Atlanta Christian.  Greater Atlanta Christian worked overtime to eliminate Liberty County 44-38.  Davis Mills connected with Trent Fowler in the third overtime on a 23-yard touchdown pass then held on for the win.

Mary Persons and Blessed Trinity played a solid game as it came down to a 28-yard field goal with three seconds left.  Blessed Trinity’s Books Hosea had made four field goals in the game but missed the game winner.  Mary Persons will now play Cartersville in the semifinals.   In their only previous meeting, Cartersville won 21-17 in the 1991 semifinals.

Westlake finally cooled off Lowndes’ high-powered offense but needed a 39-yard field goal by James Miller as time expired to give the Lions for their first trip to the semifinals.  Westlake, which is the school that produced Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, will play Roswell next week.

The Class 6A semifinals will feature another Northside Warner Robins-Tucker matchup.  If you have followed this series, you can expect just about anything.  Northside leads the series 2-1 but they have all been nail-biters.  This will be the third time the teams have met in the semifinals.

Valdosta beat Stephenson, 31-21, to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2003.  The Wildcats will play Dalton which held on to beat Coffee 30-28.

Buford defeated Carrollton 34-27 to play in their 10th straight semifinal.  Buford will face Kell which had over 300 yards of offense to beat Woodland-Stockbridge 53-29.

In Class 2A, Dylan Johnson threw a 47-yard pass to Braylon Sanders with 17 seconds left to give Callaway a 35-24 win over Screven County.

Here are the semifinal matchups for each classification (last meeting):

Class 7A

  • Roswell at Westlake (first meeting)
  • Mill Creek at Grayson (Grayson 21-6, 2014 First Round)

Class 6A

  • Northside Warner Robins at Tucker (Northside 23-20, 2012 Quarterfinal)
  • Valdosta at Dalton (first meeting)

Class 5A

  • Stockbridge at Rome (first meeting)
  • Kell at Buford (first meeting)

Class 4A

  • Mary Persons at Cartersville (Cartersville 21-17, 1991 Semifinals)
  • Thomson at Jefferson (Thomson 42-20, Sept 2)

Class 3A

  • Greater Atlanta Christian at Peach County (first meeting)
  • Cedar Grove at Crisp County (first meeting)

Class 2A

  • Callaway at Benedictine (first meeting)
  • Hapeville at Fitzgerald (first meeting)

Class 1A (Public)

  • Emanuel County Institute at Macon County (first meeting)
  • McIntosh County Academy at Clinch County (Clinch County 32-7, Aug 26)

Class 1A (Private)

  • Tattnall at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (first meeting)
  • Fellowship Christian at Prince Avenue (Prince Avenue 42-14, 2009 Regular Season)


Friday Flashback:  1984 Boston College vs. Miami

It has been called one of the greatest finishes in college football history.  I remember watching this game on television in my bedroom at my parents’ home after I had just returned from my tour in Greenland.  In Greenland, we never saw the games live but usually two weeks later so it was a treat to see the game on live television for the first time in a year.  What a game I witnessed in this November 23, 1984 contest at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie hurled up a last-second 64-yard pass that landed in the hands of Gerard Phelan for a 47-45 win over Miami.

The game was not a defensive battle to say the least.  Miami racked up 655 yards of offense while Boston College had 627 yards.

With 28 seconds left, Miami’s Melvin Bratton scored on a one-yard run that appeared to have given the Hurricanes a 45-41 win.  Starting at their own 20 after the score, Boston College got to the Miami 48 in time for the final play.

Boston College finished the season at 10-2 and a win over Houston in the Cotton Bowl.   They finished #5 in the final poll.  Miami finished 8-5 and lost to UCLA in the Fiesta Bowl.   They finished #18 in the final poll.

The Hurricanes were beaten by Maryland a week prior to their game against Boston College.   Maryland overcame a 31-0 deficit to win 42-40 for the biggest comeback in NCAA history.

See the game winning score below:


Driving 101: Right of Way


What is the right-of-way in driving?

I’m sure many Nashville drivers don’t have a clue what that is or think their way is the right way in traffic.

Seriously, there is a rule about the right-of-way.

Right-of-way are rules that help people drive safely when there is no traffic sign or direction for stopping or yielding to another vehicle.

At an intersection without a stop or yield sign, slow down and prepare to stop.  Yield to vehicles already in the intersection or entering it in front of you.  Always yield to the car that arrived first.  If you and another driver reach the intersection at the same time, yield if the car is on your right.

Don’t always assume people know this.  Use caution whenever you are confronted with these situations.  Don’t always insist on others going ahead of you.  If another vehicle expects you to take your legal turn, you might delay traffic by stopping or slowing unnecessarily.  Do what you are supposed to do.

At four-way stops, if you get there the same time as another vehicle, the vehicle on the left must yield the right-of-way.  The right vehicle has the right-of-way.

If a vehicle is turning in obeying a traffic signal, you must wait until they are cleared until you can make your move.  A vehicle must remain stopped until all cross traffic is gone.

In Nashville, it seems that the rule is do whatever you want to do or do it before the other person.  That’s not right-of-way.  If everyone would just do what they are supposed to do then traffic would flow better and our roads would be safer.