Tommy Nobis, the first‐ever player drafted by the expansion Atlanta Falcons, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award Presented by Coca‐Cola at the ninth annual Atlanta Sports Awards on March 5 at The Fox Theatre, the Atlanta Sports Council announced today.
Dubbed “Mr. Falcon,” Nobis began his career with the Falcons in 1966, when he was named NFL Rookie of the Year for his stellar performance as middle linebacker.
“The Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Coca‐Cola is a prestigious honor bestowed upon those who have made an outstanding impact on the Atlanta sports community during their careers,” said Dan Corso, executive director of the Atlanta Sports Council. “When you’re talking innovative and influential players throughout Falcons history, Tommy Nobis is at the forefront in peoples’ minds.”
For his groundbreaking contributions to Atlanta sports, Nobis will join past Lifetime Achievement Award winners Hank Aaron (2006), Vince Dooley (2007), Billy Payne (2008), Ted Turner (2009), Tom Cousins (2010), Bobby Cox (2011), Dominique Wilkins (2012), and last year’s decorated recipient, Chipper Jones.
“I played the game of football with heart and determination and to be a part of a team, but never sought individual accolades nor honors,” said Nobis. “That said, when I look at the previous winners of this award I am truly humbled, and privileged to join this impressive group.”
Nobis catapulted the Falcons into the spotlight by becoming the first‐ever Falcons player voted to the Pro Bowl and continued to keep the team on football fans’ radar throughout his 11‐season career.
He led the team in tackles in nine of his 11 seasons, including an all‐time single‐season record of 296 total combined tackles as a rookie. Additionally, Nobis intercepted 11 passes during his pro career, returning two for touchdowns.
His famed uniform number 60 has been worn exclusively by him during the team’s existence.
Nobis earned five trips to the Pro Bowl, and was named to the NFL 1960s All‐Decade Team, as well as being selected for Sports Illustrated’s All‐Century Team.
He announced his plans to retire in 1976 and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame shortly
after, in 1983.