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Falcons flying high

By Anthony Rhoads

Sunday was a great day to be an Atlanta Falcons fan.

The Falcons beat the Rams 34-17 to go to 2-0 on the season. The Falcons have rarely gotten off to this good of a start and have only won the first two games only a handful of times, including 1998, 1986, 1981 and 1979.

But I am not going to let myself get too excited. In 1986, they won a franchise-record four games in a row to start the season and were 5-1-1 after seven games. I thought they were bound for the Super Bowl but they managed to win just two more games the rest of the season.

They won three in a row to start the 1981 season but finished the year at 7-9.

Going 2-0 is a great start, especially for this franchise, but I sincerely hope they can keep the momentum going and at least have a winning record and make the playoffs this year.

Honoring the great Falcons: Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons inducted four players, Tommy Nobis, Steve Bartkowski, Williams Andrews and Jessie Tuggle, into the Ring of Honor.

I thought it was really neat that the Falcons are honoring those players. While the Falcons have struggled over the years, there is no doubt there have been some fine football players in Atlanta.

Nobis was Atlanta's first draft pick for the team's inaugural season in 1966 and went on to an outstanding career that lasted until 1976.

He was the 1966 Rookie of the Year and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1966. He led the team in tackles for nine of his 11 seasons and made five Pro Bowl appearances.

Bartkowski was the man in Atlanta for a long time and still holds many team passing records. He is by far the most prolific passer in team history with 23,468 yards and 154 TDs.

From 1979-83, it was hard to find a better running back than William Andrews. He burst onto the scene in 1979 and gained a team-record 167 yards in his first game.

Andrews could have been one of the greats but suffered a terrible knee injury in 1984.

Tuggle shouldn't have even made it to the NFL. He came out of Valdosta State as an undrafted free agent but what he lacked in size, he more than made up for in heart.

The Griffin native made it to five Pro Bowls and led the team in tackles for 10 of his 14 years. He also holds the NFL record for most fumble recoveries to be run back for a touchdown with five in his career.

I didn't think about it until our sports editor Doug Gorman brought it up Monday but there was glaring omission to the Ring of Honor ? Jeff Van Note.

Nobis, Bartkowski, Andrews and Tuggle definitely deserved to be honored but Van Note should be right up there with them.

The six-time Pro Bowl center played in Atlanta for 18 years, one of the longest careers in NFL history.

Another lineman who deserves to by in the Falcons' Ring of Honor is five-time Pro Bowl tackle Mike Kenn, who spent 17 years in a Falcons' uniform.

Other guys who might be worthy of being in the Ring of Honor include Wallace Francis, Alfred Jenkins, Terance Mathis, Gerald Riggs, Jamal Anderson, Morton Andersen, Andre Rison, Rolland Lawrence, Scott Case, Claude Humphrey and ...Tony Graziani

Just kidding on that last one.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com .