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25th Anniversary of the 1998 Falcons: How the Falcons won their first NFC championship

Watch Part II of an exclusive conversation with the 1998 Falcons players as they look back at their historic season 25 years later. 

"The Falcons have done it, they've done the unthinkable."

Those were the words heard on the television broadcast in 1999 as Atlanta celebrated its first franchise NFC championship, beating the Minnesota Vikings 30-27. And for many at the time, it truly was unbelievable.

Former Falcons players from the historic team sat down to discuss their journey to Super Bowl XXXIII in "The 25th Anniversary of the 1998 Falcons: Part II" presented by Novelis. 

The title game was an overtime win that hinged on two late field goal kicks that went down in history.

First, came the missed kick by Vikings kicker Gary Anderson. It's a kick that would have iced the game late in the fourth quarter if the ball went through the uprights.

"It's kind of weird, it's the first time I think I ever prayed for somebody's downfall," former Falcons cornerback Ray Buchanan said. "By him missing it, oh my goodness, that changed the whole aspect of everything."


Buchanan's prayers were answered. The Falcons got another chance to go win the game. Atlanta scored a touchdown to force overtime, then caught a second wind in extra time.

The Falcons offense did their part by marching down the field when they got the ball, and kicker Morten Andersen did the rest, kicking the ball through the uprights to seal the victory.

Celebrations broke out, but O.J. Santiago was mad. The former Falcons tight end knew in his bones Atlanta was going to win that game, and he was outraged that there was any doubt.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Falcons were celebrating like little kids, Buchanan said. It was pure elation as the team reached a height the franchise has only achieved twice in history. It's something these players will forever carry with them. 

"It was a special time, and it's something that even though we did not win (the Super Bowl)," former Falcons wide receiver Terance Mathis said, "you cannot take away that we were NFC champions."

In the 1998 season, the Atlanta Falcons took on the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game, a game that came down to one last field goal by Falcons' kicker Morten Andersen in overtime giving the team a 30-27 victory.