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25th Anniversary of the 1998 Falcons: How the Dirty Bird celebration dance got its name 

Watch the Part I of a conversation with 1998 Falcons players looking back at their NFC championship season. 


There was one game in the Falcons' 1998 NFC championship season when the tides started to turn toward what would later feature this team prominently in the history books.

The Falcons stunningly beat the New England Patriots 42-10 in Week 10. The crushing victory put the league on notice, solidifying the Falcons as a contender that season. And, maybe as more important, it introduced everyone to the Falcons iconic celebration dance that became know as the Dirty Bird.

When O.J. Santiago scored one of his two touchdowns that game, he did a celebration dance, with bird sound effects and all. Santiago entered the locker room after the win and asked, "How about them Dirty Birds?"

The legendary dance was officially born.

That was one of several highlights from in "The 25th Anniversary of the 1998 Falcons: Part I" presented by Novelis, a roundtable discussion celebrating the team that made it to Super Bowl XXXIII.

A few weeks before that win over New England, they talked about needing a signature celebration move on the level of the Lambeau Leap and Mile High Salute.

"We are known to celebrate," Falcons former running back Jamal Anderson said. "There's precedence for us to celebrate in the end zone."

Falcons fans quickly caught onto it. It wasn't long before players would be stopped in the grocery store or traffic players by fans breaking out the dance. There was an energy amongst the team, amongst the city.

That win in New England was the second of a nine-game winning streak. The Falcons then danced all the way to the Super Bowl. Watch the full conversation between Santiago, Anderson, Ray Buchanan and Terance Mathis as they look back at the winningest season in franchise history 25 years later.

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.