The Fans' Favorite Falcon series, presented by Ford, rolls on with our next matchup.
How do you decide between No. 2 Jamal Anderson and No. 15 Claude Humphrey?
He is the Dirty Bird. His attitude on the field, his personality off it and his celebratory dance defined an entire era of Atlanta Falcons football. A seventh-round pick out of Utah, not much was known about or expected from Anderson. In 1996, he got his chance as he started 12 games for the Falcons and quickly became a 1,000-yard rusher. The year he put together in 1998 defined his career. He rushed 410 times for 1,846 yards and 14 touchdowns in leading the Falcons to their only Super Bowl appearance. Anderson was the workhorse of Dan Reeves' offense, but it was all fun and games once he hit the end zone as he turned a dance he called the Dirty Bird into a national phenomenon.
Quarterbacks these days seem to be more versatile as we've seen the advent of the running QB in the past decade to catch a defense off-guard. In Claude Humphrey's days, quarterbacks ran, too. They ran away from Claude Humphrey. They ran for their lives. Humphrey was not the type of defensive end you'd want to stay in the pocket and take a hit from. If Humphrey was coming at you, he was coming with a 6-foot-4, 252-pound frame and a whole lot of pain. A six-time Pro Bowler and a two-time First-Team All-Pro, Humphrey is the standard to which Falcons defensive ends are compared and try to live up to. Famous for his head-slap move, there are probably still offensive linemen and quarterbacks who near the sound of Humphrey's hand hitting their helmet in their nightmares.
Throughout the Fans' Favorite Falcon series, you're going to see a lot of this: Two players pitted against each other who are very much fan favorites, but for very different reasons. Anderson brought personality and swagger to the 1998 Super Bowl team. It was a team that liked to have fun and, as a product, the fans had a great time watching them. Humphrey was quiet and let his playing do his talking. He was a force on the defensive line and, believe it or not, played bigger than his 6-4, 252-pound frame. Humphrey played with the Falcons from 1968-1978 and recorded a franchise-record 94.5 sacks before finishing his career in Philadelphia. Anderson put in eight seasons, all with the Falcons, and his 1,846-yard season in 1998 is still a record for most yards gained in a season for the Falcons
View the results of the first round