The Fans' Favorite Falcon series, presented by Ford, rolls on with the first matchup of the second round.
How do you decide between No. 2 Jamal Anderson vs. No. 7 Tommy Nobis?
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.
There's a strong cry from the Falcons fanbase that Tommy Nobis should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That's a hallmark of a real fan favorite. And why wouldn't a player nicknamed Mr. Falcon be a fan favorite? Nobis was the first player ever drafted by the Falcons, No. 1 overall for the inaugural 1966 season. From there, he became the first ever Falcon to be named to a Pro Bowl, and the first ever Falcon to be named NFL Rookie of the Year. You see a trend? To put into perspective how popular Nobis was during his playing days, a poll was conducted in 1970 by ABC to pick the best athlete of the 1960s. OJ Simpson finished No. 1. Behind him? Tommy Nobis at No. 2. To say Nobis resonated on a national level would be a drastic understatement.
The Dirty Bird vs. Mr. Falcon? Say it ain't so. I knew this bracket would be difficult, but this is nearly too tough to call. Anderson will always be remembered for carrying the personality of the 1998 Super Bowl team, while also having a banner year statistically during that run. Nobis was the first Falcon ever, earning him the nickname that still follows him today. Each brings something so different to the table in this matchup — from personality to position to playing style — but each is an icon in Falcons history. Voting in this matchup could be very tight, so if you're able to pick a favorite between the two, your vote could definitely make the difference. As far as who gets the edge, heck, close your eyes and take your pick. Flip a coin. It's really the only way to separate one from the other.