It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tommy Nobis, Jr. this morning. Nobis passed away at home with his wife at his side, after an extended illness.
Tommy Nobis was affectionately known as 'Mr. Falcon' for good reason. He was selected first overall in the 1966 NFL Draft, making him the very first Atlanta Falcon. Nobis made an immediate impact on the first-year club as he was named Rookie of the Year and voted to the Pro Bowl that season after setting a franchise record with 296 total tackles. He spent his entire 11-year NFL career in Atlanta, earning five Pro Bowl selections and leading the team in tackles nine times.
Nobis finished second in a 1970 poll conducted by ABC to pick the best athlete of the 1960s. His astronomical 296 total combined tackles as a rookie still stand as the club's all-time single-season record to this day. Nobis also intercepted 11 passes during his pro career, returning two for touchdowns. During the team's existence, No. 60 has been worn only by him. He retired in 1976 and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame shortly thereafter in 1983.
In 2004, Nobis joined running back William Andrews, quarterback Steve Bartkowski, and linebacker Jessie Tuggle as an inaugural member of the Falcons Ring of Honor. 'Mr. Falcon' has been memorialized along with the other nine members of the Ring of Honor at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Located on the Front Porch, the Ring of Honor features monuments dedicated to Nobis and the other Falcons greats.
"On behalf of the Atlanta Falcons we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the great Tommy Nobis," said Arthur M. Blank, chairman, and owner of the team. "Tommy's legacy began as the first Falcons player in team history, was built over 40 years with the organization and will live on for years to come in our Ring of Honor. 'Mr. Falcon' is rightfully beloved by generations of Falcons fans and we will always be grateful for his many contributions to our team and community."
- NFL Rookie of the Year (1966)
- Five-time Pro Bowl selection (1966-68, 1970, 1972)
- Associated Press First-team All-Pro selection (1967)
- Name to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
- Named to Sports Illustrated All-Century Team (1869-1969)
- Falcons record holder for tackles in a single season with 296 (1966)
Nobis has been embedded into the fabric of Atlanta with a deep commitment to assisting with rehabilitation for those with physical and mental challenges, through his foundation. For over 40 years, the The Tommy Nobis Center has helped more than 25,000 people with disabilities find and keep meaningful jobs in the community.
Tommy is survived by his wife, Lynn, his three children, Tommy, Kevin and Devon, and eight grandchildren.