The Fans' Favorite Falcon series, presented by Ford, continues with our second Final Four matchup.
How do you decide between No. 3 Deion Sanders vs. No. 7 Tommy Nobis?
He is arguably the greatest cornerback to ever play the game, and he got his start with five tremendous seasons with the Falcons. Deion Sanders was drafted in 1989 and almost immediately became the PrimeTime icon we know him as today. Sanders earned Pro Bowl bids in 1991, 92 and 93 before leaving for San Francisco in 1994. During 1992, Sanders high-stepped his way to 1,067 kick return yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Sanders perhaps electrified even more, hauling in 24 interceptions in his five seasons with the Falcons — three four touchdowns. Off the field, Sanders was as flashy a personality as you'll find in professional sports, which gave him that added edge as a fan favorite.
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.
These are two players on completely opposite ends of the spectrum in so many ways, but the one thing that makes them similar is their ability to be considered favorites among fans. But now, it's time to find out which one stands out more — the very first player ever drafted by the Falcons or the flashy cornerback/returner whose primetime career began in Atlanta? One did so much in a 10-year career that started and ended in Atlanta while the other electrified the fanbase during his five seasons here and became the most exciting player to watch in the NFL during his career. It's all in your hands now.