This Day in Falcons History: July 2, 1966

Like any good Falcons fan, you likely took a moment on Monday to remember the creation of the Falcons. The NFL awarded Atlanta an NFL franchise on June 30 in 1965, making the Falcons the 15th team in the league and the 23rd professional football team.

The 1966 season was the inaugural season for the Falcons, but before it could begin, as is still the case now, training camp had to occur. The '66 Falcons started theirs on July 2, 1966 in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

In total, around 130 players came to training camp for the Falcons, including the 42 players the Falcons signed from other teams around the league.They trained there until their first preseason game, played in Colombia, South Carolina, on August 27.

Among the notable people at Falcons camp, in addition to the franchise's first pick, Tommy Nobis, was Billy Graham, noted American Christian evangelist. Graham was frequently in attendance, since the camp was so close to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In total, 66 rookies reported to Falcons camp, coached by the team's first head coach, Norb Hecker. In 1979 the Falcons moved their training camp and year-round facilities to Suwannee, Georgia and remained there until 1998. From 1999 to 2004 and 1971 to 1978, the Falcons held training camp at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Training camp was held at Black Mountain for that single season and the following year the Falcons hosted camp at East Tennessee State for the next four years. In 2005, the Falcons moved to their current facility and training camp home in Flowery Branch, Georgia. The facility the Falcons used in Black Mountain is still around today, serving as a YMCA and conference and training center.

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