Former Atlanta linebacker Tommy Nobis, the Falcons’ first-ever draft pick, died Wednesday at 74 after an extended illness.
“We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the great Tommy Nobis,” Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank said in a prepared statement. “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.”
Nobis was a five-time Pro Bowler, a two-time All-Pro, the Sporting News‘ 1966 Defensive Rookie of the Year and a member of the 1960s’ all-decade team. What he was not was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Talk of Fame Network two-and-a-half years ago ran a “State Your Case” segment on Nobis, arguing for his inclusion in the Hall, and we reprint that story today in remembrance of Tommy Nobis.