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Atlanta GM to NFL: Put Tommy Nobis in the HOF

It’s well past time that the best two-way player to ever play at Texas be honored for his NFL career

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you have really good eyes you may not have noticed my avatar. It is the picture of one of the two best college football players I have ever laid eyes on.

Tommy Nobis and Earl Campbell.

One is in the NFL Hall of Fame. The other is well past due that honor.

Rich McKay, GM of the Atlanta Falcons release a letter today, making the case for Mr. Nobis.

Just a sophomore on Royal’s first national championship team, Tommy became the face of the program from his first varsity contest. His senior year Nobis became the only player to win the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) and Maxwell Trophy (best overall player). He finished 7th kn the Heisman voting.

Tommy was the #1 choice of the NFL expansion Atlanta Falcons in 1966. The Houston Oilers also selected him in the AFL draft and even got an astronaut — Frank Borman on Gemini 7 — to try and recruit him for the Oilers while circling the earth with the message, “tell Nobis to sign with Houston”.

The Oilers offered more money, but Nobis said he wanted the challenge to play with and against the best.

During his career the Falcons sucked out loud. they never made the play offs. They rarely played on TV. And yet he was voted on the 1960’s all-decade team. He led the Falcons in tackles 9 out of 11 seasons. He recorded an astounding 294 tackles his rookie year, still the Atlanta team record.

McKay (son of Legendary USC coach John McKay) talked about Nobis’ contributions to the community:

I haven’t even mentioned the incredible contributions Nobis had off the field with his foundation – The Tommy Nobis Center – that was founded in 1977 to support the community of people with disabilities in the Atlanta area. It started with just three employees and has now helped more than 25,000 people across 24 states. More than 40 years later, the Tommy Nobis Center continues to provide education, training to support those with barriers to find real jobs.Tommy Nobis earned the moniker Mr. Falcon. He played every game with everything he had at the highest level.

McKay ends his case with this:

It’s time to do the right thing.

It’s time to put Tommy Nobis into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Rich McKay

President and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons