- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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Score: Falcons 30, Vikings 27 (OT)
Date: Jan. 17, 1999. Site: Metrodome
The fans got it right in selecting Morten Andersen's game-winning, 38-yard field goal in overtime of the 1998 NFC Championship Game as the top play in Atlanta Falcons history.
The play, better known as "The Kick," gathered 49 percent of the vote, edging out Michael Vick's overtime run against the Vikings (43 percent).
Andersen's kick symbolized the most historic moment for the franchise -- earning the right to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And although the Falcons lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII, the way they got there will be embedded in the minds of Falcons die-hards forever.
The fact that the Falcons were such a heavy underdog against an offensive juggernaut in the Vikings made the NFC title win and Andersen's kick that much more exhilarating. And a touch of irony was involved as well, as sure-footed Vikings kicker Gary Anderson missed for the first time all season late in regulation, allowing for overtime and the dramatic finish.
The Falcons savored the moment in every fashion, from Andersen throwing his hands up in celebration immediately after putting the ball in the air, to coach Dan Reeves doing the "Dirty Bird" dance with running back Jamal Anderson and a host of other players afterward.
Sure, there were other great moments in Falcons history, such as the "Big Ben Right" Hail Mary touchdown from Steve Bartkowski to Alfred Jackson by way of Wallace Francis; Deion Sanders' 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in his first NFL game (1989); and Matt Bryant's game-winning 49-yard field goal in the 2012 playoffs, which put the Falcons in the NFC title game.
But Andersen and the "The Kick" allowed Falcons fans to boast about their team being Super Bowl participants -- status the Falcons hope to attain again soon.