- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Falcons – for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment on May 25.
Born out of a war between the National Football League and the American Football League, the Falcons began play as an expansion team in 1966. That makes them one year older than the Saints and the team with the longest history in the NFC South.
But the early history of the Falcons was far from brilliant. There were a few flashes with Steve Bartkowski and Deion Sanders, but success never seemed to last. The Falcons hit their high point in the 1998 season when coach Dan Reeves, running back Jamaal Anderson and quarterback Chris Chandler led them to their first Super Bowl.
Sustained success really didn’t come until this century. The Falcons had some good years with Michael Vick, but his legal troubles and the quick tenure of coach Bobby Petrino left the franchise in shambles. Things started to change as soon as general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith arrived in 2008.
In their first two seasons, the Falcons put together the first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history. They made it three straight when they went 13-3 last season.
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