Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Falcons' top plays: The Kick
By Vaughn McClure
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This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in Atlanta Falcons' history. On Wednesday, we'll feature the last: Alfred Jackson's tip ball catch of a pass from Steve Bartkowski for a touchdown in November 1978. Please vote for your choice as the Falcons' most memorable play.
Score: Falcons 30, Vikings 27
Date: Jan. 17, 1999 Site: Metrodome
It was the kick heard 'round Georgia. And it sucked the wind out of the Metrodome.
The Falcons, despite finishing 14-2 and winning the NFC West, were given little chance to beat the high-powered Vikings in the NFC Championship Game after the Vikings went 15-1 during the regular season. But if it had to come down to a field goal, Morten Andersen was the right man to have on your side.
Minnesota's Gary Anderson, another great kicker, could have sealed it with two minutes remaining in regulation, but he missed his only field goal of the season -- his first in 45 attempts -- to give the Falcons life. It allowed the Falcons to tie the game with a Chris Chandler touchdown toss to Terance Mathis with 49 seconds left in regulation.
Then came the dramatic finish that made this one of the top plays in team history. The Falcons twice kept the Vikings from scoring in overtime, allowing for Andersen's heroics.
With 3:11 left in overtime, Andersen lined up for chance to pull off the stunner. As the ball was snapped, he launched his powerful left leg and almost immediately threw up his hands in celebration while watching the 38-yard kick. The ball sailed right down the middle, and the Falcons soared into their first and only Super Bowl.
Andersen got swarmed by about 10 teammates, and coach Dan Reeves broke out the "Dirty Bird" alongside running back Jamal Anderson and a host of other players.
It was a moment that will never be forgotten in Falcons' history.