There have not been that many great teams in the history of the Atlanta Falcons, but the best team had to be The Dirty Birds. The Dirty Birds were the 1998 Atlanta Falcons who were coached by Dan Reeves. The Falcons had gone 7-9 in 1997 and were looking for their identity and an edge in 1998. The answer to both came in the form of Jamal Anderson.
Jamal Anderson had his best season in 1998. Anderson rushed the ball 410 times for 1,846 yards with 14 TD’s. He also added 27 receptions for 319 yards and 2 more TD’s. Anderson was the glue that held that team together and is also credited for starting the Dirty Bird dance. He would bounce back and forth pump his arm up and sideways and them flap his wings like a bird, with all his teammates around him joining in the celebration.
The Falcons also had Chris Chandler, who was known for not being able to finish most seasons, but played in 14 games and went 13-1 as a starter that year. The other dynamic part of the offense was the M&M boys of Tony Martin and Terance Mathis. Martin and Mathis were deep threat receivers and thrived in the play action with the running of Anderson. All of these players would do their version of the Dirty Bird when they scored, whether at home or on the road. The team finished 14-2 and would advance to Super Bowl XXXIII where they would lose to the Denver Broncos. The biggest win of the year came in the NFC Championship game over the Minnesota Vikings, who went 15-1 during the regular season.
The Falcons were double digit underdogs to the Vikings, but they just kept fighting the whole game. The Falcons scored first, but the Vikings responded with 20 straight points and had the ball with a 27-20 lead in the 4th quarter and Gary Anderson looking to kick the game clinching field goal. Gary Anderson had not missed a FG attempt all year…until his attempt to ice the game. The Falcons responded and drove down the field and scored a TD to tie the game at 27-27 and send it to Overtime. In the OT Morton Anderson the Falcons kicker kicked a 38 yard FG to win the game and shock the world as the Dirty Birds upset the Minnesota Vikings.