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Former Falcons Fill Up Pro Football Hall of Fame Senior Semifinalists List

Nine members of the Atlanta Falcons organization have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The odds are decent that at least one more receiving induction next year.

That’s because eight former Falcons have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s semifinalists list in the seniors and coach/contributor categories. The Hall of Fame had a total of 60 nominations in the two categories combined — 31 players and 29 coaches/contributors.

Six of the 31 players nominated played for the Falcons. The team’s leading candidate for election is former left tackle Mike Kenn.

Playing from 1978-1994, Kenn’s longevity makes him a prime candidate for induction. He started 251 games over 17 seasons. He missed more than two games in just two of his seasons.

But he was also one of the best left tackles in the 1980s, especially early in the decade. He made the NFL All-Pro team four times and the Pro Bowl every year from 1980-84. Kenn’s best season was in 1980 when he made his first-team All-Pro.

Kenn earned a first-team All-Pro nomination again in 1991. He finished his career on first-team All-Pro twice, 11 years apart.

Linebacker Tommy Nobis is the other semifinalist who spent his entire career with the Falcons. Nobis was the team’s first Pro Bowler in the franchise’s inaugural season in 1966. He then made first-team All-Pro during his second season and second-team All-Pro in 1968.

Nobis also made the Pro Bowl in 1970 and 1972.

The likeliest reason Kenn and Nobis aren’t in the Hall of Fame yet are the lack of statistics to help their cause. Nobis had 9.5 sacks and 12 interceptions, but Pro Football Reference doesn’t have any other significant official defensive stats for the linebacker.

Kenn and Nobis also played on bad teams. Without many stats, great players on great teams have a much better chance of receiving induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The other 2024 senior semifinalists who played for the Falcons were wide receiver Billy Johnson, offensive tackle George Kunz, offensive lineman Chris Hinton, and linebacker Clay Matthews.

Kunz made four Pro Bowls in his first five NFL seasons with the Falcons. He then became a first-team All-Pro player with the Baltimore Colts.

Hinton and Johnson each made the Pro Bowl with the Falcons, but they experienced a bulk of their primes on other teams. Matthews played the final three seasons of his 19-year career in Atlanta.

The other two senior semifinalists from the Falcons were head coach Dan Reeves and executive Rich McKay.

Reeves led the Falcons to their first Super Bowl during the 1998 season. He posted a 49-59-1 record over seven seasons. He won 190 games over 23 seasons with the Falcons, Denver Broncos and New York Giants.

McKay served as Falcons general manager from 2004-07. After that, he became the franchise’s CEO and was an intricate part in the construction of Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Prior to the Falcons, McKay served as president and general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1994-2003. He is also the longest-tenured member of the NFL Competition Committee.

Twelve players and 12 coaches/contributors will move into the finalist stage in the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process. The Hall of Fame will announce those finalists on July 27.