1998 Atlanta Falcons season

1998 Atlanta Falcons season
Head coach Dan Reeves
Rich Brooks (weeks 15–16)
Home field Georgia Dome
Record 14–2
Division place 1st NFC West
Playoff finish Won Divisional Playoffs (49ers) 20–18
Won NFC Championship (at Vikings) 30–27 (OT)
Lost Super Bowl XXXIII (vs. Broncos) 19–34

The 1998 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 33rd in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons qualified for the Super Bowl for the first time under the guidance of second-year head coach Dan Reeves. The team won its final nine games of the season to earn the #2 seed in the National Football Conference (NFC) for the playoffs and the first-week bye. They beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round and the #1-seed Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game before losing to Reeves' old team, the Denver Broncos, 34–19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.

Head coach Dan Reeves almost didn't make it to the end of the season. After Week 14, he was diagnosed with multiple blockages to his coronary arteries, necessitating quadruple bypass surgery. Reeves admitted he ignored the warning signs in hopes of finishing the season, but ultimately felt he needed to be checked out. Doctors stated by the time he went for treatment, he may have been "within hours of a catastrophic heart attack.[1] Defensive coordinator Rich Brooks substituted for him as head coach during Weeks 15 and 16. Reeves returned for Week 17 and finished the season.

The Falcons ranked fourth in the league in points scored (442 points) and surrendered the fourth-fewest points (289) in 1998; the Falcons also led the league in turnover differential at +20. They were the first dome team to play in a Super Bowl.


NFL draft

Main article: 1998 NFL draft
1998 Atlanta Falcons draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 12 Keith Brooking *  Linebacker Georgia Tech
2 53 Bob Hallen  Center Kent State
3 74 Jammi German  Wide receiver Miami (FL)
4 103 Omar Brown  Defensive back North Carolina
4 114 Tim Dwight  Wide receiver Iowa
6 166 Elijah Williams  Defensive back Florida
7 199 Ephraim Salaam  Offensive tackle San Diego State
7 201 Ken Oxendine  Running back Virginia Tech
7 203 Henry Slay  Defensive tackle West Virginia
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




1998 Atlanta Falcons staff
Front office
  • President – Taylor Smith
  • Executive Vice President of Football Operations – Dan Reeves
  • General Manager – Harold Richardson
  • Vice President of Football Operations – Ron Hill
  • Director of Player Personnel/College – Reed Johnson
  • Director of Player Personnel/Pro – Chuck Connor
  • Assistant to Head Coach/Pro Personnel – Marvin Bass

Head coaches

  • Head Coach – Dan Reeves
  • Assistant Head Coach – Rich Brooks

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning – Al Miller
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning – Tim Jorgensen


1998 Atlanta Falcons roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Rookies in italics


Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Game site TV Time Attendance
1 September 6, 1998 at Carolina Panthers W 19–14 Ericsson Stadium FOX 1:00et
2 September 13, 1998 Philadelphia Eagles W 17–12 Georgia Dome FOX 1:00et
3 Bye
4 September 27, 1998 at San Francisco 49ers L 20–31 Candlestick Park FOX 4:15et/1:15pt
5 October 4, 1998 Carolina Panthers W 51–23 Georgia Dome FOX 1:00et
6 October 11, 1998 at New York Giants W 34–20 Giants Stadium ESPN 8:15et
7 October 18, 1998 New Orleans Saints W 31–23 Georgia Dome FOX 1:00et
8 October 25, 1998 at New York Jets L 3–28 The Meadowlands FOX 1:00et
9 November 1, 1998 St. Louis Rams W 38–15 Georgia Dome FOX 1:00et
10 November 8, 1998 at New England Patriots W 41–10 Foxboro Stadium FOX 1:00et
11 November 15, 1998 San Francisco 49ers W 31–19 Georgia Dome FOX 1:00et
12 November 22, 1998 Chicago Bears W 20–13 Georgia Dome FOX 1:00et
13 November 29, 1998 at St. Louis Rams W 21–10 Trans World Dome FOX 1:00et/12:00ct
14 December 6, 1998 Indianapolis Colts W 28–21 Georgia Dome CBS 1:00et
15 December 13, 1998 at New Orleans Saints W 27–17 Louisiana Superdome FOX 1:00et/12:00ct
16 December 20, 1998 at Detroit Lions W 24–17 Pontiac Silverdome FOX 4:15et
17 December 27, 1998 Miami Dolphins W 38–16 Georgia Dome CBS 1:00et


NFC West
(2) Atlanta Falcons 14 2 0 .875 442 289 W9
(4) San Francisco 49ers 12 4 0 .750 479 328 W1
New Orleans Saints 6 10 0 .375 305 359 L3
Carolina Panthers 4 12 0 .250 336 413 W2
St. Louis Rams 4 12 0 .250 285 378 L2

Notable games

The Falcons' most decisive win of the season came in a 51–23 rout in the Georgia Dome. Jamal Anderson rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown while Chris Chandler threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns with two picks. From Tim Dwight's 93-yard opening kickoff return touchdown, the Falcons never let Carolina have a sniff of contention, leading 38–3 by the third quarter before cruising home with the win.

Atlanta's offense rolled up 41 points while the defense limited New England to just ten points at Foxboro Stadium in a game where New England never got closer than a 14–3 score after one quarter and trailed 28–3 at the half. Jamal Anderson ran in two scores, Chris Chandler threw two more, and Chuck Smith grabbed a fumble at his 29 and ran it back for a touchdown. Chandler completed 15 of 22 throws for 240 yards and Anderson rushed for 104 yards. About the only thing that went wrong for the Falcons were two meaningless picks by the Patriots' Ty Law.

The Falcons avenged one of the only two losses they would suffer in the regular season by besting the Niners 31–19 in the Georgia Dome. Steve Young threw for 342 yards and touchdowns to Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice, but Jamal Anderson's 100-rushing yards and two scores helped the Falcons put away the Niners in a wild fourth quarter in which the two teams combined for 34 points (21 by the Falcons).


Week Date Opponent Result Game site TV Time Attendance
Divisional January 9, 1999 San Francisco 49ers W 20–18 Georgia Dome FOX 12:30et
NFC Champ. January 17, 1999 at Minnesota Vikings W 30–27 (OT) Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome FOX 12:30et/11:30ct
Super Bowl January 31, 1999 Denver Broncos L 19–34 Pro Player Stadium FOX 6:30et

NFC Divisional Playoff: vs. San Francisco 49ers

NFC Divisional Round: San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
1 2 34Total
49ers 0 10 0818
Falcons 7 7 3320

at Georgia Dome, Atlanta

  • Date: January 9, 1999
  • Game time: 12:30 p.m. PDT

The rubber match of Atlanta and San Francisco's 1998 season came in the Georgia Dome a week after the Niners' spectacular last-minute comeback over the Green Bay Packers. The Falcons, though, would not be denied as Jamal Anderson once again hauled the mail with 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Steve Young threw a touchdown to Jerry Rice and ran in a late fourth-quarter score; Ty Detmer threw the ensuing two-point conversion to Greg Clark to put the score at 20–18, but the Falcons never let the Niners any closer for their first playoff win since 1991.

NFC Championship: at Minnesota Vikings

NFC Championship Game: Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 34OTTotal
Falcons 7 7 310330
Vikings 7 13 07027

at Hubert Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis

  • Date: January 17, 1999
  • Game time: 11:30 p.m. PDT

As of 2016 this remains the greatest win in Falcons history and one of the most amazing upsets in NFL history. The 16–1 Vikings, boasting the league's highest-scoring post-merger offense, were heavy favorites at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and raced to a 20–7 lead in the second quarter off two Randall Cunningham touchdowns (one rushing and a throw to Randy Moss), but at the end of the first half Chris Chandler found Terance Mathis for a 14-yard score. After a Morten Andersen field goal made it 20–17 in the third, the Vikings surged to a 27–17 lead on another Cunningham TD throw (this one to Matthew Hatchette). In the frantic final ten minutes of regulation the Falcons were forced to turn the ball over on downs, but the Vikings fumbled it right back and Andersen kicked another field goal for a 27–20 score. In the final four minutes Gary Anderson, who hadn't missed a field goal all season, shanked a 38-yarder, and suddenly the surging Falcons had a chance, and nailed it when Chandler led the Falcons downfield and connected with Mathis in the endzone with 49 seconds remaining. The Vikings got the ball in overtime but Eugene Robinson stopped a deep pass to Moss and the Falcons got it back on a punt. Chandler led the Falcons downfield again and Andersen nailed a 38-yard field goal at 11:52 of the extra quarter; the 30–27 final sent the Falcons to Super Bowl XXXIII.

Super Bowl XXXIII: vs. Denver Broncos

Super Bowl XXXIII: Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Broncos 7 10 01734
Falcons 3 3 01319

at Pro Player Stadium, Miami

  • Date: January 31, 1999
  • Game time: 6:30 p.m. PDT


  1. "NFC West". The Sporting News. 1998. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  2. "1998 Atlanta Falcons draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  3. "1998 Atlanta Falcons starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 6, 2014.

External links

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