Throwback Game of the Week

Week 4 – Falcons at Panthers | Archived Throwback Game of the Week

Next week: Steelers at Jaguars

Series Summary | Memorable Games | Hall of Fame Perspective | Odds 'N Ends | Trivia | At the Hall's Throwback Game of the Week Series - Each week during this season, the NFL’s 89th, will reflect on one of the weekend’s matchups. Unlike anywhere on the web, you’ll get inside access to the world’s largest collection on the NFL. The Hall’s archives staff will comb through the millions of documents, artifacts and photos in our collection to help tell the story. The new edition of Throwback Game of the Week will be posted on each Thursday throughout the 2008 NFL season. Enjoy!

Series Summary

For many decades, pro football’s presence in the South stretched only to Washington D.C. and the Redskins. Then, with the help of expansion in the 1960s, the NFL and the AFL placed teams south of the Mason-Dixon Line. One such franchise was the Atlanta Falcons who were “born” in 1966. The expansion in 1995 further populated the southern United States with NFL teams by adding the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Geographically, it made great sense to place Carolina in the same division with Atlanta. And so, an instant rivalry was born. Twice each season, the Panthers and Falcons battle each other in what has traditionally been closely matched contests. Three times in the series history it has taken overtime to determine a winner.

Sunday’s matchup marks the 27th meeting between the Falcons and Panthers. Atlanta holds a 16-10 series lead and has outscored Carolina 506-455 in those games.

Memorable Games

1995 – Falcons 23, Panthers 20 - OT (Atlanta)
It took a 35-yard field goal by Atlanta’s Morten Andersen 6:17 into sudden death for the Falcons to escape a loss to the expansion Panthers playing in their first ever NFL regular season game. Atlanta tied a team mark with nine sacks.

Carolina was led by Frank Reich who passed for 329 yards and Willie Green who had 7 catches for 121 yards.

Comeback of a lifetime. Reich, as a backup quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, orchestrated the greatest comeback in NFL history during the 1992 Wild Card Game. Story>>>

It’s official. Get the play-by-play account of the Panthers’ first-ever regular season game. PDF (5.41 MB)>>>


Oct. 4, 1998 – Falcons 51, Panthers 23 (Atlanta)
It was a good day for Atlanta from the start as Tim Dwight returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. In the third quarter the Falcons set an NFL record by scoring three touchdowns in a 48-second span. Falcons RB Jamal Anderson rushed for 117 yards.

Carolina’s attack was led by quarterback Kerry Collins who threw for 302 yards and 3 TDs.

Quick scores. See the official gamebook from the game that featured three Atlanta TDs in a mere 48 seconds. PDF (5.53 MB)>>>

Falcons top runner. Jamal Anderson set the Falcons’ single-season rushing record that year with 1,846 yards. He is one of only 14 players ever to gain 1,800 yards rushing in a season.
See the list of team-by-team single season record holders.>>>>

Photo Gallery1,800-yard rushers>>>


Nov. 28, 1999 – Panthers 34, Falcons 28 (Carolina)
On Sunday night, the Panthers scored on six of seven offensive possessions from late in the first quarter through the early part of the fourth quarter and then hung on after a late rally by the Falcons. Panthers QB Steve Beuerlein threw 3 TDs and Donald Hayes caught 5 passes for 133 yards.

Quarterback Chris Chandler led the way for Atlanta by engineering 74- and 78-yard scoring drives in the fourth quarter. He had 4 TDs on the day and wide receiver Tim Dwight contributed with 5 receptions for 102 yards.

4,000-yard club. Steve Beuerlein is the only Panthers quarterback ever to pass for 4,000 yards in a single season. He accomplished the feat in 1999 when he led the NFL with 4,436 yards. He completed 343 of 571 passes and had 36 TDs that year. See the complete list of all-time 4,000-yard passers.>>>


Jan. 1, 2006 – Panthers 44, Falcons 11 (Atlanta)
The Panthers defense led the way in this season finale to clinch a playoff berth. Carolina recorded five sacks and four takeaways in the largest margin of victory in franchise history. The Panthers scored on their first six possessions.

Carolina Running back DeShaun Foster rushed for 165 yards and wide receiver Steve Smith added 9 catches for 131 yards.

Defense. See the play-be-play from this New Year’s Day game. PDF (511 KB)>>>


Hall of Fame Perspective
Reggie White, Class of 2006

After a storied career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, Reggie White came out of retirement to play one final season with the Carolina Panthers in 2000. White added 5.5 sacks during his final year and retired with a career total of 198 sacks, more than any other player in history at the time.

White started all 16 games in 2000 including the Week 3 and Week 9 contests against the Falcons. The Panthers narrowly lost both games but White contributed two tackles and one sack in the 15-10 loss on Sept. 17. He dropped Atlanta QB Chris Chandler for a 13-yard loss on the Falcons first possession of the second half. The sack came on a 3-and-11 play for Atlanta and forced the Falcons to attempt a longer field goal. Morten Andersen missed the 47-yard field goal attempt to the right.

White pitched in with a tackle in Carolina’s 13-12 defeat on Oct. 29 at Atlanta. He stopped RB Jamal Anderson after a two-yard gain with just under two minutes to play. The Panthers defense held and forced Atlanta to attempt a long field goal which Andersen missed wide right.

HOF Bio: Reggie White>>>

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Falcons and Panthers Odds 'N Ends

The Carolina Panthers, who played their first ever game in the 1995 AFC-NFC Hall of Fame Game against that year’s other expansion team the Jacksonville Jaguars, finished their inaugural season with a 7-9 record. It marked the best first-year record by an expansion team in NFL history.

The ’95 Panthers had a season to remember that clearly set the foundation for the success that followed. Read story>>>

Photo Gallerythe Panthers pro debut in the HOF Game.

See the official gamebook of Carolina’s first-ever game in the ’95 HOF Game. PDF (4.90 MB)>>>


The nickname “Falcons” was a result of a fan contest while “Panthers” came from the suggestion of owner Jerry Richardson’s son Mark, who serves as the club’s President.

Learn about the origin of each of the 32 NFL team nicknames.>>>


Hall of Fame wideout Tommy McDonald spent his second from last NFL season with the upstart Falcons in 1967. He made a reputation throughout his career as having a knack for the end zone with a touchdown-to-catch ratio of 1 in 5.9. He did not disappoint in his lone season with the Falcons as he led the club with 33 catches for 436 yards and 4 TDs including a 75-yard TD against the Baltimore Colts on Nov. 12, 1967. The reception still ranks among one of the longest in club history.

Tommy McDonald’s HOF Bio>>>


Running back Dave Hampton is the first player in Falcons history to rush for 1,000 yards. But, it didn’t come easily. He reached the plateau, albeit briefly, on Dec. 17, 1972. However on the very next drive, he was dropped for a loss and therefore ended the season with 995 yards. One season later, he entered the final game of the year needing 87 yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark. He gained only 84 to fall three yards shy. Finally, in 1975, he became a 1,000-yard rusher when he gained 61 yards in the season finale against the Green Bay Packers to finish with 1,002 yards.

Hampton’s misfortune made headlines around the country. Read this newspaper account of how the Dec. 17, 1972 game was stopped after Hampton reached the 1,000-yard mark so the ball could be presented to him. Then, on the next drive, an icy field caused a bad exchange between the quarterback and him and causing him to “slip” below the 1,000-yard mark. Newspaper clipping PDF (571 KB)>>>


Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson finished his career with the Falcons. He played just four games that season before hanging up his cleats for good. His best game with Atlanta came on Sept. 12 when he carried the ball 17 times for 77 yards against the New Orleans Saints. His final appearance was on Oct. 3 against the Bears in Chicago.

Take a look at the complete career of Class of 1999 inductee Eric Dickerson. HOF Bio>>>

View the cover and some pages from the Sept. 12 game program when Dickerson turned in his best performance of his final season. PDF (1.81 MB)>>>


Long-time Falcons defensive end Claude Humphrey is a senior nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009. Humphrey, the team’s all-time sack leader, recorded the second fumble return for a touchdown in Falcons history. He picked up a loose football against the Minnesota Vikings and rumbled 24 yards for the game’s only touchdown on Dec. 21, 1969.

See newspaper accounts of Humphrey’s touchdown as the Falcons ended the Vikings’ 12-game win streak. The Falcons GM gave Humphrey a gift for the TD. Read the articles. PDF (951 KB)>>>

Claude Humphrey and former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Bob Hayes were selected as the seniors nominees for the Class of 2009. They will join 15 yet-to-be-named modern-era finalists who will be voted on during the annual selection meeting on the day before the Super Bowl.

Senior Nominees for the Class of ’09 | Humphrey’s career stats | Humphrey photo gallery


Team Histories

Panthers - The Panthers joined the NFL in 1995 and were instantly competitive. Carolina finished its inaugural season…More>>>

Falcons - The Falcons joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1966. Over the years, the Falcons have fielded exciting teams that…More>>>

Hall of Famers

Eric Dickerson

Tommy McDonald

Reggie White

Neither the Panthers nor the Falcons have a long-time member of their organization enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, the Falcons have two Hall of Famers – running back Eric Dickerson and wide receiver Tommy McDonald – who played briefly with the team.

Hall of Famer Reggie White came out of retirement to play one final season with the Panthers.

Falcons Trivia Panthers Trivia

1. Who was Atlanta’s first head coach?
a. Norb Hecker
b. Norm Van Brocklin
c. Marion Campbell
d. Pat Peppler

2. Who is the only 200-yard rusher in Falcons history?
a. Gerald Riggs
b. William Andrews
c. Dave Hampton
d. Jamal Anderson

3. Who is the only Falcons QB to pass for 4,000 yards in a season?
a. Steve Bartkowski
b. Jeff George
c. Chris Miller
d. Chris Chandler

4. Who is the only Falcons player to score four rushing TDs in a game?
a. Lynn Cain
b. Warrick Dunn
c. T.J. Duckett
d. Jamal Anderson

5. Which player converted six of the first seven two-point conversions in team history after the NFL instituted the two-point conversion in 1994?
a. Deion Sanders
b. Andre Rison
c. Terance Mathis
d. Jamal Anderson

1. From what team did the Panthers sign John Kasay as an unrestricted free agent in 1995?
a. Buffalo Bills
b. Seattle Seahawks
c. Denver Broncos
d. Washington Redskins

2. What player holds the Panthers record for touchdowns in a season?
a. Muhsin Muhammad
b. Steve Smith
c. Tshimanga Biakabutuka
d. Stephen Davis

3. Who is the Panthers’ all-time leading interceptor?
a. Sam Mills
b. Chris Gamble
c. Ricky Manning
d. Eric Davis

4. Who holds the team record for yards passing in a game?
a. Chris Weinke
b. Frank Reich
c. Steve Beuerlein
d. Jake Delhomme

5. Which Panthers player owns the record for career rushing yards?
a. Stephen Davis
b. Tshimanga Biakabutuka
c. DeShaun Foster
d. Fred Lane

At the Hall

Many mementos from the Panthers and Falcons are on exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here are two such artifacts enjoyed by visitors to the museum in Canton.

Read the caption under the image below and then take a guess at what you’re looking at. Click on the picture for the full photo and more information on the treasured artifact.

Former Falcon's kicker Morten Anderson, the NFL's all-time leading scorer, has mementos from another career milestone on display at the Hall of Fame.

A simple "flip" is all that it took to decide which expansion team - Carolina or Jacksonville - would be the first to pick in the 1995 NFL Draft.