The Atlanta Falcons joined the National Football League in 1965 as an expansion team after the NFL offered owner at the time Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival league at the time, the American Football League. Fun Fact: one of Smith’s first orders as owner of the new franchise was too put out a contest for the team’s name, and the winner of the contest was a school teacher that had put the name “Falcons”, because falcons as animals are proud and dignified and they also have great courage and great fight in them.
As of 2021, the Falcons haven’t won a Super Bowl Championship, but they lost in 2016 to the New England Patriots, and they also lost in 1998 to the Denver Broncos. The history of the franchise is littered with legendary players such as Tommy Nobis, Jeff Van Note, Steve Bartkowski, William Andrews, Deion Sanders, and countless others. Because of their impact on the game can be m measured in numerous ways such as revenue, endorsements, and memorabilia. Recently we’ve discovered that some of these Falcons jerseys have been sold for extremely high amounts. Today we will take a look at the five most expensive Falcons jerseys ever sold to date:
5. 1980’s Steve Bartkowski Team Issued Jersey – $149
Steve Bartkowski, also known as “Bart”, was the first overall pick of the 1975 NFL Draft and he went onto have a very successful rookie campaign as he went onto the win the 1975 Rookie of The Year Award. Bart was a two-time Pro Bowler during his career with the Falcons as he was on the team from 1975-1985. Fun Fact: He led the NFL in passing touchdowns in 1980 with a total of 31, and he is still the Falcons all-time leading passer.
This jersey that was sold at auction was actually never worn by Steve Bartkowski, it was issued by the Falcons after his career came to a conclusion. His team issued jersey was sold as part of the Heritage Auctions as part of the Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction, as the jersey sold for $149 and the jersey was sold on November 19th, 2016.
4. 1980’s William Andrews Game Worn and Signed Jersey – $600
William Andrews was a third round selection in the NFL Draft in 1979 after he had a successful collegiate career at Auburn. Williams was known to be a very bruising running back, a talented passer, and a punishing blocker. He rushed for over 5,900 yards during his career with the Falcons. Andrews also scored 30 touchdowns, he played in a total of 4 Pro Bowls, and he was one of the first players in NFL history to amass over 2,000 yards in receiving and rushing in the same exact season.
Unfortunately for him, his career came to an end very early on his career due to an injury that was very tough for him to recover from and be his same self on the field again. His jersey was sold as part of the Lelands Auctions as the jersey sold for a total of $600, as it was apart of the Lelands Spring Classic Auction of 2022 as the jersey was sold on June 11th, 2022.
3. 1982 Jeff Van Note Game Worn Atlanta Falcons Jersey – $1,050
Jeff Van Note anchored the middle of the Falcons offensive line from 1969 all the way up to 1985, meaning he was very durable and reliable throughout his entire career with the Falcons. The minute Van Note stepped on the field in Atlanta, he quickly became a fan favorite. Fun Fact: his 18-year tenure with the Falcons is the second longest in the NFL for a player on one singular team. Van Note was a five-time Pro Bowler with the Falcons, and he is still active with the Falcons ton this day as he is still doing post-game radio for the team.
Many people feel that he should have a shot of being inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame, and maybe just one day he might inducted in, only time will tell. His jersey was sold as part of the Heritage Auctions as part of the Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction, as the jersey sold for $1,050 and the jersey was sold on February 28th, 2021.
2. 1960’s Tommy Nobis Game Worn Jersey – $5,760
Tommy Nobis, also known as “Mr. Falcon” was the first overall pick of the 1965 NFL Draft, and he was also the very first draft selection in the history of the Atlanta Falcons franchise. Mr. Falcon made an immediate impact the minute he stepped out onto the field as he had a very successful rookie campaign as he won the 1966 Rookie of the Year Award, as he lead the team with a total of 294 tackles. Nobis was a five-time Pro Bowler and he patrolled the middle of the Falcons defense from 1966-1976.
He quickly became a fan favorite from the very first minute he stepped out onto the field and he was a respected player by all his peers that had to face him as their opponent, as they knew they were going to have a very long game having to deal with him. It can be argued that Tommy is another player that deserves to be in the National Football League Hall of Fame, but he still has a chance to be inducted in even though he hasn’t been yet. His jersey was sold as part of the Heritage Auctions as part of the Winter Platinum Night Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction, as the jersey sold for $5,760 and the jersey was sold on February 23rd, 2020.
1. 1992 Deion Sanders Game Worn and Signed Jersey – $6,006
Deion Sanders was drafted with the Falcons first round draft selection in the 1989 NFL Draft. The charismatic 8-time Pro Bowl defensive back was considered to be greatest to have ever played the position, and is also considered to be one of the greatest athletes that the sport of football has ever seen. When opposing quarterbacks were playing against Deion Sanders, they chose to typically avoid passing to the side that Sanders was playing on.
Sanders only played with the Falcons from 1989-1993, but he was able to intercept a total of 24 passes, and scored 10 touchdowns from turnovers. Fun Fact: Deion Sanders played with the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball from 1991-1994 and is the only player ever to have both played in a Super Bowl and in a World Series. His jersey was sold as part of the Heritage Auctions as part of the Summer Platinum Night Sports Collectibles Auction that was held in Dallas, the jersey was sold for $6,006 and the jersey was sold on August 18th, 2019.