The Atlanta Falcons had about the worse year a team could have in 2007. The franchise was reeling from the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal, they had a mere four wins, and Bobby Petrino resigned as head coach after 13 games so he could return to the college ranks. The Falcons were struggling on and off the field and the team's future looked more than bleak. In the offseason, the Falcons made several moves that quickly turned things around. They hired Thomas Dimitroff as general manager and Mike Smith as their new head coach. They signed star running back Michael Turner and drafted quarterback Matt Ryan. These four individuals helped the Falcons get back to winning. In 2008, the team went 11-5 and qualified for the postseason. Smith was named coach of the year and Ryan earned rookie of the year honors. The “Dirty Birds” would also make the playoffs in 2010 and 2011.
The Falcons started playing in the NFL in 1966 as an expansion team. They are aligned in the NFC South with rivals the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons play their home games at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Some of the notable players that have donned the Falcons uniform over the years include quarterback Steve Bartkowski, defensive back Deion Sanders, center Jeff Van Note, linebacker Jessie Tuggle, and linebacker Tommy Nobis.