It isn’t easy being a fan of the Atlanta Falcons on Super Bowl Sunday because our team usually isn’t in the Big Game. And as history shows, it’s even harder to be a Falcons fan on Super Bowl Sunday when they are in the game.
On Jan. 31, 1999, the Falcons were shellacked by the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII, a game that they actually led 3-0 early (pause for laughter). The Broncos then went on a 31-3 run, burying Atlanta for good.
But two Falcons would score touchdowns late in the game, etching their names in history as the only two Atlanta players to ever do it in the Big Game. Although plenty of former Falcons (ahem, Brett Favre) have gone on to score Super Bowl touchdowns as members of other teams, here are the only two to do it in a Falcons uniform.
Wide receiver/kick returner Tim Dwight
Dwight was just a rookie during the Falcons’ magical 1998 season, but he was a huge part of why the team was so explosive. An electric young player out of the University of Iowa, Dwight could flip the field in a heartbeat.
With the Falcons down 31-6 in the middle of the fourth quarter, Dwight took a kickoff return 94 yards for a touchdown, scoring the first Super Bowl TD in Falcons history – remember that, trivia buffs – and by far the longest. It meant very little in the grand scheme of things, cutting the deficit to 31-13, but it will forever stand as a big moment in Falcons history.
His 210 kick-return yards remain No. 2 in Super Bowl history for a single game, behind only San Diego’s Andre Coleman, who gained 244 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX.
Dwight would play three seasons with the Falcons before getting traded in 2001 as part of the deal that brought Michael Vick to Atlanta. He would play seven more seasons before retiring in 2007 after a year with the Oakland Raiders.
Super Bowl XXXIII would be Dwight’s only trip to the Big Game.
Wide receiver Terance Mathis
Regarded as one of the best receivers in Falcons history (he caught two touchdown passes in the NFC Championship game two weeks earlier, as well), Mathis caught a 3-yard pass from quarterback Chris Chandler with a little over two minutes left in the game. It would be the final score of Super Bowl XXXIII, giving us a final score of 34-19.
Mathis finished the game with seven catches for 85 yards, leading his team in both stats in the defeat.
Mathis remains the second-best Falcons receiver in franchise history in terms of receiving yards. From 1994 to 2001, Mathis gained 7,349 yards in an Atlanta uniform, bested only by Roddy White. But in those eight seasons with the Falcons, when he caught a total of 573 passes, Mathis fumbled the ball just twice. Even more impressive, Mathis only missed two games in those eight years combined.
Mathis would play one more season, signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, before retiring at the end of 2002. Like Dwight, Mathis would only have one trip to the Super Bowl.
Photo via Wikimedia CommonsFollow @Sean_Breslin