Former Atlanta Falcons and Texas Longhorns standout linebacker Tommy Nobis passed away on Wednesday morning. He was 74 years old.
Both college and pro football lost one of the best linebackers the sport has ever seen in Tommy Nobis on Wednesday morning. The former All-Pro with the Atlanta Falcons and College Football Hall of Famer with the Texas Longhorns passed away at the age of 74.
Nobis was an All-American collegiately at Texas. He won the Outland Trophy, the Maxwell Award and the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy as a senior in 1965. His No. 60 jersey is retired by his alma mater. He remains one of the greatest linebackers in college football history.
It didn’t stop in Austin for Nobis, as he was the first-ever player drafted by the expansion Falcons in the 1966 NFL Draft. He was taken No. 1 overall and “Mr. Falcon” didn’t disappoint in his 11 years as the franchise cornerstone.
Nobis was a five-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 1967. He was named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team. Nobis’ No. 60 jersey was retired by the Falcons after he hung up the spikes in 1977. He was one of four former Falcons to make up the inaugural Ring of Honor class in Atlanta, along with quarterback Steve Bartkowski, running back William Andrews and linebacker Jessie Tuggle.
While Nobis was a no-doubt Hall of Fame player while at Texas, his Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacy has been up for debate for some time. Though five Pro Bowls in 11 years with an expansion team is impressive, the Falcons didn’t make the playoffs until the year after he retired in 1978.
Nevertheless, Nobis was royalty when it comes to all things Texas and Falcons football. The pressure he faced as the face of an expansion franchise had to have been tremendous. Though Atlanta never won much of anything when he was playing linebacker, Nobis set a standard of what it means to wear a Falcons uniform. Few linebackers were as impactful of a player collegiately and professionally as was Nobis. He will certainly be missed.