Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Top 50 Falcons: No. 18, Jamal Anderson


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 18 is running back Jamal Anderson.

Years played for Falcons: Selected in the seventh round of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Utah, it took two years before the original Dirty Bird made his mark as a bell-cow back for the Falcons. His 1,846 yards rushing during the 1998 march to the Super Bowl is still a single-season franchise record. That year he was named a Pro Bowl selection and an All-Pro. He played from 1994 to 2001 in Atlanta before a career-ending knee injury ended his playing life as a 29-year-old.

Jersey No.: 32

His impact on the team: Jamal Anderson was the heart and soul of the greatest Falcons team in history. A 14-2 regular season and a Super Bowl XXXIII appearance was large in part thanks to Anderson’s downhill running. His 1,846 yards is still a record and his 14 rushing touchdowns also stood for 10-years before Michael Turner broke it with 17 in 2008. Anderson is credited for creating the infamous “Dirty Bird” dance that swept the nation. In a 1998 press conference he exclaimed, “people break out and do the Dirty Bird in the strangest places.” He ranks fifth all-time in franchise history with 5,336 yards rushing and third with 34 touchdowns.

On the 1998 Falcons: “One thing that was so special about our football team is that we were genuinely, tremendously close. We were a very close group. And what we accomplished, we'll never forget [it].”

Where he is now: Anderson, now 43, lives in the Atlanta area and has had numerous run-ins with the law. He was arrested in February 2009 on suspicion of cocaine possession, DUI in 2012 and was charged with two more DUIs in a span of 10 months with his latest arrest coming in September.

The countdown to the Top 50 players in Falcons history runs through the end of the season.

Top 50 Falcons Countdown

50: Chuck Smith

49: Michael Haynes

48: Jonathan Babineaux

47: John Zook

46: Ken Reaves

45: Lynn Cain

44: Justin Blalock

43: Bobby Butler

42: Tim Mazzetti

41: Buddy Curry

40: Scott Case

39: Jeff Merrow

38: Elbert Shelley

37: Matt Bryant

36: Alge Crumpler

35: Michael Turner

34: Ray Buchanan

33: Chris Hinton

32: Terance Mathis

31: Devin Hester

30: Don Smith

29: Greg Brezina

28: Chris Miller

27: John James

26: Bob Whitfield

25: Rolland Lawrence

24: Alfred Jenkins

23: Billy Johnson

22: Chris Chandler

21: Morten Andersen

20: John Abraham

19: George Kunz

18: Jamal Anderson


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