KIRBY: Tommy Nobis, the first Falcon, was the greatest

Fame clearly isn’t everything.

 

– J.K. Rowling

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will never truly fulfill its mission until former Atlanta Falcon linebacker Tommy Nobis takes his place among the game’s greatest players.

Those of us who saw him play on TV and in person half a century ago cannot understand it.

Nobis, who passed away this week after a long illness, was not only the first Falcon in 1966, he was the best of Falcons, a remarkable player on truly unremarkable teams.

How good was he?

As a rookie, he set the unofficial record of 296 tackles in a season. This despite the fact that the other teams could afford to have three or four guys blocking him. By comparison, the leading Falcon tackler on last year’s Super Bowl team only had 91.

Nobis led the team in tackles nine times. He made the Pro Bowl five times. He not only made the NFL’s All Decade Team of the 1960s, he was selected second as the Best Athlete of the Decade.

He retired in 1976 and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Nobis did all this with no arrests, no drugs, no nightclub assaults. And when he retired he and his family foundation assisted the disabled in getting jobs.

Most people are lucky if they can name one linebacker in the Hall of Fame.

I could not name one better.

Tommy Nobis.

BIBLE RETIREMENT: In some recent extended family cleanup I have come across perhaps 30 old Bibles.

They are in dreadful shape. Truly falling apart.

Some have inscriptions to long-departed and quite distant family members. Many do not.

Some could be donated, and that was the easy part.

Many are just crumbling.

Some have a missing front or back cover, or are coming loose from their bindings.

What do you do?

Does one retire a Bible the way one retires a flag? Do you burn it?

Do you bury it? And if so, is there a service involved?

TODAY’S JOKE: A little silver-haired lady calls her neighbor and says, “Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure out how to get started.”

Her neighbor asks, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?”

The little silver-haired lady says, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a rooster.”

Her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says:

“First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.”

He takes her hand and says, “Secondly, I want you to relax. Let’s have a nice cup of tea, and then,” he says with a deep sigh, “let’s put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.”

 

Reach Bill Kirby at bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.

 

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