The Atlanta Falcons franchise began on June 30, 1965, when Rozelle granted ownership to 40-year-old Rankin Smith Sr. , an Executive Vice President of Life Insurance Company of Georgia. He paid $8. 5 million, the highest price in NFL history at the time for a franchise. Rozelle and Smith made the deal in about five minutes and the Atlanta Falcons brought the largest and most popular sport to the city of Atlanta. The Atlanta expansion team became the 15th NFL franchise, and they were awarded the first overall pick in the 1966 NFL Draft as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds. They selected consensus All-American linebacker Tommy Nobis from the University of Texas, making him the first-ever Falcon. The league also held the expansion draft six weeks later in which Atlanta selected unprotected players from the 14 existing franchises. Although the Falcons selected many good players in those drafts, they still were not able to win right away.
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