The Career of Tommy Nobis


Thomas Henry Nobis Jr. or popularly known as Tommy Nobis was a football player that played in the National Football League or NFL as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. Tommy Nobis was born on September 20, 1943, in San Antonio, Texas. The Atlanta Falcons drafted Tommy Nobis during the first round of the NFL draft in 1966. Throughout his NFL career, Tommy Nobis has been selected in the All-Pro selection and Pro Bowl selections. In this article, we are going to know more about the career of the iconic Tommy Nobis.

Early Years

When Tommy Nobis was in high school, he was the middle linebacker, and all-state offensive ends for the Thomas Jefferson Mustangs. During that time, he showed excellent football playing skills, that is why he got into the University of Texas and played with the Texas Longhorns.

Nobis achieved 20 tackles per game and became one of college football’s greatest linebackers of all time. When the Texas Longhorns competed in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Nobis became an essential part of the team because he helped them defeat the Navy Midshipmen football team.

Throughout his college football career, Nobis became a two-time All-America player and entered the All-Southwest Conference team three times. During his junior year, the Longhorns played in the 1965 Orange Bowl, where Nobis made one of the most iconic tackles in American football’s history. Tommy Nobis was hailed as the iron man of football because he played on both offense and defense during college. Aside from being an All-American linebacker, Nobis also experiences being the guard on the ball’s offensive side, which he is often the primary blocker on touchdown runs. Nobis had fantastic football playing skills that coach Darrel Royal called Nobis as the most exceptional two-way player he had ever seen.

During his senior season, Nobis suffered from a knee injury, which caused him to take things slow. However, it did not stop him from giving out his best performance and win a handful of major individual awards such as the Knute Rockne Award, the Outland Trophy, best lineman, and best interior lineman. He also received a Maxwell Award for being college football’s best player.

NFL Career

During the 1966 NFL draft, Tommy Nobis became the first player that was drafted by the expansion team, Atlanta Falcons. However, he was also picked by the Houston Oilers during the AFL draft. This started a dilemma and a debate where astronaut Frank Borman talked back to Earth to say that Nobis should sign with Houston. However, Tommy Nobis still chose to sign with Atlanta and became the first player of the Atlanta Falcons.

Nobis and the Falcons played their first NFL game in 1966. During that season, Tommy Nobis became the NFL Rookie of the Year, and after that, he was voted to be in the Pro Bowl because he managed to achieve 294 combined tackles. During eleven professional seasons, Nobis led the Falcons in tackles nine times, named All-Pro twice, and went to five Pro Bowls. He even managed to enter the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1960s. Tommy Nobis enjoyed a very successful NFL career. In fact, most football fans believe that he is worthy of being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After being a football player for over 40 years, Nobis decided to take a rest and retire from the Falcons. Nobis became a member of the Atlanta Falcons’ Ring of Honor, and his jersey number was the first number retired by the team. In fact, no other member of the Atlanta Falcons worn the #60 since Nobis retired.

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