Rankin Smith, a young insurance executive, had control of the property of the Falcons. Virtually unknown to the general public, Smith immediately endeared himself to fans of the sport with a rhetorical question, the election in a press conference after his acquisition of the franchise: "Not all adult males in the United U.S. wants to own your own team? "Not every adult American males have the means to swing a deal, but it was comforting to know that a man can dream like any other.
On the first day there were over 1,000 phone calls to the offices of Smith for tickets. In August, a competition was completed which resulted in the nickname Falcons. Several people suggested the name "hawks" in the contest, but a school teacher from nearby Griffin, GA (Ms. Julia Elliott), was selected the winner for his reasons: "The falcon is proud and dignified, with great courage and fight it and which never falls prey. It is deadly and has a great sporting tradition. "
In mid-December, Smith had signed the player most coveted college football in the nation, Texas linebacker Tommy Nobis. On Christmas Eve, when the Falcons cut 54-day written ticket sales, with almost no promotion, a new record in the National Football League was established for fertilizers sold by a new team (45,000). Green Bay Packer assistant Norb Hacker was hired as the first head coach and immediately began to sift through a huge list of NFL players available to the Atlanta expansion team by other teams in the league. Three men were selected from each NFL club and these 42 formed the nucleus of the list. Added to this group were drafted rookies, free agents and dozens of few players obtained in various trades.
In over 35 years of ownership of the Smith family had only hawks very short moments of success! When Rankin Smith Sr., died in October 1997, his family retained control of the Falcons.