After the City of Atlanta witnessed its two premiere football programs score a grand total of two offensive touchdowns in 120 minutes of play, I began to wonder if the two Atlanta football brand names had ever played on the same day before. The Falcons have played 893 games since their inaugural 1966 season. Tech has played 524 games in that same span. There have been hundreds of instances where the two teams have played on the same weekend in Atlanta but there were only two instances ever where the football stars aligned for Atlanta sports fans. The second ever instance was this past Independence Bowl
and Monday Night Football
. The previous occurrence happened on October 23rd, 1976.
Georgia Tech was under third year head coach Pepper Rodgers in 1976. The Jackets weren't playing well. They entered their seventh game of the regular season 2-3-1. Rodgers had only mustered a 15-12-1 overall record in his first two and a half seasons before the October 23rd date with Tulane. Fortunately for Tech, Tulane was pretty bad (they finished the 1976 season 2-9).
The Falcons rolled into San Francisco on October 23rd, 1976 as Tech was preparing to play Tulane. The Falcons were a measly 1-4 starting the 1976 season before they fired head coach Marion Campbell
. Campbell had just replaced Norm Van Brocklin
and hadn't really improved the Falcons much since Van Brocklin's departure. The Falcons had managed a combined 5-14 record under Marion Campbell. The Birds finished the season under interim coach Pat Peppler. Peppler would coach the Birds during the first ever Tech-Falcons Event. The Birds had split all 18 previous meetings with the 49ers in build up to this game.
The 1976 Tulane-Tech game required a fourth quarter comeback including a miraculous 25-yard halfback TD pass from David Sims. Tech trailed 16-14 going into the fourth quarter and scored two unanswered touchdowns to put away the Green Wave 28-16. 31,214 upset Louisianans exited the game with 42 seconds remaining as Eddie Lee Ivery sealed the victory with a 2 yard touchdown. Tech was out gained 341-297 in total offense but somehow managed to steal the victory from the New Orleans Natural Disasters
The Falcons met the opposite side of the coin on October 23, 1976. Falcon quarterback, Kim McQuilken, was fairly futile in a 7 of 25 passing effort that saw the Falcons only gain 44 total yards of offense. McQuilken was sacked 8 times for -85 yards of offense. The 49ers' Jim Plunkett
didn't need a terribly efficient day to defeat the Falcons either. The 49ers went on to win 6 games in 1976 including the 15-0 shutout of the Falcons. The 44 total yards of offense is the lowest total offensive output in franchise history.