The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are a member of the South Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League (AFL). The AFL instead granted a franchise to Miami, Florida (the Miami Dolphins). In their 45 years of existence, the Falcons have compiled a record of 298–402–6 with division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, and 2010. Their only Super Bowl appearance was Super Bowl XXXIII.
Once a stadium, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was built, Atlantans felt the time was right to start pursuing professional football. One independent group which had been active in NFL exhibition promotions in Atlanta applied for franchises in both the American Football League and the NFL, acting entirely on its own with no guarantee of stadium rights. Another group reported it had deposited earnest money for a team in the AFL.
With everyone running in different directions, some local businessmen worked out a deal and were awarded