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This Day in Georgia History

January 17, 1999

Falcons Advanced to Super Bowl

In Minneapolis, the Atlanta Falcons played the Minnesota Vikings for the championship of the National Football Conference. Although Atlanta had a 14-2 regular season – the best in team history – Minnesota, with a 15-1 season, was widely expected to win. The Falcons scored first, but Minnesota came back to tie and then take the lead. With 9 minutes left in the game, Minnesota lead by 10 points – and the game seemed over. The Falcons then scored a field goal to bring them within 7 points of the Vikings. Finally,with one minute left in the game, Atlanta quarterback Chris Chandler threw a touchdown pass to tie the score at 27-27. The game went to overtime, which meant the first team to score won. Minnesota won the coin toss to receive, but finally had to punt on fourth down. After the ball went back and forth several times, the Falcons took over within their own 10-yard-line and marched down the field. On third down, Atlanta coach Dan Reeves called on Morten Andersen to try a field goal from the 20. Andersen came through with a 38-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 30-27 victory, the NFC championship, and the team’s first-ever berth in the Super Bowl. Amazingly, the Falcons went through five quarters without an offensive penalty to win their first-ever victory in the Minneapolis Metrodome. Some sportscasters called it one of the best championship games in professional football history.