Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship game It was the final football game played inside the Georgia Dome for the Falcons, as they will move their new location, The Mercedes-Benz Stadium, next season.
The Falcons spent their first 31 seasons, from 1966 to 1991, competing at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, sharing the stadium with the Atlanta Braves. Construction for a new stadium exclusive to the Falcons broke ground in November of 1989.
Almost three years and $214 million in construction costs later, the Georgia Dome was born.
The Dome opened on September 6, 1992 with the Falcons first regular season game of the 1992 season. An opening crowd of 65,585 fans watched the Falcons win their first game inside the new stadium, defeating the New York Jets 20-17. They ended up going 5-3 at home, but did not qualify for the playoffs after finishing the ’92 season 6-10.
It would take six more seasons before the Georgia Dome held its first playoff game.
In 1998, the Atlanta Falcons produced their best season record in franchise history. They finished 14-2 in the regular season, and won all eight home games.
Clinching the No. 2 seed in the NFC, they clinched a first round bye and a guaranteed home game in the divisional round, the first playoff game inside the dome.
70,262 fans packed themselves in the dome on January 9, 1999 and witnessed the Falcons defeat the San Francisco 49ers 20-18, advancing to NFC championship, and later to Super Bowl XXXIII, losing to the Denver Broncos.
The Georgia Dome played host to multiple sporting events during its 25 year existence, like the NCAA Final Four Men’s and Women’s Basketball National Championship, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, Wrestlemania 27, and Super Bowls 28 and 34.
It also hosted four more divisional playoff games since then, but did not host its first NFC Championship game until January 20, 2013 where the Falcons lost to San Francisco 28-24.
Now, the Falcons have a chance to finish their final game inside the dome on top before moving to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
71,155 fans thought they saw their final game inside the dome on Saturday Jan. 14 in a divisional playoff game, where the Falcons defeated the Seattle Seahawks. As the No. 2 seed, the location of the NFC championship game was yet to be determined until the conclusion of the No. 1 seeded Dallas Cowboys and the No. 4 seeded Green Bay Packers. When Green Bay defeated Dallas the next day 34-31, it was official.
The Falcons are coming home one more time.
With the closing coming sometime in March, thousands of fans will be packed inside looking to see Atlanta punch their ticket to Super Bowl 51 with what will be the final football game inside the Georgia Dome.