Jeff Van Note 6'2" 247 Center Atlanta Falcons 1969 - 1986 18 Seasons 246 Games Played 5 Pro Bowls
Jeffrey Aloysius Van Note was an 11th round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1969. He was the 262nd player picked overall. Van Note would go on to play his entire 18-year NFL career as a center for the Atlanta Falcons from 1969 to 1986. After beginning his college career as a fullback, Van Note then moved to defensive end at the University of Kentucky. Van Note earned 2nd team All SEC honors in his sophomore year. He was named Kentucky's team MVP his senior year. He was drafted as a linebacker.
Van Note was soon moved to Center by Falcons NFL Hall of Fame head coach Norm Van Brocklin. Van Note eventually became an upper echelon Center in the NFL. His 18 NFL years is amongst the top 25 longest in NFL history and is the second longest while staying with the same team. He played in 246 games over this stretch, and his 225 games started is second in Falcons history to. Van Note only missed four games in his entire NFL career.
The Falcons retired Van Note's number at halftime of his final home game. He was voted the franchise's favorite player during the Falcons' 25th Anniversary season in 1991 by fans. Van Note was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame and to the Falcons' Ring of Honor.
Jeff Van Note played in an era full of excellent Centers in the NFC. Tom Banks, Rich Saul, Len Hauss, Forrest Blue, Ed Flanagan, Mick Tingelhoff, Jay Hilgenberg, and Doug C. Smith were all multiple Pro Bowl Honorees during Van Notes era. Jeff made 3 straight Pro Bowls from ages 34 to 36. He was an athletic, strong, and technically sound player. He languished on some bad teams, but was one of the players the Falcons could rely on week in and week out for many years. His name was constantly bandied about as one of the NFL's top Centers during his career. His status as a fan favorite exemplifies this. Many great offensive lineman languish in anonymity. The Falcons had flashy players like Tommy Nobis, White Shoes Johnson and Steve Bartkowski, but Van Note is the guy most Falcon fans say symbolize the franchise best. He may not be the greatest Center who ever played, but he is certainly amongst those mentioned as one of the greats. Jeff Van Note should be inducted into Canton.
Notable Players Drafted In 1969 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
1. O.J. Simpson, RB, Buffalo * 4. Joe Greene, DT, Pittsburgh * 7. Ted Kwalick, TE, San Francisco 11. Bill Stanfill, DE, Miami 13. Fred Dryer, DE, NY Giants 16. Gene Washington, WR, San Francisco 19. Roger Wehrli, CB, St. Louis Cardinals * 20. Ron Johnson, RB, Cleveland 24. Calvin Hill, RB, Dallas 31. Bill Bergey, LB, Cincinnati 33. Ted Hendricks, LB, Baltimore * 39. Ed White, OG, Minnesota 41. Bobby Douglass, QB, Chicago 48. Ed Podolak, RB, Kansas City 56. Jon Kolb, C, Pittsburgh 63. Eugene "Mercury" Morris, RB, Miami 69. Bill Bradley, S, Philadelphia 80. Bob Kuechenberg, OG, Philadelphia 93. Charlie Joiner, WR, Houston * 96. Roy Gerela, P, Houston 99. John Zook, DE, LA Rams 101. Jack Rudnay, C, Kansas City 135. Ken Riley, QB, Cincinnati 139. Harold McLinton, LB, Washington 238. L.C. Greenwood, DE, Pittsburgh 273. John Fuqua, RB, NY Giants 337. Carl Mauck, LB, Baltimore 338. Steve O'Neal, P, NY Jets