The Atlanta Falcons and their talented receiver, Roddy White, had a 13-3 2012 finish and made it all the way to the NFC Championship. How much of the Falcons’ success has been in the hands of White?
When White broke into the National Football League, he spent his first two seasons as an average receiver. 59 receptions for 952 yards and three touchdowns is not a big splash. But 2007 was his breakout year. White’s 83 receptions for 1,202 yards and six touchdowns led the team in every receiving category.
Unfortunately that was the in between year for Falcons fans. Michael Vick was getting sentenced and Matt Ryan hadn’t yet arrived. The Falcons needed a bright spot, and White seemed to provide at least some hope that year.
Ryan’s entrance in 2008 allowed White to get even better. He had 88 receptions for 1,382 yards, and the Falcons went from 4-12 in 2007 to 11-5 in 2008. White made his first Pro Bowl and he was ninth in the league in receptions. He broke the Falcons’ single season receiving yards record and finished 4th in receptions in the NFL.
As a receiver, White seems to get better every year. He has been in the top ten in receptions since 2008, and he finished first in the NFL with 115 in 2010. 2011 saw him finish second, and last year he had 92 receptions for 1,351 yards. His skills are essential to the Falcons.
But White provides more than just pure talent. His leadership ability has been evident in the locker room which was practically demonstrated with the mentoring of second year pro Julio Jones. White is also a pro athlete who gives back to the community. His Keep the Faith Foundation has helped a multitude of young people.
What does White mean to the Falcons? It’s obvious, both on and off the field.