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FALCONS SMITH MEMORIALIZED, REMEMBERED AS "CIVIC TREASURE"
Published October 29, 1997
At a memorial service for Falcons Owner Rankin Smith yesterday, the "unwavering love of his birthplace and football team and, most important, his family, both nuclear and extended, were common themes," according to Len Pasquarelli of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The service was "so well-attended that the crowd filled every pew and spilled over into a nearby chapel." Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and "at least" 10 NFL owners attended, and "virtually" every franchise was represented at the service. Before the service, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell said that part of the city's Super Bowl XXXIV festivities will include "honoring Smiths's role" in bringing two Super Bowl games to the city (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/29). Tagliabue, on Smith's legacy: "It is hard to balance. The most visible thing was the won-lost record. What was less visible was his laying the groundwork for the future. The bringing of the NFL to Atlanta. The Georgia Dome. The Super Bowls. I'm sure it was his great wish that [son] Taylor and the rest of the family turn around that record. That would make him smile most of all" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/29).