FALCONS SMITH MEMORIALIZED, REMEMBERED AS "CIVIC TREASURE"
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).