The man was called everything from arrogant to rude to selfish and lazy. But at the end of the day, Deion Sanders was one of the most exciting and entertaining players to ever take an NFL field. He absolutely is the most exciting Falcon of all time. Neon Deion was the first Falcon to really garner national attention, and tonight he will also be the first Falcon in the Hall of Fame.
Now, I'll admit that Prime's glory days were a bit before my time. But looking back at all those times Sanders would simply glide down the field and high step to the endzone made me realize that the NFL lost one of the most dynamic players I've ever seen when he retired.
In honor of Prime's induction, here's a great recap of some of his finest moments as a Falcon (go here for more, from FSU to the Niners to his rap career):
Much like Matt Ryan's first pass went for a TD, so too did Deion's first punt return (a 68-yarder against the Rams). He would point to the opposing sideline and claim "this one's going back," only to make good on his word seconds later. He also showed his former teammate Andre Rison that he was no pushover either:
Deion Sanders DESTROYS Andre Rison (via Nate187um)
Guys like Revis and Asomugha are good, but Sanders is the guy that defined "shutdown corner." Teams didn't throw to his side of the field because they were scared. They were scared because if he did get his hands on the ball, more than likely it was going the other way for six points.
In an NFL dominated by polished QB's, people paid money to watch Sanders play cornerback. Building on his success with the Falcons, Prime Time built himself into his own brand and appeared in everything from commercials to even his very own video game:
Deion Sanders Prime Time Football Gameplay (Sega Genesis) (via L1011Widebody)
He constantly ran his mouth, never stopped showboating, but in the end Deion was simply too good to prove anybody otherwise. Deion knew he was better than you, and he made sure everyone in Fulton County Stadium knew it, too.
For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic.