The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the leagueís National Football Conference (NFC) South division. The Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League (AFL). The AFL instead granted a franchise to Miami (the Miami Dolphins). The Falcons are tied with the Dolphins (who also began play in 1966) for being the oldest NFL franchise in the Deep South, and are the oldest NFC team in that region.