A look at the connections between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
NEW ENGLAND TIES
- Falcons owner Arthur Blank graduated from Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson was named in Blank's honor in 1998.
- Falcons QB Matt Ryanwas a standout quarterback at Boston College from 2004-2007. Ryan led the Eagles to national prominence in his junior and senior year, compiling back-to-back 10-plus win seasons and earning First-Team All-American and ACC Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2007.
- Falcons LB Josh Keyesalso played his college career at Boston College where he appeared in 43 games and amassed 124 total tackles.
- Atlanta DE Dwight Freeney is a native of Hartford, Conn. where he attended Bloomfield High School and earned All-American and All-Central Connecticut West honors.
- Falcons WRNick Williams played his college career at the University at Connecticut. He appeared in 42 games for the Huskies and totaled 43 receptions for 588 yards and two touchdowns.
- Atlanta CBBldi Wreh-Wilson was born in Malden, Mass. and attended the University of Connecticut. As a senior with the Huskies in 2012, Wreh-Wilson was honored as the team MVP and was also named to the All-Big East Second Team.
- Falcons defensive assistant/linebackers coach Chad Walker was the defensive coordinator at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. from 2008-10.
- Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell is originally from Valdosta, Ga. and played his college career at the University of Georgia where he amassed 174 receptions for 2,350 yards and 16 touchdowns in 47 games played for the Bulldogs. He attended Valdosta High School and set a single season reception record in 2010 with 77 catches for 1,419 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior.
- New England C David Andrews also attended the University of Georgia and hails from Johns Creek, Ga., which lies roughly 30 miles north of Atlanta.
- Patriots OL Shaq Mason played his college career at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga.
- New England DB Justin Coleman is originally from Brunswick, Ga.
- Patriots DB Jonathan Jones grew up in Carrollton, Ga.
- Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was the Director of College Scouting in New England from 2003-2007. During his five-year tenure overseeing the Patriots area scouts, the Patriots compiled a 77-17 and won two Super Bowls (2003 and 2004). Dimitroff's father, Tom, also played one year for the Boston Patriots in 1960.
- Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli spent several seasons with the Patriots organization as assistant director of player personnel, (2000), director of player personnel (2001) and vice president of player personnel (2002-08).
- Falcons director of pro personnel Joel Collier spent several seasons with the Patriots organization as assistant running backs coach (1991-92), a pro scout (1993), assistant secondary coach (2005) and secondary coach (2006-07).
- Falcons DTJoe Vellano spent the 2013-14 seasons in New England with the Patriots and appeared in 21 games while amassing 60 total tackles.
- Atlanta pass game coordinator Jerome Henderson played in New England from 1991-93, and again during the 1996 season.
- Falcons defensive line coachBryan Coxplayed for the Patriots in 2001 and was a part of the Super Bowl Championship team that season.
FORMER NFL TEAMMATES
- Falcons DETyson Jackson and FB Patrick DiMarco played at Kansas City when Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs.
- Atlanta DE Dwight Freeney was teammates with New England WR Michael Floyd at the Arizona Cardinals.
- Falcons C Alex Mackand WR Taylor Gabrielwere teammates with Patriots RB Dion Lewis and DL Jabaal Sheard at the Cleveland Browns.
- Atlanta G Andy Levitre and New England WR Chris Hogan were teammates at the Buffalo Bills.
- Falcons WR Eric Weemsand LB Laroy Reynolds played with Patriots TE Martellus Bennett and LB Shea McClellin at the Chicago Bears.
- Atlanta pass game coordinatorJerome Henderson worked on the coaching staff in Cleveland when New England DL Jabaal Sheard played for the Browns, as well as when Patriots tight ends coach Brian Dabollwas the offensive coordinator.
- Falcons defensive line coachBryan Cox was the defensive line coach at Cleveland when Patriots tight ends coachBrian Dabollwas the offensive coordinator. Cox and Daboll also worked together on the coaching staff at the Miami Dolphins.
- Cox also worked in Tampa Bay when Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount played for the Buccaneers.
- Atlanta linebackers coachJeff Ulbrich and secondary coach/senior defensive assistant Marquand Manuelworked in Seattle when New England DL Alan Branch played for the Seahawks.
- Falcons offensive assistants Mike McDanieland Mike LaFleur, as well as offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahanworked for the Browns when Patriots DL Jabaal Sheard and RB Dion Lewis played in Cleveland.
- Atlanta running backs coach Bobby Turnercoached the running backs in Denver under New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels who was the head coach of the Broncos at the time.
- Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong coached special teams for the Bears when Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears was the receivers coach in Chicago.
FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES
- Atlanta LB Deion James and CB Jalen Collins played with New England LB Barkevious Mingo at Louisiana State.
- Falcons TELevine Toiloloand TE Austin Hooper were teammates with Patriots DB Jordan Richards and OL Cameron Fleming at Stanford.
- Atlanta OLB Courtney Upshaw and WR Julio Jones played at Alabama with New England LB Dont'a Hightower and when Patriots special teams coachJoe Judgewas the football analyst/special teams assistant for the Crimson Tide.
- Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu played with Patriots DB Duron Harmon, DB Devin McCourty and CB Logan Ryan at Rutgers.
- Atlanta defensive assistant/linebackers coach Chad Walkerworked at Oklahoma when Patriots DL Geneo Grissom played for the Sooners.
- Falcons defensive assistant/defensive backs coachDoug Mallory was the secondary coach at Maryland when Patriots defensive line coachBrendan Daly was a graduate assistant for the Terrapins. Mallory and Daly also worked together on the coaching staff at Oklahoma State.