WATCH: Jeff Merrow—Former #75 for 75 days left until opening day

Emily Barkann

Well, Falcons fans—there are 75 days left in the offseason until the Dirty Birds hit the field again. In honor of how close the season is, let’s take a look at former Falcon, Jeffrey Merrow, the most famous Falcon to wear number 75.

After a successful collegiate career at West Virginia University, Merrow entered the 1975 NFL Draft. Leaving college, Merrow was not a huge draft prospect, coming in at only 230-pounds. The Falcons selected Merrow in the 11th-round, 263rd-overall.

In Merrow’s rookie season for the Falcons playing defensive end, he instantly started twelve games for the team. For the next three years Merrow started for the Falcons until 1979 when he was sidelined with an injury.

Merrow was part of the 1977 Falcons’ “Gritz Blitz” defense. That season the Falcons dominated the NFL on defense—only allowing 129 points—an NFL record for fewest points allowed in a 14-game NFL season. Merrow had a hand in this success at defensive end. He had ten sacks that year.

During this time the team was only roughly a decade old—this feeling of happiness as a result of the success of the young team spread throughout Atlanta—needless to say, there were many fans of Jeff Merrow. The next season, Merrow led the Falcons to the playoffs and then again two seasons later.

Merrow retired in 1983 after enduring multiple injuries. He spent all nine seasons of his career with the Falcons and made a lasting impact on the team and their defensive line dynamic. Merrow stayed in Georgia where he now owns a truck lift company.