With the NFL conference realignment for the 2002 season, the Atlanta Falcons moved from the NFL West to the NFL South.

In the 2001 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons traded for the first pick and picked future superstar Michael Vick at Quarterback. In the 2001 season he mainly played as the backup to longtime QB Chris Chandler but did get some playtime which included 300 rushes in 29 attempts and 1 rushing touchdown, his obvious forte being his feet.

In 2002 Michael Vick led the Falcons to a rocky start with 3 losses in 4 games, the first 2 of which had a point differential of 4, versus the Green Bay Packers (34-37 OT) and the Chicago Bears (13-14). Since then the Falcons have wracked up 6 straight wins (interspersed by 1 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers).