Atlanta Falcons dedicate new media room to Lanett native

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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The Atlanta Falcons have honored the late Jimmy Cribb for his 39 years of service to the team by dedicating the team’s new media room to him. The dedication plaque was revealed to Cribb’s wife, Pattie Cribb, on Jan. 2.

Jimmy worked as the team photographer from 1988 to 2017. According to Pattie, in those days teams didn’t usually hire photographers full-time, but he was so talented that they hired him. He shot 750 games and 38 seasons with the Falcons. 

In March 2017, Jimmy Cribb returned to the Valley to be a guest speaker for his book, “You’ll Never Get in the Game,” at the Bradshaw Library. In his book, he told the story of how he wanted to play high school football, but because he was 5-foot-4, his coach told him, “I could give you a uniform but you’ll never get in the game.”

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Instead, he became the team’s trainer and thus started his career working on the sidelines of the football field. Regardless, Cribb became an expert in football. Pattie Cribb remembered that she asked him if he ever got on the wrong side of the field for a photo, and he said it was only when the coach called the wrong play.

Jimmy Cribb retired in September of 2018 due to his health. Pattie said that if it weren’t for his health, he would have continued on. That month, he was honored as a Legend and given a blazer and ring. Later, the Falcons also threw a party for him. Cribb came home with a large banner announcing his retirement that he strung up on his porch, without telling his wife.

“I thought that’s it. That’s all they’re doing for him,” Pattie Cribb said. 

However, Falcons President Rich McKay had one more honor in mind for Cribb when he called Pattie Cribb and asked her to come to the new building. Inside the Jimmy Cribb media room is a plaque with four photos of Cribb taking pictures. Underneath is a plaque with a biography of his time with the team. 

“When they said ‘plaque,’ I thought it would be like 8×10 … I would never have imagined it would be like this,” Pattie Cribb said. 

On April 27, 2022, Jimmy Cribb passed away. Though he didn’t get the chance to see the dedication, Pattie said she believes it would have meant a lot to him.

“When they did the Legend honor on the field, I didn’t see any tears but if he had seen this, I think it would’ve brought tears to his eyes,” Pattie Cribb said.

After he passed away, Cribb was remembered by many of the athletes he photographed over the years. Pattie Cribb said she was shocked when she saw the tweet that former NFL Player Roddy White posted honoring Cribb for his positivity and love for everyone.

“Jimmy was a kind and terrific man,” 11Alive news and sports anchor Jeff Hullinger told VTN. “He was also an outstanding team photographer. Jimmy befriended generations of Atlanta Falcons football players.”

Recently retired Atlanta Journal-Constitution multi-media specialist (photojournalist) Curtis Compton, who worked alongside Jimmy for a few decades recalls working in the old media room at Flowery Branch with him.

“The old media room at Flowery Branch was as semi-small room with a few desks lining two walls for the media, a small stage for press conference and a small closet in the corner of the room,” Compton told VTN. “That small closet was Jimmy’s office. The desk just outside the door was always stacked high with some of the amazing team photos, all giant wall hangers, Jimmy captured that had graced the walls inside the Falcons practice facility. I used to tease Jimmy he needed more room and a real office upstairs … and he’d respond ‘they want me upstairs, but I like it down here!'”

Compton is pleased with how the Atlanta Falcons organization chose to honor Jimmy’s legacy.

“He [Jimmy] was a man who absolutely loved what he was doing, did it for as long as he could with no desire to retire until he became too ill to work, and always helped me tremendously as a friend while still maintaining his loyalty to the team and to owner Arthur Blank whom he said always took care of me,” Compton said. “He was my friend and I am thankful to the Atlanta Falcons for the top-notch way they have treated and honored his memory.”

While Cribb was from Lanett and Pattie Cribb was from Valley, they ended up raising their two daughters in Stone Mountain, Georgia. They stayed there for 22 years so that their daughters could have a nice community to grow up in. 

“That’s what we wanted for them because that’s what we had in Lanett and Valley,” Pattie Cribb said.

In about three weeks, Pattie Cribb will be donating eight more of Jimmy Cribb’s autobiographies to the Bradshaw Library. The books will be sold to help raise money for the library.