ATLANTA — As we say goodbye to the Georgia Dome after a quarter-century, it’s only fitting we look back at some it its most memorable moments.
From Super Bowls, to NCAA Men’s Final Fours, to the Summer Olympics -- the dome has hosted some incredible sporting events.
1996 Summer Olympics
The 70,000-seat Georgia Dome was basically divided into two separate arenas.
On one side, “The Magnificent Seven” captured America’s first victory ever in women’s team gymnastics.
The team -- made up of Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps -- is probably best known for Strug landing a vault on one foot to clinch the gold medal. She was famously helped off by coach Bela Karolyi.
On the other side, “The Dream Team” won its second gold medal in men’s basketball.
The team -- coached by Lenny Wilkens -- defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.
Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and David Robinson played on this team and the original 1992 Dream Team.
Super Bowl XXVIII
The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13, earning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.
After trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Cowboys closed the game with 24 unanswered points. Emmitt Smith scored twice and was named the game’s MVP.
The crowd of 72,817 saw Natalie Cole sing the national anthem, Joe Namath do the coin toss and a halftime show featuring The Judds, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Tanya Tucker.
Super Bowl XXXIV
The second Super Bowl hosted by the Georgia Dome was one of the most memorable in history.
The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-1 when Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson just short of the goal-line on the game’s final play.
Quarterback Kurt Warned threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was named the game’s MVP.
The crowd of 72,625 saw Faith Hill sing the National Anthem and a halftime show featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Edward James Olmos.
An ice storm hit Atlanta during the week of the game and many doubted the city’s ability to host the event. Despite the concerns, the Super Bowl will return to Atlanta in 2019.
Tornado hits downtown Atlanta
Thousands of basketball fans were inside the Georgia Dome when an EF-2 tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta in March 2008.
The 130 mph tornado killed one person near downtown, blew out dozens of windows from high-rise buildings, tossed trees and cars and damaged homes in the area.
Inside the Georgia Dome, fans were watching the Southeastern Conference college basketball tournament. The game between Mississippi State and Alabama was in overtime when the tornado struck around 9:40 p.m.
The storm ripped open a panel on the side of the dome, shearing bolts and causing insulation to fall into the arena.
The game was completed after the storm moved through. The rest of the tournament was postponed.
The dome, along with several other downtown buildings, underwent repairs while staying open for business in the years after the tornado.
Sugar Bowl moved to Georgia Dome
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl between the Georgia Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers was played at the Georgia dome in January 2006. It was the first time the “South’s Biggest Bowl Game” was played outside of the state of Louisiana.
That week, within a four day period, the dome hosted three games. Along with the Sugar Bowl, the dome also hosted the Peach Bowl between LSU and Miami and an NFL game between the Falcons and the Panthers.
The Georgia Dome has seen its share of Falcons successes and frustrations. The 2012 NFC Championship was one of the franchise's biggest accomplishments and toughest defeats. It was the first-ever NFC championship game in Atlanta. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 second-quarter lead over the San Francisco 49ers. The lead wouldn't last, and after failing to make a play at the end, the Falcons lost 28-24 and missed the Super Bowl.
In 2017, the Falcons would not squander a chance to return to the Super Bowl. In their final game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 to advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.
In this game, the Falcons again jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but this time they never looked back. They took a 24-0 at halftime and held on for a convincing win to close out their time at the Dome.
Atlanta has hosted 85 NCAA men's tournament games, fifth most of any city. Thirty of those games were played at the Georgia Dome. Six NCAA Regionals, three men's Final Fours (2002, 2007 and 2013) and one women's Final Four were played at the Dome. The Dome's final tournament in 2013 set records. A crowd of 74,326 beat the record for the largest ever for a final game.
The Dome has been home to the finals since 2008, but the stadium's 25-year history with Georgia high school football dates back to the building's opening in 1992. On Sept. 5, 1992, the Corky Kell Classic matchup between Brookwood and McEachern was the first regular season football game in the Dome. Until then, Georgia high school football rarely was played on such a big stage.
In the 25 seasons, 169 Georgia high schools have participated in the Dome's 298 high school football games, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.
Soccer at the dome
Eleven soccer games were played at the Georgia Dome since 2009. The first competitive soccer games were held during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. men's national team made its first appearance in Atlanta since 1977 in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals at the Dome.
In all, the Dome hosted Mexico's "El Tri" four times, Mexico's Club America twice and the U.S. men's and women's national teams once each. Notable visitors also include European clubs A.C. Milan and Manchester City.
Cox Media Group