Troy Andersen: Montana Roots 'I’m just a kid from Dillon': The stories that shaped Troy Andersen


Atlanta Falcons 2022 second-round pick Troy Andersen may be a new-age linebacker but he has an old-school story, and for that reason he has an entire state behind him. Growing up on his family cattle ranch in rural Montana, Troy Andersen has always had a work ethic that has translated well in sports.

From being a thriving three-sport athlete in high school, to a multi-position player on both sides of the ball at Montana State University, Troy worked hard to get the life-changing phone call from the Falcons. After his rookie season in the NFL and all the lessons that came with it, Troy Andersen now looks ahead to year two while his hometown and the state Montana continues to root for him.

The Atlanta Falcons felt compelled to tell his story, and knew that doing so through only one medium would not be sufficient. Instead, a multi-media approach was taken, interweaving written words, still imagery, and cinema to paint the full picture of Andersen's unique journey.


In the Spring of 2023, members of the Atlanta Falcons Digital Team, including videographers, photographers, and editorial content producers, traveled to Dillon, Montana to visit Troy Andersen’s family cattle ranch, where they were in the midst of calving season. Through interviews, photographs, and videos, the team captured the point of view of Troy’s immediate family, high school coaches, and even his Montana State coaches in Bozeman.

Days of content capture, research, writing and editing resulted a 24-minute video feature, three curated photo galleries, and three long-form editorial features showcasing what makes Troy special to the people in the state of Montana, but more importantly what makes Montana special to Troy.


  • Unmask a player by showcasing life beyond the game
  • Produce a long-form video feature that generates significant engagement across various media platforms
  • Craft captivating articles highlighting the key moments and insights from the time spent in Montana and stories told in the video
  • Create engaging graphics, including social media banners (YouTube header, etc), promotional posters, and email templates, that incorporate key visuals and create a cohesive visual identity.
  • Develop a social media content calendar tailored to the video feature, outlining key posting dates and content themes.
  • Design a custom landing page and Judo app experience highlighting the main video, related galleries and editorial
"Montana was a place I missed before I ever left. The people there are good, kind, and hard-working individuals. It's a place where people take care of each other, genuinely. I only learned all of this because I had the chance to go there for this project, which quickly turned into one of the most rewarding of my career. It was a project that spanned six months of work beyond the five days our crew was there. As storytellers, our goal was to tell Troy Andersen’s story through the eyes of Montana. From the video, the photo galleries and the stories shared, I think we captured the spirit of this beautiful and wild place while showcasing why you can’t tell Troy Andersen’s story without Montana.”

-Tori McElhaney, Editorial Content Producer


This 24 minute video feature encapsulates the sights and sound of life in Dillon, Montana, where Andersen's family raises cattle. Interviews with Troy's closest family and friends, as well as coaches, teachers, and mentors from high school and college at Montana State University, provide compelling insight into an upbringing that was different that many NFL players.

Projects like the Troy Andersen story provide the rarest—and most treasured—opportunity for a team photographer: capturing the story of a player’s path to the NFL. In tandem with our amazing video and editorial team members, we navigated with care through both the snowy roads of Montana as well as Troy’s seemingly inevitable trajectory from a cattle ranch to professional football. To have been granted this access to showcase the landscape and people that laid such a firm foundation for Troy’s career in the NFL is among the top honors of my career.

-Shanna Lockwood, Atlanta Falcons Team Photographer


The story of Troy Andersen is not one that could be told in one, neatly packaged editorial feature. Instead, a three-part series of features help establish the understanding of who Andersen is at the core, from three different angles that shaped him.

‘I’m just a kid from Dillon’: The stories that shaped Troy Andersen: Picturesque mountains, snow covered ground, miles of open fields; this is where Troy Andersen grew up. To know Dillon, Montana, is to know Troy Andersen.

‘He’s just our guy’: What Troy Andersen means to Montana: Troy Andersen may be a new-age linebacker but he has an old-school story. For that reason, he has an entire state’s support behind him.

The 4.42 seconds that put Troy Andersen, the state of Montana on the football map: Those closest to Troy Andersen recall the moment he ran the 40-yard dash at the 2022 NFL combine, and what it meant to them to see him do it.


Visual storytelling was just as much of a key element of this project as the written and video components. The images captured not only worked as scene setters to transport the audience to the icy days of early Spring in Montana, but they also served as the foundation to a visually cohesive set of graphics used to pull the entire project together, including cover photos, video thumbnails, promotional assets, and website and app designs.

In addition, the galleries curated to support this project serve as storytelling elements within themselves. Each of the three galleries tells the story of Troy Andersen's upbringing from a different perspective. Starting with life on a family cattle ranch, moving to success in high school athletics, and rounding out with his college experience, all three galleries provide a peek into life-shaping moments that led Andersen to the NFL.


The primary viewing platform for this long-form feature was the Atlanta Falcons YouTube account where it premiered on July 28. Its sustained viewing audience has helped it become the team's top revenue-generating YouTube feature.


  • Impressions - +2.9M
  • Total Views - +183k
  • Watch Time (Hours) - +19k
  • #3 lifetime in impressions
  • #5 lifetime in watch time (hours)


Social media posts across Instagram, IG Stories, Twitter, and Facebook for both the video and editorial content pieces

  • Post Count - 17
  • Impressions - 3,265,760
  • Engagement - 27,673
  • Video Views - 556,150
  • Post Valuation - $48,018.26


  • Judo App Experience Visits- 25,900
  • Landing Page Visits- 3,814