The Atlanta Falcons are franchise that was mired in mediocrity, calamity and controversy for decades. For the last five seasons they have become a team considered to be one of the best in the NFL, and have broken several dubious franchise streaks. I guess that’s not enough for fans.
The current wave of impatience and intolerance with Falcons head coach Mike Smith I’m seeing on Twitter and in team forums is absolutely ridiculous and completely misguided. How fans can even think about calling for the removal of the most successful coach the team has ever had just boggles the mind.
It’s fine to demand more from your coach and team, but to show such little loyalty to a guy who has had such a huge part in lifting your franchise from the ashes and placing them in a place of prominence in the league that they had never before enjoyed shows a great deal of ignorance and lack of faith on the part of the fans.
Smith has worked tirelessly to help make the Falcons a team that the city of Atlanta can be proud of, and the fans need to recognize what he’s done, and let him go about finishing his work. Of course Smith knows that he’s had no success in the postseason yet, and of course he knows that just getting to the playoffs every year isn’t good enough. Anyone who thinks otherwise has let the cheese fall off their cracker.
Has he made some poor decisions? Absolutely. Guess what….EVERY coach makes poor decisions. EVERY coach has their calls questioned after the fact if they don’t work. Is that any reason to think that Mike Smith can’t coach this team to a championship? I’m not even going to answer that. The answer should be obvious.
Let me draw some comparisons to the current guru of head coaches, Bill Belichick.
Smith is 43-21 in his first stint as an NFL head coach. He took over a team that was a literal dumpster fire, and at at time when the franchise was at the lowest point in its history. By comparison, Belichick was 36-44 in his first five seasons as a head coach when he took over what had been a fairly successful Cleveland Browns team.
Like Belichick, Smith got his start as an assistant and being the coordinator for a renowned defense (Smith, the Jacksonville Jaguars – Belichick, the New York Giants). Both men are known for being stoic and dry in press conferences and even on the sidelines at times. Both men believe in having players that are multi-purpose and can be plugged in at numerous positions. Both men show patience and don’t hit the panic button after a loss.
Does this mean I think Mike Smith is the next Bill Belichick? I have no idea. I’m not in touch with my inner-soothsayer enough to make those types of predictions. I just know that the similarities are there, and that Smith has done more at the start of his head coaching career than Belichick did.
So why the rush to want to blame so-called “failures” on Smith and run him out of town?
The fans who are calling for the Falcons to make a change at head coach are obviously trying to pull the team back into the quagmire of irrelevance that Atlanta suffered for years. Perhaps it would be better to let the regime that has brought the team into a positive light remain in charge until things actually start to go sour.
As Atlanta sports radio personality John Kincade likes to say, Let it breathe, folks…let it breathe.