The Atlanta Falcons head coaching search came to an end on Friday as the team officially agreed to terms with Arthur Smith.
Smith, 38, leaves Tennessee after serving as the offensive coordinator for the Titans over the past two seasons.
We have agreed to terms with Arthur Smith to become our next head coach.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 15, 2021
Like always, NFL fans, analysts and some players had to chime in on the new sheriff in town.
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First Reactions to Falcons New Hire Are Mixed
There is never such thing as too many Arthurs, but it may be time to change the team’s name to “The Atlanta Arthurs.”
Gotta like the new look @AtlantaFalcons
Owner: Arthur Blank
Head Coach: Arthur Smith
— Alex Pritchett (@alexpritchett) January 16, 2021
— Matt Karoly (@mattkaroly) January 16, 2021
Maybe, maybe not.
I don’t have much of an opinion on the Falcons head coach hire other than I’m 99 percent sure Blank only hired him because his name was Arthur
— Benjamin Wolk (@benjaminwolk) January 15, 2021
New sheriff in the NFC South! Congratulations, Arthur Smith! You started from the bottom as a Tight ends coach. Successful 2 years as a offensive coordinator and now a Head coach for the Atlanta Falcons. Definitely wishing you the best in the start of a new chapter. ⚔⬆️
— FunkyMonkey (@TChops91) January 15, 2021
As the Falcons have hired Arthur Smith as their next head coach, I fully expect them to draft Justin Fields 4th overall to replace Matt Ryan
Fields and Tannehill are both comparable players, and Smith worked wonders with Tannehill in Tennessee
Fields is better then Tannehill
— Dean Bosse (@deanbosse1) January 15, 2021
Very inconsistent, the highs were amazing and the low were abysmal. All and all a great play caller and I hope he does a wonderful job in Atlanta
— CLE/LAMARvsTB at #SBLV⁷ #Titans (PAIN) (@BGeneus) January 15, 2021
You mean the Tennessee Titans that got exposed the past two years in the playoffs because they couldn’t adjust from handing the ball to Henry 100 times? He about to be our head coach??
— The Likes of Which You’ve Never Seen (@SAMiGEAN) January 15, 2021
The Atlanta Falcons just hired Arthur Smith as their head coach. It’s nice to see that Smith caught a break. His entire life he’s had to struggle with the fact that his father founded Federal Express.
— Lowell Benjamin (@LowellCBenjamin) January 15, 2021
Falcons went with Arthur Smith as their head coach. I wanted Eric Bieniemy(?) but we'll see man.
— ken⚡ (@_2kgrace) January 15, 2021
Falcons had the chance to have a black head coach in a black city & blew it🤯 how do you fumble that ?
— Long Live Marlon💙🕊 (@kamrynj_) January 15, 2021
The Falcons reportedly sign another non-head coach as head coach.
— Citizen of Earth 🌎🚀🧢 (@NewLogic_0) January 15, 2021
Great pick @AtlantaFalcons for head coach REALLY excited for 2021.
— JR Rochester (@RelatablyJR) January 16, 2021
The new Falcons Head Coach watching the defense blow another lead pic.twitter.com/y4v7fkt7nm
— NotJoe Flacco (@nachoflacco) January 16, 2021
Falcons hire Arthur Smith as head coach. You can argue that his credentials were created by Derrick Henry, but no matter how good the running back, it's hard to win with subpar quarterback play. I'm undecided.
— BenBankston (@BenBanks82) January 16, 2021
A couple of past and present Titans offensive lineman also weighed in on the hiring.
Arthur Smith was breaking down scout team film in 2011. Was kept on staff through 3 coaching changes and worked his way up to a HC of a NFL team!! So happy for him and couldn’t happen to a better & more hardworking guy!!!
— Michael Roos (@MichaelRoos) January 15, 2021
The falcons got a good one! Congratulations @AtlantaFalcons Arthur smith is a gem.
— Jerry Ainsworth (@TaylorLewan77) January 15, 2021
The Titans’ Success Under Smith
Smith replaces former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who was fired after starting the season 0-5. He also takes over the duties interim head coach Raheem Morris held, leading the Falcons to a 4-12 finish with near upsets of three Super Bowl contenders — New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Kansas City — in the team’s final five games.
Smith had been with Titans since 2011 where he began his NFL career as a defensive quality control coach under then-head coach Mike Munchak. The new Falcons coach made his way up the ladder over the ensuing decade, serving as Tennessee’s offensive quality control coach, offensive line assistant and tight ends coach before Mike Vrabel handed him the keys to the offense in 2019.
Under Smith, the Titans ranked fourth in the NFL in scoring during the 2020 regular season, averaging 30.7 points per game. The team also finished the regular season averaging 396.4 total yards per game, putting them at third in the league. Tennessee had a solid rushing attack posting 168.1 yards per game which landed them second below the Baltimore Ravens (191.9 yards).
Titans star running back Derrick Henry‘s 2,027 rushing yards were the fifth-most in NFL history and he became only the eighth player to surpass the 2,000-yard mark in a single season. Titans second-year wideout A.J. Brown topped his impressive rookie totals, finishing with 70 receptions, 1,075 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, while teammate Corey Davis ended the season just 16 yards short of his first career 1,000-yard season.
Looking ahead, Smith is expected to bring in Chicago Bears passing game coordinator Dave Ragone — who served as Tennessee’s wide receivers and quarterbacks coach alongside Smith from 2011-13 — to be his offensive coordinator in Atlanta, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Prior to signing on with the Falcons, Smith also interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, and Philadelphia Eagles. However, as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero noted on Friday, Smith had been Atlanta’s top target all along.
Arthur Smith had been Atlanta's top target all along, and worth noting: He ran a similar system with the #Titans to the one in which #Falcons QB Matt Ryan won an MVP on the way to a Super Bowl four years ago. https://t.co/8GZEgYnAOG
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 15, 2021
Smith’s Father Founded FedEx, Net Worth on Par With Arthur Blank
Smith is making quite the name for himself just like his dad, billionaire FedEx founder Frederick Smith.
Quite surprisingly, the elder Smith has nearly accumulated a fortune equivalent to that of Falcons chairman and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank. According to Forbes, Smith’s real-time net worth currently sits at approximately $5.6 billion compared to Blank’s $6.2 billion.
When Smith was promoted to Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2019, he attributed it to his dad for coaching him to success.
“Obviously, I’m very proud — I’ve been lucky,” Smith said at the time, via NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “My dad has had a positive influence, but I’ve never mistaken his success as my success. He’s always told us, ‘Go earn your own success.’ Again, it’s the attitude. He’s the most humble man I’ve ever met, and that’s had an impact on me.
“He’s never been impressed with himself, I’m certainly not impressed with myself, or think I’ve arrived just because I’ve been given a chance to be a coordinator. I’ve got a lot of work to do and improve myself, and I don’t ever stop as long as I’m coaching.”
Welcome to the “A,” coach.
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