Strong Reactions Pour in After Falcons Decide on Next Head Coach

Atlanta Falcons

Getty Jacob Tuioti-Mariner #91 of the Atlanta Falcons.

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.

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.”

Maybe, maybe not.

A couple of past and present Titans offensive lineman also weighed in on the hiring.


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.


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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