Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn were both fired just hours after Falcons lost to the Carolina Panthers, marking an atrocious 0-5 start to the season.
But even though Atlanta was clearly struggling to find their mojo, Dimitroff didn’t see his dismissal coming so soon. In fact, he was caught off guard.
“Well, I would have to be honest and say I wasn’t necessarily expecting the timing,” Dimitroff said to King. “That said, this is a win-driven league — as any sport league is — and I know it more than ever having been around now 27 years in the NFL and 13 here in Atlanta, that that is something that’s odd to be in that spot.”
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Dimitroff Found Out He Was Fired Watching TV
Dimitroff continued on about his how he felt about his firing and how he couldn’t wrap his head around it.
“I start thinking about when that moment happens — I’ve been around football all my life. … I was born and raised to understand that they don’t necessarily hire you to retire you, as a line that Coach Mike Smith used to use, I’ll footnote him on that.
“I understand that it’s complicated. There’s so many levels to it. It’s not easy. It is wins, but there’s so many levels you could probably discuss … That said, surreal, uneasy, unexpected — all those things.”
The way he first found out he was fired wasn’t through a phone call or text though, no. It was by watching sports news that happened to be focused around him at the time.
“I happened to be sitting down, literally, on my sofa in the morning, returning hundreds of texts … and I was literally looking up at ‘Good Morning Football,’ and I was watching, what they say, I was watching my firing so to speak. That’s a little odd.
“It was an interesting time,” Dimitroff said. “I’m regrouping. I’m in a solid space right now.”
Falcons Were Losing Their Fan Base
After taking over in 2008, Dimitroff spent 12 seasons in Atlanta. He picked up Matt Ryan with his first draft pick which eventually led to an embarrassing Super Bowl LI appearance. The Falcons have struggled since then going 7-9 in back-to-back seasons and now, and 0-5 start.
Dimitroff looked at him and Dan as extremely loyal members to owner Arthur Blank, but ultimately understood why he had to do it.
“My first thought was, ‘I understand that ultimately this is about wins. I understand that Dan and I, as head coach and GM, were ultimately loyal to our owner, and that’s what you need to be in this league.’ You and I both know that.
“I also understand respectfully, and appropriately, Arthur’s ultimate loyalty is to the fan base. There is no question about that. Again, I knew as he was delivering the message to us, we were losing the fan base, and Arthur needed to make a move.”
He confirmed he’ll still be rooting for Atlanta on Sundays.