The Atlanta Falcons were one of several teams participating in Black Monday this year, firing head coach Mike Smith. Smith’s tenure ends after a 34-3 mauling courtesy of the Carolina Panthers and puts the cap on a 6-10 season. Coming off a 4-12 record in 2013, the Falcons were looking to regain their playoff form; instead they carried over last year’s nightmare, showing it was not an aberration.
Throughout the year, the Falcons gave up big second half leads, took unnecessary gambles on fourth down and didn’t seem to show up in some games. All of these issues lay at Mike Smith’s feet. Smith’s national notoriety reached its zenith during a home lose to the Cleveland Browns, when poor clock management gave the Browns enough time to kick a game- winning field goal. He was beyond salvation, even if the Falcons managed to win the underwhelming NFC South. Someone had to be offered up as a sacrifice after another losing season: Mike Smith made Falcon’s fans blood pressure rise up and overflow with furious angry and unholy words on Sunday afternoons the past two seasons.
However, this is not a burial of Mike Smith; the bad often lives after a man even though the good is interred into his bones. Mike Smith’s 66 victories make him the Atlanta Falcons all-time leader in wins. Mike Smith guided the Falcons to five consecutive winning seasons, four playoff appearances and one NFC Conference Championship game. Mike Smith is the most successful coach in the Atlanta Falcons history, for better or worse. While Mike Smith isn’t hall of fame bound, the cold light of day has hit the Atlanta Falcons. With an matador defense, an offensive line only held together by paper clips and a franchise quarterback peaking in ability; the Falcon’s are not a quick fix job. The NFL stands for Not For Long because teams rise and fall all the time. With a new stadium on the horizon and a roster like this, the Falcons are falling at the wrong time.