Mike Smith fired; Atlanta Falcons begin coaching search


After an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons have elected to part ways with head coach Mike Smith. This move was largely expected in advance of Week 17, as Smith’s fate was virtually sealed barring a miraculous playoff run, but as of Monday, the organization is looking toward the future.

The 55-year-old Smith compiled a very respectable 66-46 record in seven seasons with the team, including five consecutive winning seasons to begin his head coaching career. However, the Falcons have struggled mightily over the past two campaigns, posting a 10-22 overall record, and that ill-timed fall from grace expedited Smith’s departure as the head coach.

Before Sunday’s game against the Panthers even began, ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped this bomb considering the future plans of the organization:

Some have speculated that the team’s ugly performance was somehow tied to the news that the Atlanta Falcons were actively engaged with a search firm, but regardless of where you stand on that pendulum, Arthur Blank and company have seemingly begun to look ahead. No firm timetable exists for the hiring of a head coach, but with big names like Jim Harbaugh off the market (at least reportedly), there are no “obvious” names that would move the needle in Atlanta.

The Mike Smith era has come to an end in Flowery Branch, but with the organization struggling from a roster perspective, the emphasis and scrutiny could quickly turn toward general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who appears to be safe, and his staff. Regardless, the Atlanta Falcons will now search for stability on the sideline, with an eye toward the 2015 NFL Draft as the next “major” event for a franchise that seeks rapid improvement.