Today, Ryan Robertson continues Blogging Dirty’s “Falcons 50” countdown to kickoff, concluding his mini-series with the greatest coach in franchise history.
Well, this is it folks.
The moment we have all been waiting for. It is time to reveal the greatest coach in Atlanta Falcons franchise history. So pause your recorded television and tune out the wife for a few minutes; you won’t wanna miss this.
We started way back in the sixties and seventies with Norm Van Brocklin, and we have made are way through Dan Reeves and his magical ’98 season. But there has only been one head coach that has had sustained success as head honcho of the Atlanta Falcons.
With the number one spot in our list of Falcons coaches, I give you, Coach Mike Smith.
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After the 2007 season concluded, Smith was one of the hottest names in the head coaching market. After multiple successful stints as defensive coordinator, the Falcons would come calling for his services, giving him his first chance as a head coach in the NFL.
Upon his arrival to Flowery Branch, Smith would inherit a situation as desirable as gas station sushi. The Michael Vick fiasco, coupled with Bobby Petrino’s cowardice, left a laundry list of issues in need of cleaning up (pun intended).
Regardless, Coach Smith pushed all the right buttons.
He immediately drafted his franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan and together they led the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. The next season, the Falcons took a step back and missed the playoffs, but still finished with a respectable 9-7 record.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
History was still made however, as this would mark the first time in team history that the Falcons had posted consecutive winning records.
And that was only the beginning.
In 2010, the Falcons would win 13 games and have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. It was all for naught thought, as the Falcons would be blown out at home 48-21 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Another winning season and playoff berth would follow for coach Smith and the Falcons, but also another loss at the hands of the Super Bowl champs followed as well. Atlanta would be ousted in the first round by the New York Giants in a game where the entire team fell flat on their face.
The succeeding year again found the Atlanta Falcons with a 13-3 record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and this time they took advantage of it.
In what would turn out to be a thrilling game between Atlanta and the Seattle Seahawks, the Falcons would find themselves moving on to host their first ever NFC Championship Game against the San Fransisco 49ers.
After heading into the locker room at halftime with a 17 point lead, the Falcons had no answer for the adjustments the 49ers made, allowing them to surge back and take the game after some very bone-headed play calling cost the Falcons a chance at a Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, Smith and his five consecutive winning seasons would come to an end in 2013 and 2014. Coach Smith would only accumulate 10 wins over those two seasons, which would lead to his dismissal as head coach.
While it left a bitter taste in the mouths of Falcons fans, as a whole, the success of the franchise under Mike Smith is undoubted. He is the franchise leader in winning percentage and wins, as well as holding many other milestones.
His sustained success is unmatched in the history of the Atlanta Falcons, and he has truly energized the fan base with his winning ways.
He will be known as the greatest Atlanta Falcons coach for a very long time; hopefully Dan Quinn can return them to 2012 form.
There you have it, Falcons fans. Thanks to the readers for reading and I advise you stay tuned for the rest of the “Falcons 50” countdown to opening day at the best Falcons fan coverage site out there, Blogging Dirty.