Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith has earned his opportunity in Atlanta.
There were a lot of upset Atlanta Falcons fans when Smith was named the next head coach of the franchise as many wanted Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to lead the way. He has been the name that everyone has come to know given the success of the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
While we cannot speculate as to why Bieniemy was not the guy for the Falcons, what we do know is that Arthur Blank, Rich McKay, and those that were involved in the coaching search were very thorough and interviewed more than a dozen coaches from every different background as well as those with and without head coaching experience.
Atlanta Falcons fans should be excited that Arthur Smith was the result of this exhaustive search.
However, what we have learned over the last several years, is people like to create smoke where there is no fire and people will fall for it. The first few days of his appointment as the Atlanta Falcons’ new head coach, media members, and fans have taken to their platforms to state that Smith is only the Falcons head coach because he is white and comes from a wealthy family.
While we will not comment on other coaching searches or lack of diversity among the NFL head coaching ranks, what we can comment on is this franchise.
In the 50 years that Arthur Blank has been a successful businessman, he has never been accused of being racist. He has a track record of hiring those best for the job based on each individual’s track record of success and he has done the same with his professional franchises.
That success has landed Terry Fontenot as the new general manager and Arthur Smith as head coach. Two guys from very different backgrounds and who also happen to have different levels of melanin in their skin tone.
Listening to their press conferences yesterday, Smith was a guy that Fontenot signed off on – this was not a case where a new general manager inherited a coach he didn’t want. Listening to the new general manager talk, this deal seems to have been agreed on for some time.
Why did the Atlanta Falcons choose Arthur Smith?
If “white privilege” and his dad’s wealth didn’t play a role in helping him land an NFL head coaching job, what did? The answer is simple – his work ethic and track record.
This is a coach who started at the bottom in the NFL and has worked incredibly hard on the way up. That isn’t to say that other candidates worked any less, but Smith has worked just as hard as the rest of them.
He was so impressive, that three different head coaches kept him on their staff in Tennessee. If you understand anything about NFL head coaches, you understand how remarkable that is. Most coaches come in and clean house, yet he was the one guy that rolled over from staff to staff.
He was hired in 2011 by Mike Munchak but was retained by Ken Wisenhunt, Mike Mularkey, and then Mike Vrabel. Sure, a guy or two might be kept from the previous staff but Smith was not only kept on from the previous regimes but he was promoted each time a coach kept him around.
That simply does not happen in the coaching world.
While there are many that will try to continue making this out to be something that it is not, Arthur Smith was the right guy at the right time for the Atlanta Falcons. While there are plenty of questions that will need to be answered in the coming months, his ability to be successful as a head coach is not one of them.