We are now in year three of Arthur Smith's tenure as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons but it isn't looking like we will get much further than that. He has been a maddening head coach due to a variety of reasons, but we aren't going to get into that.
In 2021, there were a lot of head coaching hires and many of them turned out to be absolute disasters while a couple of others have seen a lot of success. Let's look at how those coaches compare to Arthur Smith.
Arthur Smith vs. the rest of the 2021 head coach hires
2021 was a strange season that saw a lot of strange happenings and many of them started with the decision to hire a few terrible head coaches.
While every Atlanta Falcons fan is extremely angry at Arthur Smith right now, Smith has not been anywhere near the worst head coach to be hired in 2021. On the flip side, he hasn't been anywhere close to the best hire.
In total, there were seven new head coaches heading into the 2021 season.
- Arthur Smith - Falcons
- Brandon Staley - Chargers
- David Culley - Texans
- Dan Campbell - Lions
- Urban Meyer - Jaguars
- Nick Sirianni - Eagles
- Robert Saleh - Jets
Now can you see what I was saying about Smith being a middle-of-the-pack hire in 2021?
Here are the records of each of these coaches during their tenure with their team—two of which were short-lived.
- Nick Sirianni: 31-12 (.721)
- Brandon Staley: 23-19 (.548)
- Dan Campbell: 18-23-1 (.440)
- Arthur Smith: 18-25 (.419)
- Robert Saleh: 15-27 (.357)
- David Culley: 4-13 (.308)
- Urban Meyer: 2-11 (.154)
So yes, quite literally Arthur Smith has been the "middle-of-the-pack."
Obviously, you had the absolute disaster that was Urban Meyer. He was one of the worst coaching hires in NFL history, not much else you can say.
And then you had David Culley who really never had a chance. They fired him after leading a terrible team for one season. You couldn't help but feel bad for him, he was truly in a no-win situation.
Robert Saleh is a debateable hire. Is he a good coach or not? Who knows at this point, maybe the franchise is just cursed.
And then you have Arthur Smith who didn't have much in his first two years but now he is out of excuses for his poor coaching and playcalling. Honestly, if you include context, you could make the argument that Smith was the second-worst hire (with a Grand Canyon-sized gap between him and Meyer).
Dan Campbell has turned the Lions around after a rough one-and-a-half seasons for his team. And then Brandon Staley hasn't been exceptional as it feels like the Chargers always underperform, but he is still above .500.
Nick Sirianni has clearly been the headliner of the class. He far and away has the best record and has taken his team to the Super Bowl.
Just based on what we have seen, Sirianni and Campbell were the two great hires. The rest were either "meh" or a disaster.