Blank let Kraft, “lieutenants” push Falcons away from Belichick

NFL: OCT 25 Falcons at Titans

The Falcons are a week away from the NFL Draft, but the headlines don’t read: “What will Raheem Morris do with Terry Fontenot in the new regime’s first draft?” No, they read: “Bill Belichick…”

A bombshell story from ESPN dropped and it illuminated the head coaching search process that Arthur Blank and the Falcons underwent with Bill Belichick. The gist of the piece is that no other club wanted Belichick, and eventually, Blank was swayed as well.

The organization’s owner enlisted the help of his “top lieutenants” to vote on the team’s next head coach, ranking each candidate. Once it all shook out, Raheem Morris was unanimously the top target, followed by Mike Macdonald and Bobby Slowik, respectively; Belichick “didn’t finish in anyone’s top three.”

“He was essentially voted off the island.”

I’ve already talked about how flawed of a process this is for the Falcons. Fontenot and other executives, whether it’s subconscious or not, had to have some sort of a tendency to protect their own neck.

It’s possible they voted in the best interest of the Atlanta Falcons, but it certainly brings doubt into the conversation. “There’s an inherent discomfort with change because people want to protect their jobs,” said Michael Lombardi.

Blank met with Belichick one-on-one on his yacht. The two then met again along with the Falcons’ top executives, including Rich McKay and Greg Beadles. A source told ESPN that “McKay nor Fontenot wanted to work with Belichick.”

What makes all of this even more confusing is that the Falcons’ second interview was basically a sham. According to the ESPN article, the second interview was granted to Belichick “largely out of respect.”

So, if it was granted out of respect and Belichick never had a chance, Blank’s top lieutenants, who ranked each candidate following all of the interviews, did so before even sitting down with Belichick because Blank and he met alone the first time.

Maybe ESPN is being misled. Maybe the source is misinformed. Maybe the Falcons are just making it up as they go. It doesn’t really matter. It just puts into question how the franchise is run.

What’s even worse is the potential of Belichick’s former employer influencing Blank’s decision making. Robert Kraft and Arthur Blank are very close friends, and the Falcons owner once again weighed the opinion of an individual whose interest didn’t align with his own.

“Robert called Arthur to warn him not to trust Bill.”

I’m not even speculating either. In that ESPN story, a source close to Belichick told the outlet that New England’s owner “was a big part” of why Blank and the Falcons passed on hiring him.

The Falcons aren’t the only team that passed on Bill Belichick, so they shouldn’t be bashed for that. I’m not trying to. It’s just once again this team is the butt of the joke. Whether it’s Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, or Belichick, the Falcons are consistently making headlines for the wrong reasons.

The process in which they operate constantly makes them look like fools. Other teams can be bashed for the Watson, Jackson, and even Belichick situations, but it seems likes it’s only the Falcons.

Why is that?

Photographer: Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: