The Falcons finally held their introductory press conference for Raheem Morris, signaling a new era of football in Atlanta. This follows what many considered a shocking decision a couple of weeks ago to pass over six-time Super Bowl winning head coach Bill Belichick in favor of a guy the Falcons had in their building as the interim head coach in 2020 before hiring Arthur Smith.
Since that day, a number of stories have been released about what went down between the Falcons and Belichick. Reading between the lines, it’s overwhelmingly apparent that it came down to control. Belichick wasn’t willing to relinquish power, at least not to members of the Falcons brass, which forced Arthur Blank to reconsider. By all accounts, Blank wanted to hire Belichick the head coach. He was a clear frontrunner at the start of this process, but Belichick’s refusal to give up control is why he will not be a head coach in 2024.
At Raheem Morris’ press conference, both the Falcons’ new head coach and President Greg Beadles addressed what happened.
“Coach Belichick was obviously a very serious candidate,” Beadles said, via Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “You can’t have anything but respect for what he has done. At the end of the day, it was about what was the best fit for us.”
“In this profession, you’re always going against the very best,” Morris added. “You have a process in place, and you go through it and let the best man win. Whatever the process may be, I’m just happy to be sitting here in front of you.”
The Falcons seem to have gone the safe route, sticking with what they know in Morris and the rest of the front office rather than undergoing a complete organizational overhaul had they hired Belichick. However, I would argue the safe route is more in line with what’s good for the franchise.
Even if the competitive fire still burns bright in the belly of Belichick, he doesn’t have many more years left on the sidelines. The fit between him and the Falcons always felt forced. This isn’t a team ready to compete for a Super Bowl next season. It didn’t matter who they hired as head coach.
Raheem Morris is a fresh face with a beaming personality, hungry for another opportunity to prove he can be a head coach in this league. He was a star at his first press conference and has already won over much of the fan base. Keeping them on his side will prove to be much more difficult, but Morris appears more than up for the challenge.
Photographer: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire