Insider reveals Rich McKay’s role in Falcons not hiring Bill Belichick

NFL: DEC 07 Saints at Falcons

Even though he’s not in the Falcons organization anymore, Rich McKay is still making headlines.

The Falcons CEO, whose role has shifted several times over two decades with Atlanta, underwent another adjustment to his duties earlier in the offseason. Arthur Blank announced that McKay will exit “day-to-day football operations” with the team.

This is the same thing that happened when the Falcons hired Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith. With Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot, the Falcons head coach and GM reported directly to McKay.

Now, McKay will exit the football side and return to the business side, while also taking control of the Atlanta United, Blank’s MLS club. Regardless of whether you believe the Falcons or not (I don’t), McKay’s voice is very clearly still being felt.

The recent ESPN story about Blank being persuaded by Robert Kraft and his lieutenants is going to be picked to death leading up to the NFL Draft, and new information continues to come to light.

NFL insider and former Patriots reporter Albert Breer said on NBC Sports Boston’s Arbella Early Edition that Blank’s decision to not hire Belichick was possibly influenced by McKay.

“I think the bigger factor was Rich McKay,” Breer said of what he’s hearing on why the Falcons passed on Belichick, via Yahoo! Sports. “My understanding is that he made people in the building feel like if Bill Belichick was coming in, whether it was now or later, they would all wind up being out.”

What makes it even worse is Breer would go on to say that the Falcons executives were campaigned to put their support behind Raheem Morris over Belichick with the sole motivation being their own careers.

“To some degree, there was a campaign going on in that facility that was anti-Bill Belichick,” Breer added. “If Arthur Blank is going around to different people in that organization and asking them ‘Do you want Bill Belichick or do you want Raheem Morris?’ Of course it’s going to be marked by their own job security.”

This is what’s so bothersome about this entire situation. It’s not that the Falcons got it wrong with Morris instead of Belichick because I do think the eight-time Super Bowl champion wasn’t the right fit in Atlanta.

However, the process is completely flawed. Asking any group of people to put the organization’s interest over their own is a tall task. People have an inherent tendency to protect themselves and their livelihoods.

The Falcons search committee very well could’ve done what they truly thought was best for the organization, without accounting for their own interests, but it brings doubt into the equation.

Atlanta may have gotten it right with Raheem Morris, but Blank’s team is once again making headlines for the wrong reasons. The Falcons have seemingly been the butt of the league’s jokes since 2016.

From the Super Bowl meltdown to Deshaun Watson to Lamar Jackson to Bill Belichick, whether it’s fair or not, the Falcons continue to be a laughingstock to the rest of the NFL, and Rich McKay isn’t helping.

Photographer: Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

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