Even before the Falcons parted ways with Arthur Smith, buzz around the potential opening pointed to Bill Belichick.
Once Atlanta terminated Smith, before the Patriots and Belichick parted ways, Arthur Blank was reportedly enthralled with the idea of hiring the architect of The Patriot Way.
Since then, the Falcons’ search for a head coach has been a rollercoaster. At first, it was the overwhelming expectation that Atlanta would eventually hire Belichick. Most recently, Adam Schefter said this morning on Get Up that he doesn’t believe Belichick is the favorite.
In between, there were reports and rumors of internal conflict over Belichick as a candidate, most of which surrounded Rich McKay and his role within the organization. Blank’s right-hand man is possibly at risk of losing some or all of his standing within the franchise if Belichick is brought aboard, so naturally, he is against the idea.
There’s no explanation of what exactly turned the Falcons away from Bill Belichick, at least publicly. They’re compliant with the Rooney Rule, which means they can hire a head coach anytime they want.
This morning, ESPN’s Dan Graziano went as far as saying the expectation was for a resolution between the Falcons and Belichick to happen earlier this week. “I had been told late last week by people close to this situation to expect a resolution between the Falcons and Belichick on Monday or Tuesday of this week,”
Graziano isn’t alone. Many respected pundits described the situation as trending toward a deal, some even describing it as imminent. However, as Graziano added, that doesn’t mean he isn’t still the favorite.
“But as of Wednesday evening, my understanding is that Belichick to the Falcons remains a possibility, perhaps even the most likely scenario.”
There’s clearly an internal power struggle going on. My best guess would be that Arthur Blank still wants Belichick, but Rich McKay and maybe some others aren’t on board for obvious reasons. McKay means so much to Blank that the Falcons owner has promised to hear out other candidates, and if he still prefers Belichick, then so be it.
The former Patriots head coach has received no other interest, so the Falcons should be able to take their time and let Blank hear McKay’s other candidates out before making a final decision.
That’s some tinfoil hat stuff, but there’s no reasonable explanation for the initial reports of Blank’s “desperation” to hire Belichick. Now, he shouldn’t be considered the favorite? This has been a circus of a head coaching search, and I don’t expect it to end anytime soon with more interviews scheduled for next week.
Photographer: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire