NFL Rumors: Falcons didn’t land Bill Belichick for one painful reason

The Atlanta Falcons elected to not hire Bill Belichick as their next head coach. Team president Rich McKay may be the reason why.

Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

When Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots mutually parted ways, the legendary head coach was expected to find a new job quickly. Patriots owner Robert Kraft made it evident that Belichick wasn't retiring when he mentioned how difficult it would be to see his former coach "in a cutoff hoodie on the sideline" for another team.

At the time, there were seven other teams with head coaching vacancies. Belichick would have been an obvious choice for any of those positions. The legendary head coach is among the greatest coaches in NFL history — his football acumen is unparalleled and his 333 career victories are just 15 wins shy of breaking Don Shula's record.

Those head coaching vacancies came and went, however, with the final positions being filled this week. Now, Belichick won't be on an NFL sideline for the first time in a half-century.

Belichick looked like the prime candidate to become the next Atlanta Falcons head coach. He had multiple meetings with team owner Arthur Blank, but reports indicated that conversations had stalled. Then, the Falcons shocked the NFL word by electing to hire Raheem Morris instead of Belichick.

Why did the Atlanta Falcons not hire Bill Belichick as their head coach?

The first thought that pops to mind is that Belichick's age could be a deterrent — he will be 72 years old before the 2024 NFL season. Still, as FanSided mentioned last week, there are many factors that could've made it difficult to hire Belichick.

There are a lot of stipulations that come with hiring Belichick, who has a strong belief in his way of building a winning culture. Belichick generally takes full control of football operations, including serving as the general manager. Any franchise that already has an established general manager may not have been willing to relinquish control, and Atlanta already had a leadership structure that Blank was unwilling to part ways with.

Falcons team president Rich McKay is likely the reason that Belichick isn't the Falcons head coach. McKay has been one of Blank's most trusted confidants and hiring Belichick would've forced McKay to relinquish some of his power with the organization.

Belichick has a "frosty relationship" with McKay, according to The Athletic's Jeff Howe ($). That relationship could have played a significant role in the two parties struggling to find a suitable power dynamic. Other sources with multiple teams told Howe that they were relieved that Belichick wasn't joining their team. They were concerned that the coach would "overhaul the leadership structure and the order of command." Some draft scouts claimed that their opinions didn't carry enough weight with Belichick.

While many of the new coaches bring optimism to their respective teams, those feelings of hope are likely going to fade. Most coaches don't have a high success rate, and none of the coaches that were hired have a proven track record quite like Belichick. It's likely that most of the teams that had a chance to hire Belichick this offseason will regret the decision. Unfortunately for Belichick, he won't be able to make them regret it on the field next season. For that, he'll have to wait at least another year.

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