Talking Falcons fans off the ledge after passing on Bill Belichick

The Atlanta Falcons had the opportunity to hire Bill Belichick, arguably the greatest NFL coach of all-time, but passed. Here's why that's not such a bad thing.

Bill Belichick was thought to be the favorite for the Falcons job, but the Raheem Morris hire left him out in the cold
Bill Belichick was thought to be the favorite for the Falcons job, but the Raheem Morris hire left him out in the cold / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

It isn't every day that you get to bring your Prius into the dealership and trade it in for a Lamborghini. Even if you could, you'd probably ask, "What's the catch?" At the end of the day, though, most people would probably overlook the red flags and sign on the dotted line, then burn rubber with the windows down as they sped away.

This is the situation the Atlanta Falcons have been in as they've searched for a replacement for Arthur Smith, and after opting for Raheem Morris over Bill Belichick, a large portion of their fanbase is wondering how they let their shiny prize get away.

There's an inherent dissonance associated with equating a man known for cutting the sleeves off his sweatshirts and speaking in a low monotone in post-game press conferences with a high-powered sports car. Sean McVay or Kliff Kingsbury are more in the Lamborghini mold than Belichick, but the former Patriots coach's record speaks for itself. Six-time Super Bowl-winning coaches just don't become available every day.

Whenever the day comes that Belichick retires (likely with the most wins in NFL history if he can coach two or three more seasons), he'll ride off into the sunset as the titleholder of the best to ever do it, so it's understandable that Falcons fans are distraught after passing on that in favor of a coach with a career record of 21-38.

Don't do anything drastic, Falcons fans, because I'm about to tell you why your team made the right choice in passing on Bill Belichick

On the surface, the Falcons have made a crazy decision, but there are many reasons to believe that they did the right thing. Let's quickly run through them.

1. Belichick is close with Falcons owner Arthur Blank, but the rest of the organization was against hiring him

We've seen in the past how important it is to have the coach and front office in sync. Hiring Belichick would have brought unwanted tension to the organization that would have inevitably infected the entire operation. Would Belichick have wanted say in personnel matters after running the entire operation in New England? That never would have worked.

2. Belichick failed in developing Mac Jones. Why would he succeed with Desmond Ridder or a new rookie QB?

Part of the reason the Falcons moved on from Arthur Smith was that Smith didn't get the most out of his offensive weapons. Atlanta has a lot of highly-drafted talent on that side of the ball, but Smith ran their offense like it was 1965. Belichick has been no better. The Patriots haven't had the same level of talent as the Falcons, but there's nothing in the post-Brady years to suggest that Belichick can put even a passable offense on the field.

3. Age is more than just a number

Bill Belichick is 71 years old. Raheem Morris is 47. It's not unfair to point that out. If the Falcons had a team that was ready to compete for a championship immediately, maybe it would make sense to hire a coach who only has a few years left, but they need to be thinking more long-term than that. The average NFL coach only lasts about four years, but when hiring, the aim has to be finding someone that could be there for a decade or more. That's not Belichick.

4. Super Bowl LI still looms large

There's no harm in wanting Belichick as your coach, but you have to admit it's a little gross to hire the guy that ripped your entire fanbase's heart out by coming back from a 28-3 deficit in the Super Bowl. Can you imagine inducting Matt Ryan into the Ring of Honor as Belichick looks on from the sideline? Oof.

5. Trust the process

The Falcons didn't rush into a quick hire. They reportedly interviewed 14 different candidates and did every bit of due diligence. It's OK to question the decision, but if the process that led to it was good, you need to trust the end result.

6. No other team seems interested in Belichick

It has to mean something that Belichick hasn't drawn interest from any other team with a head coaching vacancy. Only the Commanders and Seahawks have yet to hire a new coach, which makes it increasingly likely that Belichick won't get a job at all this offseason. If the Falcons were wrong to pass on Belichick, then so was everyone else.

7. Raheem Morris is a great hire

Let's focus on who the Falcons actually hired. Raheem Morris had a rough go of it the first time he was a head coach, but he was only 33 years old when the Bucs hired him in 2009. You can count how many coaches have succeeded at that age on one hand. He had a short stint as the Falcons interim coach in 2020, but that's an impossible job and the team wasn't any good to begin with. Now at age 47 with much more experience under his belt, he's ready for this opportunity.

Morris won a Super Bowl as the Rams defensive coordinator, and he was one of the hottest names this coaching cycle, scoring interviews with the Commanders, Chargers, Panthers, and Seahawks. It's also rumored that he could bring Zac Robinson, a Sean McVay disciple that is one of this offseason's most sought-after offensive coordinator candidates, with him to run the Falcons' offense.

The flashiest move is rarely the best one, as I imagine many Lamborghini owners with buyer's remorse would attest. The Falcons made the admirable decision to commit to a long-term plan with Raheem Morris, rather than win the headline battle with a coach that, for the reasons listed above, isn't really a fit. Don't worry, Falcons fans. You're going to be OK.