It’s likely that the Atlanta Falcons will name their next head coach this week or next, but the path they’re taking to find their suitor isn’t making a lot of sense.
They started by announcing a restructured front office, taking away general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s NFL Draft duties and giving them to assistant general manager Scott Pioli. But Dimitroff still has the final say on who the Falcons draft, or something like that.
It remains unclear whether Dimitroff has to fetch Arthur Blank’s dry cleaning, or if that still remains Pioli’s responsibility.
All jokes aside, nobody is going to question Blank’s desire to bring a championship to Atlanta, but it is fair to question if the Falcons’ owner is doing a little too much tinkering for the good of the franchise. Over the last 10 seasons, the Falcons have just one playoff win, and that’s completely unacceptable for a team whose owner cares so much about winning.
And when the owner has been the only constant in those 10 years – in the front office or elsewhere in the franchise – it isn’t out of line to question his motives.
If you didn’t know, Blank is a co-founder of Home Depot. He’s shuffling bodies right now like a CEO would if a business’s bottom line wasn’t as high as projected. It’s all he knows as a businessman.
At the moment, it appears the favorite to be the next Falcons’ head coach is Todd Bowles, defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, according to AJC.com. In fact, it’s well-known that Blank is quite interested in hiring a defensive-minded head coach.
But again, just because the Falcons have been putrid on defense doesn’t mean the mission statement needs to be rewritten. If they’re going to focus on improving the defense, which they should, they still need to bring in a solid offensive coordinator to keep the offense moving in the right direction.
The offense should still be the focus of the team because that’s where the money is. There’s no chance the Falcons turn their defense into anything resembling Seattle’s Legion of Boom unless they turn several offensive stars loose and devote more of the payroll to defense. Taking away Matt Ryan’s offensive weapons would be fatal, but who knows what this front office has up its sleeve?
And who knows who’ll be the head coach at the end of this deliberate coaching search. Unforeseen circumstances have lengthened the search – the death of Blank’s mother, specifically – but the Buffalo Bills hired Rex Ryan after only about a week of searching. The Falcons fired Mike Smith three weeks ago, and they’re still looking for his replacement.
(Oh, and Rex Ryan thought he was going to be the next head coach of the Falcons, according to the New York Daily News. He also thought that seven years ago. It hasn’t happened either time.)
At a time when Falcons fans don’t have a lot of confidence that their team will be successful in the near future, news came last week that some personal seat licenses in the new stadium will cost as much as $45,000. That’s right – 45-grand just to have the right to purchase tickets, which will cost another $400 or so per game in the lower level (preseason games included!).
Even the cheapest PSLs will cost $10,000, according to CBS46.com. That’s not corporations paying that fee, that’s ordinary guys and ladies. Dads with kids. Twenty-somethings who want to be in the building to watch their favorite team.
Ten. Thousand. Dollars.
It seems the only thing the Falcons have a good grasp on right now is how they’re going to squeeze every last dollar out of their fans.
Photo credit: AP Photo/David Goldman