HomeFootball DirtNFL Announces All Head Coaches Fired Following the 2023 Season

NFL Announces All Head Coaches Fired Following the 2023 Season

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Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith reacts to a call during the game against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith reacts to a call during the game against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Seasons with the team: Three

Record: 21-30

Playoff wins: 0

The Falcons wasted no time offloading Smith, no doubt infuriating any bettors that had Ron Rivera as a heavy favorite in the “next coach fired” sweepstakes. It was barely Black Monday in the Eastern time zone when news broke that Smith wouldn’t get a fourth year to try and turn Atlanta’s fortunes around.

Smith was supposed to bring a creative counter-culture mindset to the Falcons’ offense after helping revive Ryan Tannehill’s career and building a run-heavy attack in a pass-first NFL as offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans. Instead, his units remained stuck in neutral despite a growing cache of skill players who were selected with top 10 draft picks. This 2023 team had Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson in the lineup, but since their quarterbacks were either Desmond Ridder or Taylor Heinicke, Atlanta only ranked 26th in points scored coming into Week 18.

Smith spent his final week as the team’s head coach getting whooped by the rival New Orleans Saints, then getting red-faced when Jameis Winston overrode his coach’s decision to kneel-out a win and handed the ball off for a touchdown out of the victory formation late in a 48-17 defeat.

This is, ultimately, Smith’s legacy. A bunch of bluster and expectations without follow through. He went 21-30 in three seasons with the Falcons, failing to a tidy 7-10 record each season despite a soft schedule and an entirely winnable NFC South the last two years. Whatever magic he’d conjured in Nashville failed him in Atlanta; now he’s the first victim of Black Friday 2024

What the new coach will inherit: Lots of good players! The veteran defense may lose steam, but was the best in the NFL against the run this season. Pitts, Robinson and London remain on rookie contracts. There’s a decent array of veteran quarterbacks who could step into a starting role and yet another top 10 draft pick could land a passer like Jayden Daniels or Michael Penix to throw to them. Plus, owner Arthur Blank has proven himself as a patient and receptive boss — you know, pretty much the opposite of David Tepper.

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