Atlanta Falcons complete a second interview with former Patriots coach Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick completed his second coaching interview with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, moving closer to joining the franchise that endured its biggest disappointment with him on the opposite sideline.
The Falcons also met virtually with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, but all eyes were on Belichick amid reports that he was the team's top choice and had flown to Atlanta on one of owner Arthur Blank's private jets.
If Belichick heads to the Falcons, a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2017 and has never won a Super Bowl championship, it would be a stunning turn of events.
Belichick was coach of the New England Patriots when they pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, rallying from a 28-3 deficit in the second half to beat the Falcons 34-28 in overtime after the 2016 season.
Atlanta made the playoffs a year later but hasn't been back since. Arthur Smith was fired just hours after this season’s final game — an ugly loss at New Orleans that capped his third straight 7-10 campaign.
Belichick, whose six Super Bowl titles are more than any other coach, is coming off a 4-13 season — the worst of his career — that led to him parting ways with the Patriots less than two weeks ago.
His final season in New England with marred by major issues at quarterback. Mac Jones was benched and Bailey Zappe struggled as well.
The Falcons endured similar problems at the most prominent position on the field, switching back and forth between Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke in a desperate bid by Smith to save his job.
If Belichick comes to Atlanta, it would surely be with an understanding that Blank, CEO Rich McKay and general manager Terry Fontenot are willing to pursue an upgrade at quarterback.
With a career record of 333-178, including the playoffs, Belichick clearly wants to keep coaching as he approaches the late Don Shula’s record of 347 victories.
Belichick teamed with quarterback Tom Brady to capture a half-dozen rings over an 18-season span in what many consider the greatest dynasty in NFL history. For good measure, Belichick was a part of two more championship teams while working on the New York Giants' staff under Bill Parcells.
But Belichick’s reputation took a big hit after Brady left the Patriots following the 2019 season — and immediately won his seventh Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a rival of the Falcons in the NFC South.
The Patriots have had only one winning season since then — a one-and-done playoff appearance in 2021 — while posting a record of 29-38. That’s not much better than Atlanta’s 25-42 mark over the same span.
In addition to Belichick and Glenn, the Falcons have interviewed Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Ravens assistant head coach and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson.