Why did Falcons fire HC Arthur Smith after NFL 2024 season finale?

Besides the season-ending injury saga of the elite quarterbacks, the 2023 NFL season also hit the headlines for the firing of the head coaches amid the regular season. The Las Vegas Raiders HC Josh McDaniels, Los Angeles Chargers HC Brandon Staley, and Carolina Panthers HC Frank Reich tasted the bitterness of getting kicked out of their teams before the regular season concluded.

The New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera, and the Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith were projected to be the next targets of the misfortune. While Belichick and Rivera had a relief of not grappling with the setback midseason, Arthur Smith could not save himself from the blow following a disappointing season.

Why was HC Arthur Smith fired by the Falcons?

The Falcons’ have finally decided to terminate head coach Arthur Smith following the end of their regular season. The announcement, confirmed by NFL Network’s Steve Wyche, marks the end of his three-year tenure with the franchise. The move, while unexpected to some, was rooted in the team’s performance on the field, leading to questions about the HC’s coaching effectiveness and the team’s overall trajectory.

The announcement signaled a significant shift in leadership for the Falcons. In a statement, the team’s owner, Aurther Blank, expressed deep appreciation for Smith’s efforts in cultivating a positive team culture. He also mentioned the decision to bid adieu to the coach by highlighting the disparity between expectations and on-field results. The team’s desire for a novel strategy to achieve success ultimately drove the difficult decision.

“Decisions like this are never easy and they never feel good. We have profound respect for Coach Smith and appreciate all the hard work and dedication he has put into the Falcons over the last three years. He has been part of building a good culture in our football team, but the results on the field have not met our expectations. After significant thought and reflection, we have determined the best way forward for our team is new leadership in the head coaching position”, he said via NFL.com.

Aurthur Smith’s arrival in 2021 carried high hopes, given his successful tenure as the Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator. The Falcons banked on his expertise to revitalize the team’s performance and possibly secure a playoff berth. However, the envisioned success failed to materialize.

One of the primary challenges plaguing the veteran’s coaching stint was the inability to establish consistency at the quarterback position. The team struggled to find a stable and effective solution, which ultimately hindered their performance on the field. The team consistently fell short and recorded a disappointing 21–30 mark over three seasons.

Meanwhile, the Falcons’ recent string of losses, especially the blowout defeat against the New Orleans Saints, further exacerbated the coach’s precarious position. The 48-17 loss saw Smith embroiled in a post-game confrontation with Saints coach Dennis Allen regarding a late touchdown, reflecting the mounting pressure and frustrations.

Did the Falcons make it into the NFL playoffs?

The Falcons’ rollercoaster season came to a disheartening conclusion as their playoff hopes were dashed in a dramatic season finale in Week 18. In a must-win scenario, the team relied on the Carolina Panthers to outplay the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, Baker Mayfield’s Bucs squad dominated the Panthers with a resounding 9-0 victory, effectively closing the door on the Falcons’ playoff ambitions.

Arthur Smith
Saints Wire- USA Today

Meanwhile, the Falcons were battling the Saints in a bid to secure their own victory and strengthen their playoff contention. Unfortunately, they found themselves trailing by a disappointing 24 points in the dying moments of the fourth quarter, sealing their defeat. This defeat marked the team’s fourth loss in their last five games.

The 2023 season, which started brightly with a 2-0 record and held the prospect of NFC South supremacy as December began, ultimately culminated in profound disappointment for the Falcons and their dedicated fanbase. Despite early glimmers of hope, the team faltered down the stretch and ultimately fell short of their postseason aspirations. This disappointing conclusion marks the sixth consecutive season that the Atlanta Falcons have missed out on the coveted NFL playoffs.

Maliha

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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.

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