Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Smith was fired as the Atlanta Falcons' coach Monday, one day after the end of his second straight losing season and a 34-3 rout by the Carolina Panthers before booing fans at the Georgia Dome.
The team scheduled a morning news conference.
Atlanta had a 66-46 regular-season record with Smith and won two NFC South titles. But this season ended at 6-10.
"Smitty's contributions to our club, team and city over the last seven years are numerous," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement released by the team. "His accomplishments on the field made him the most successful coach in the 49-year history of the Falcons, and we are grateful for the foundation he has laid for us for the future."
Smith joined the Falcons with general manager Thomas Dimitroff in 2008. Quarterback Matt Ryan was the new management team's first draft pick, and the three combined for instant success with five straight winning seasons.
Before Smith was hired, the Falcons never had back-to-back winning seasons. He immediately raised expectations with an 11-5 finish in his first season. The Falcons won 10 or more games in four seasons under Smith, including 13-3 finishes in 2010 and 2012. Smith reached 50 wins in only 71 games, the third-fastest pace since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
Smith, however, had a 1-4 record in the playoffs. Following a trip to the NFC championship game in 2012, the Falcons have fallen to 10-22 the last two seasons.
Before he was hired by the Falcons, Smith was the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-07. He was a defensive assistant with Baltimore from 1999-2000.
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Posted on Mon, December 29, 2014
by CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer