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Thomas Dimitroff Named Sporting News Executive Of The Year

Thomas Dimitroff was hired in 2008 with a mission so impossible that it might as well have starred Tom Cruise: Turn around the Falcons. This was a season after the franchise quarterback was arrested for dog fighting, the coach bolted for the college ranks and the talent level of the roster was pretty damn dismal. Observers, including yours truly, urged patience with the rookie general manager. You don't dredge up shipwrecks in a day, after all.

But a funny thing happened on the way to a multi-year rebuilding project. The Falcons got better in a single year, thanks to the deft touch of that executive and the talented team of scouts and personnel guys he assembled around him. Dimitroff brought the Falcons success in 2008 and kept building on it, leading to a 13-3 finish in 2010 and a playoff berth. It wasn't a Super Bowl season, no, but what Dimitroff has done for this team is nothing short of astounding.

So the honor from Sporting News is richly deserved. It's not the NFL's official award, but it tells you how highly a collection of sports journalists think of Dimitroff's work that he's been selected when guys like Ted Thompson, Scott Pioli and Ozzie Newsome don't take this award home.

I long ago stopped having absolute faith in faith in people, especially those I don't know well, but it's difficult for me to find fault with Dimitroff. He's had his missteps—I'm beginning to wonder about Peria Jerry—but his body of work is undeniably great. With an extension coming, he'll be in the wings for a long time to come, and as Falcons fan, we all ought to be thrilled about that.

Let's wind this up with a quick quote from the article:

Dimitroff wants positive, passionate, persevering people to play, coach and work for the Falcons. He needed those three attributes to get where he is today. "It’s not all about off-the-charts intelligence or unbelievable creativity," he says.