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Bumbling Falcons Coach Mike Smith Revealed As Disguised Sacha Baron Cohen Character For Upcoming Movie

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The performance artist and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, known for playing fictional pranksters such as Borat, Brüno and Ali G, announced his most aggressive project to date: playing an incompetent and blundering Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith since 2008.

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen (left) in his Mike Smith costume, and Matt Bryant (right)
Actor Sacha Baron Cohen (left) in his Mike Smith costume, and Matt Bryant (right)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sacha Baron Cohen has made hundreds of millions of dollars dressing up in costumes and pranking unwitting suspects. The man who has spoofed others as Austrian fashion correspondent, made uncomfortable conversation with politicians as a British rapper, and wrestled news reporters as a Kazakh journalist has outdone himself yet again.

After Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns, the person previously believed to be Falcons head coach Mike Smith tried explaining another late game coaching disaster by saying the Browns would have called a timeout if he did not beat them to it.

When pressed to make sense of either the timeout or the explanation, the coach was at a loss of words. After a long pause, he ripped a grey wig from his head and removed an elaborate face mask in the middle of the team's press conference. Reporters were shocked to see that Smith was never a real person, but instead, a gag expertly performed by Cohen.

Just moments after calling a head-scratching timeout that allowed the Cleveland Browns ample time to drive down the field and kick a field goal in the remaining seconds of the 4th quarter, Cohen revealed the specifics of his upcoming 2015 film, "Mike Smith: Simple Minded Football Coach".

After the success of my other films, I was forced to retire my other characters. I wondered if I could bamboozle my way into a high-paying and high-visibility position, and the hijinx I could create for my next masterpiece.

I was shocked no one noticed that even the name Mike Smith clearly sounds made up.

Cohen expertly put together the persona of a slow-witted football coach that repeated the same four meaningless phrases at every press conference, made senseless clock management decisions, benched young and promising players, and continued with the same game plan after it had failed for years.

I expected this to be a short project. The six hours of makeup every day is excruciating. I thought I would have been fired quickly, but that never happened. Not even when I left the playbook on the team plane or spent the first 12 minutes of a football game on the San Diego Chargers sideline. I have actively tried to get fired for years but just cannot continue with this charade.

The movie is expected to contain ample video of disappointed, angry and frustrated Atlanta Falcons fans. Cohen suggested they had so much footage there may be up to four movies.

We look at some of Cohen's zanier performances of the bumbling, fictional Mike Smith.

  • In the 2013 loss to the Jets, Cohen coached the entire game with a Waffle House menu in his hand.
  • Cohen tries fighting former Atlanta Falcons player DeAngelo Hall on the sideline.
  • In Sunday's loss, Cohen called a timeout late in the game with the team in scoring distance, then called for a deep pass to Devin Hester.
  • Showed up 48 minutes late to the Falcons 2008 game against the St. Louis Rams wearing athletic shorts and a lewd t-shirt, smelling of booze.
  • Played Steven Jackson years after he was last effective to the chagrin of fans everywhere.
  • Told General Manager Thomas Dimitroff, "I don't know, just get me like five more defensive tackles" prior to the 2014 season.
  • In the 2014 Lions game, Cohen had the offense kneel down with 74 seconds left in the half then bailed out the Lions at the end of the game with a timeout, allowing them time to kick a game-winning field goal.
  • In two different seasons, Cohen accidentally sets fire to the Gatorade cooler.
  • Cohen assigned struggling linebacker Kroy Biermann to cover Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings.
  • Cohen was briefly detained by Atlanta Police Department for breaking into the Georgia Dome after locking his keys in the stadium.
Bravo, Cohen. This was quite the performance, but looking back, this Mike Smith character was really over the top.