Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff isn’t trying to win a popularity contest. He doesn’t care how you’d rate his job performance. He doesn’t care if you think head coach Dan Quinn and Assistant GM Scott Pioli are actually behind the wheel. He doesn’t care if you think his choice to let the Hard Knocks producers film him in bike shorts was shortsighted and ill-conceived. The Comrade only cares about one thing: wins. Wins on wins on wins. That’s all that matters.
The AJC’s Jeff Schultz wrote an interesting piece yesterday about Dimitroff’s seat going from red hot to lukewarm to cold since 2014. It got me thinking. (Go read it now, if you haven’t already!) Is Dimitroff invincible now? Given all the success the front office has experienced during the Quinn era, what would it take for his seat to get hot again? Here’s how Schultz put it:
The son of a former coach and long-time scout, the former kid who cut grass and lined the field as a member of the Cleveland Browns’ groundscrew, has done well. No more job worries. No more jokes.
Schultz is right on many fronts. I’m in the “give Dimitroff credit because credit’s due” camp. Darrelle Revis should set his front office aspirations aside, because no NFL GM is an island. Dimitroff has a whole staff of scouts that he and Pioli rely on to prepare year-round for each April’s draft. If the Falcons actually win a Super Bowl or two before Matt Ryan retires, they’ll make an inspirational documentary about this team one day. And when some joker rookie or sophomore quarterback is throwing pick after infuriating pick, we’ll reminisce about the glory days.
But here’s the rub: the league hasn’t changed. Parity is a real thing in the NFL and sustained success is hard to ... sustain. A couple bad drafts coupled with back to back losing seasons could easily jettison Dimitroff. He’d surely land on his feet, given his body of work, but he’s not made of polytetrafluoroethylene.
I’ve personally seen Schultz in action; he’s not inflating Dimitroff’s ego on purpose. That’s not the point. But Schultz is spot on because we’re actually living the penultimate episode right now. The figurative ball is on the green. Dimitroff and company need only sink the putt and their legacy is cemented. That said, if they bogey this hole, they’re still easily replaceable. I’m afraid that’s just the nature of the beast.