We’re in the dead period of football (you can read about how much I hate this period here), and with it, we don’t have much to talk about except for some speculation here and there.
I figured this would be a good time to look back on some moments in Falcons history and maybe re-live them while we wait for football to come back.
That idea has given rise to a new series of “Throwback Thursday” articles I’m planning on writing throughout the dead period. Each week, we’ll re-live and discuss a certain moment in this franchise’s 52-year history.
You can find last week’s Throwback Thursday article, about that snake Bobby Petrino, here
The Atlanta Falcons were in turmoil following the 2007 season. Coming off a 4-12 campaign, they were without a quarterback, a head coach or a General Manager. Dark days seemed to be ahead of Arthur Blank’s team unless he made the right hires that offseason.
The Falcons turned to New England’s director of college scouting, Thomas Dimitroff, as the man whom they hoped would lead them out of the doldrums. Following that hire, Atlanta brought on Jacksonville’s defensive coordinator Mike Smith to fill the vacant head coaching position.
The Dimitroff hire was a homerun, especially at first. With an extensive background in scouting, the draft would be where he would make his money. Dimitroff got to work right away in that department, picking Boston College QB Matt Ryan with his first ever selection as a General Manager.
For the record, I give Dimitroff full credit for this draft pick. This wasn’t a case where it was evident that Ryan should be the selection with the third overall pick, as a very large contingent of the fanbase was calling for the birds to select LSU DT Glenn Dorsey (looking at you, Dave).
The Ryan pick was not only a grand slam, but it was maybe the single most crucial draft selection in franchise history. He’s been everything the team wanted and more, combining with Dimitroff to usher in the most successful period in team history. In addition to Ryan, star players such as Julio Jones, Desmond Trufant, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, Grady Jarrett, Vic Beasley and more have been drafted under Dimitroff’s watch.
Before Dimitroff’s arrival in 2008, the Falcons’ overall (regular season) team record since inception was 256-378-6 (40% win percentage). Since 2008, that record is 95-65 (59.3% win percentage). Before 2008, Atlanta had made the playoffs eight times (including three division titles) in 42 seasons. Since 2008, they’ve made the playoffs six times (including three division titles) in 10 seasons.
The results speak for themselves. Thomas Dimitroff has been the architect of this incredible period in team history. Most NFL teams can only wish for the 10+ years of front office continuity and stability which has come with Atlanta’s slick-haired GM.
The Falcons have never been in a better position to win the Super Bowl than they are now, and Dimitroff is one of the main people they have to thank for that. If this 2017 draft class works out, and if the Falcons can triumph this year, we might just bronze those tasteful ties.
Expect these “Throwback Thursday” articles to be recurring throughout the offseason, to reminisce about the team’s history and to give us some stuff to talk about. Don’t expect them to go in order, however. The next one could look back on a moment that occurred in the 90s or even a few years ago. Between you and me, I’m just making it up as I go along.