After spending the better part of three seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is set to pursue other career options.
Smith told NFL reporter Alex Marvez of his intentions to leave the game and spend more time with his family.
Mike Smith tells @SiriusXMNFL that he has no plans on pursuing any more coaching opportunities. Smith, 59, says it's time "to do something different" & spend more time with his family after 36 years in the profession. A good man who I wish the best.— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) January 15, 2019
Smith, whose record of 66-46 makes him the winningest coach in Falcons history, steered the ship from 2008-2014 and oversaw Matt Ryan’s first six seasons in the league.
His teams were too inconsistent to ever find more than one playoff win, though as regular season contenders, they were often victorious.
The franchise had five straight winning seasons during Smitty’s tenure (2008 through 2012) and four playoff berths during that splendid run. The team also hosted the NFC Championship game following the 2012 season, before the 2013 and 2014 collapse that ended Smith’s tenure with the team.
Regardless of the lack of playoff success and his staff’s notorious ability to let certain offensive and defensive talents grow stagnant in development, Smitty was a wonderful leader and successful head coach for a half-decade of Falcons football, and we owe a lot to him for what he brought to the franchise after the tumult of the Michael Vick arrest and Bobby Petrino days.
If the team doesn’t choke away the NFC Championship game to the Niners, the Falcons wind up facing the Ravens in the Super Bowl. That fact sums up Mike Smith’s tenure. He fielded a very good football team for a number of years that just didn’t have the tenacity to go all the way.
His faults caught up to him in the end, as they have with many great coaches in the past. Sometimes, people cycle in and out of opportunities, and Smitty most definitely hit an impasse in Atlanta for where the expectations were after 2012.
But he was still an important coach in the team’s history, and was on the ground floor to build the team culture that still stands today. He’s also got impeccable character and led this team the right way.
So we wish Smith all the best in his future pursuits, and thank him for his major contributions to the team. Though he’s not remembered as fondly for the hard years, let’s not forget the good ones, either.
They were aplenty for some time, so, at least for today, let’s smile for the good times we had during his tenure over the team.