Sometimes milestones creep up on you. That’s how I somehow missed that 2018 was the 11th year with Thomas Dimitroff at the helm as the general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, despite the fact that it makes him the longest-tenured man in that role in team history. It took the departure of Scott Pioli to make me go back and look, but lo and behold, Dimitroff’s made some history.
The only man who comes close is Ken Herock, who presided over an era of (relative, given the team’s history) success from 1987 to 1996. He was at the helm for 10 seasons, while Dimitroff is entering his 12th season with the Falcons, an era that is both longer and more successful than anything Herock could have dreamed of.
We’ve spent enough time speculating about what might happen to this front office should things go awry this year, but regardless of what happens in the coming years, Dimitroff has cemented himself as the greatest GM in team history. I know that particular sentence won’t go down easy for some, but consider that under Dimitroff’s hair gelled reign, the Falcons have:
- Drafted their best QB ever and their sole MVP in Matt Ryan
- Signed or drafted two of the most productive RBs in team history (Michael Turner and Devonta Freeman)
- Drafted the best receiver in team history in Julio Jones
- Added top-flight talent at positions ranging from LT to DT to LB to CB to S
- Signed, in a stroke of minor genius, the best kicker in team history in Matt Bryant
- Has provided the talent that took the Falcons to two NFC Conference Championships and just their second Super Bowl, and has presided over easily the winningest era in team history
Dimitroff’s notable missteps along the way will ensure he gets heat whether he’s here for another season or another 20, but the items above lay out his case pretty neatly. Dimitroff has consistently nailed the biggest picks of his tenure and has, if a mixed track record in free agency, one that still has resulted in the team landing some of their best players of the last decade-plus.
The only thing that has yet eluded the Falcons under Dimitroff, of course, is the one thing every Falcons fan, player, executive, and owner want more than anything else: A Lombardi Trophy. If he can bring that home, his place in team history will be truly secure, but for now get used to someday telling your grandkids about the spiky-haired best personnel man in team history, likely by leading with the Matt Ryan pick and including the phrase “urgent athleticism” in there somewhere.