The Falcons are approaching another offseason full of change. We have seen rumors regarding potential candidates for head coach and general manager and the prevailing pattern has been their connection to team president Rich McKay. What McKay is doing for the team or how he ended up with that job has never been made clear. However, we do know that he is acting as the team’s general manager and he was with owner Arthur Blank during the press conference after Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff were fired.
McKay was relieved of his general manager duties back after the 2007 season. That season we wish to forget was engineered by McKay: drafting Jamaal Anderson 8th overall and signing Bobby Petrino. McKay was demoted to manage the new stadium construction that went seriously over budget. In the latter part of the 2019 season, he worked his way into a promotion: McKay was suddenly the boss of the person who replaced him.
McKay, demoted so the Falcons could hire Dimitroff, later became Dimitroff’s boss, has now replaced Dimitroff, and is apparently a major factor in hiring Dimitroff’s replacement.
Per Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, multiple league sources are very concerned about McKay’s presence and believe it will impact how top candidates view the job with the Falcons.
And the sources I speak to all expressed concern about team president Rich McKay’s involvement in football operations.... One source said this job “won’t be attractive to top candidates” because of the structure, which is something that will have to be ironed out in the interview process.
Jones wrote about the positives and negatives for each opening, and as mentioned, the structure could potentially not be a problem. However, the fact is that many believe it may be, and we are not particularly certain how much power McKay has or will attempt to retain within the new regime.
McKay hired Jim Mora, Jr. and Bobby Petrino and was demoted for it. Over a decade later, he is again in the position to potentially hire a new head coach and a new general manager.
McKay’s role could turn off top candidates who may feel more comfortable under a more standard structure. Would a general manager want to work for the Falcons if, for instance, McKay wants final control of roster decisions? We are stuck trying to read the tea leaves because we do not actually know McKay’s role in this process, but every rumor suggests McKay will be highly involved.
If McKay pushes for more power, the Falcons may be looking at their second, third, or even fourth choice candidates to appease McKay. The fact that many around the league are worried could mean Atlanta misses out on even interviewing top candidates as other teams try to quickly sign their preferred candidate.