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ESPN: Falcons have “strong interest” in Bill Belichick

There is a whole lot of smoke about the Falcons’ interest in one of the best head coaches in NFL history.

Atlanta Falcons v New England Patriots Set Number: X82981 TK1 R1 F176

There is an unusual quietness about Atlanta’s head coaching search, which is quite honestly a welcome reprieve from what we did learn about the state of the team. Notably, as most team interviews leak within minutes of the meeting time being set, nothing has leaked from Atlanta. Other than some rumors swirling about Atlanta’s interest, there’s nothing yet about interviews.

What’s that mean? Probably nothing. Teams have, in the past, put a tight lid on interviews, or even been the ones to break the news after the interviews have occurred. For the team, keeping a tight lid on interviews may help keep other teams off of their track. For those cynical, you may ask, what team would try to get a jump on the Falcons with their long history of Arthur Smith, Jim Mora, Jr., and Bobby Petrino? That’s a fair point, but it is no mystery that the “hot” candidates get interviewed for every job opening.

But it could mean the Falcons are dead set on one candidate. Further, it could mean Atlanta feels extremely confident it can get its one candidate. You’ve seen the rumors and they are getting much, much louder.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, top national reporters, both linked Atlanta and still-current New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Asked about the Atlanta job, Graziano said, “I have been told they will have strong interest in Bill Belichick, if, as most seem to expect, he and the Patriots part ways. I’ve also been told people close to Belichick believe it would be a good fit for him.” Fowler supported the rumor, saying he first didn’t buy into the interest, “but there appears to be some traction.”

Both reporters believe Atlanta to be a strong landing spot with a stout roster... outside of quarterback. Graziano also suggests Arthur Blank doesn’t meddle in day-to-day affairs, a point that may be open to a lot more debate.

Whether the potential is successful or not, it would be huge for the Falcons. The Falcons, and admittedly most teams, have never had a coach of this caliber. It is the splash move that Arthur Blank is aching to make to energize the fan base. From a team perspective, adding a proven coach has to be a lot more appetizing than throwing the franchise to another up-and-coming coordinator.

Bringing in Belichick could also be huge for the Falcons if it all falls apart. Belichick is in his 70s, and he has a losing career record without Tom Brady. Further, Belichick has not shown an ability to find a quarterback, and doesn’t seem to have the juice to get an offense going. Blank probably can’t quickly can Belichick in the same way as Arthur Smith, and will likely pay out the nose for Belichick, and perhaps a big name coordinator like Josh McDaniels to run the offense.

From a practical perspective, the Falcons would likely prefer working out a deal the Patriots to keep other potential teams from wriggling their way into the equation. If the Falcons were negotiating with both the Patriots and Belichick, and felt, maybe, Deshaun Watson levels of confidence in getting a deal done, you might not be hearing a lot about other head coaching interviews.

That last assumption is not in the ESPN article, who also suggest Jim Harbaugh, Aaron Glenn (Detroit), and Mike Macdonald (Baltimore) as potential candidates, but neither reporter mentions either interviews or interest between the parties.

Short of a Bobby Petrino-type wild ball out of nowhere, Belichick seems like Atlanta’s top option.