The Atlanta Falcons surprised the NFL world last month when they tabbed former Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their new head coach over big names like Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel. One source told CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones that Morris “killed the interview,” and won over Atlanta’s brass. But was he really the Falcons’ first choice?
On WFAN’s “Boomer and Gio” recently, Boomer Esiason said that an NFL executive told him Falcons owner Arthur Blank offered Belichick the job.
“Supposedly, Arthur Blank was bought in to Bill Belichick, and could have offered him the job,” Esiason began.
Did Belichick say no to the Falcons?
“I don’t know why guys say no, but legitimately, an NFL executive basically told me that they believe that Arthur Blank offered Bill the job,” Esiason said.
With an NFL team potentially hiring Belichick, there were always going to be questions. How long would the contract be for? How much money? How does the legendary lead man fit into the front office? But this situation didn’t sound like caveats ruined the deal, according to Esiason.
“The way it was made sound to me was like, OK, I understand your concerns, but you’re going to have to deal with some of this. And we want you to come in. We want you to be the coach, and then maybe he just thought better of it,” Esiason said. “And just maybe said, you know what, I don’t want to go right back in. I want a year away, I want to see what happens because we all know there will be about five or six job openings next year, and there may be a better situation where an owner says you know what, I want to go down this path with you and I want you to take my building over and I want you to run it the way that you ran it with the New England Patriots.
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In a press conference Friday, Blank said the Falcons never offered Belichick the head coaching job, nor did the NFL legend ask for full control of the organization.
“Our talks were very inclusive, very collaborative, he met [GM] Terry Fontenot, he checked out our people doing his own references,” Blank said. “He sent me a private text, which I eventually shared with Terry, that he was happy working with him.”
It would be interesting if an NFL franchise gives Belichick — who’ll turn 72 in April — the kind of power that he had in New England next offseason, but he will again be a name to watch. Belichick is 26 wins away from tying Don Shula for the most regular-season wins in NFL history, and 14 wins from tying Shula for the most wins including playoffs.