8:53am: Breer reports (via Twitter) that Dimitroff is officially safe in Atlanta, but that owner Arthur Blank “plans on shaking up the organizational structure,” according to a source.
8:27am: The Falcons have officially announced the firing of head coach Mike Smith, tweets Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com had reported last week that Smith would be fired at season’s end, and the team’s disappointing Week 17 loss to the Panthers for the NFC South title sealed the deal. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk indicated earlier today that Smith was “absolutely done” in Atlanta.
Smith, 55, had coached the Falcons since the 2008 season, accumulating a 66-46 overall record (.589) in his seven years with the club. That overall win-loss record was buoyed by a strong first five seasons, in which the team never finished worse than 9-7. During the last two seasons, Atlanta struggled to a combined 10-22 mark, missing out on the playoffs this year even in an extremely weak NFC South division.
Even a win on Sunday wouldn’t have saved Smith’s job, since ownership was ready for a change, tweets La Canfora. I’d imagine a lengthy playoff run might’ve made a difference, but even if the Falcons had reached the postseason, the team would have done so with an unimpressive seven wins, including just one in non-division games. As Jay Glazer of FOX Sports notes (via Twitter), Smith knew heading into the season that he was in a win-or-else position.
The Falcons have scheduled a press conference for 11:00 am eastern time, at which the team will officially address its coaching change, tweets D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), the current sense is that general manager Thomas Dimitroff is safe.