Bill Belichick was considered the favorite for the Falcons head coaching job, even as the team continued to add candidates to their interview process. While some assumed the organization was simply biding time before ultimately hiring Belichick, that may not be the case.
Josh Kendall of The Athletic writes that the “Belichick candidacy has lost momentum” over the past week, with sources telling him that the organization’s “Belichick or bust” mentality was inaccurate.
As Kendall details, there were plenty of worthy reasons to assume Belichick was the front runner. For starters, he’s the only known candidate to meet a second time with the organization (the team has requested second interviews with other candidates), and the iconic head coach hasn’t taken any reported meetings with other teams. Those factors, coupled with owner Arthur Blank‘s penchant for big-name hunting and the organization’s decision to let defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen leave for the Jaguars, made it seem like Belichick was a shoo-in for the job.
On the flip side, the Falcons have cast the widest net in the NFL as they search for their next head coach, with 13 candidates interviewing for the job (and a 14th, Mike Vrabel, set to interview this week). You could explain away some of the initial candidates as placeholders until Belichick’s situation in New England was resolved. But the Falcons have continued to add candidates to the list, even after Belichick’s second interview.
So, since the Falcons may not be waiting around for an inevitable Belichick addition, their head coaching search will continue indefinitely. Kendall cautions that a move probably won’t be made this week, and he adds that the search could extend beyond the Super Bowl if the Falcons are targeting a conference-winning coach.
As for Belichick, it doesn’t sound like the Falcons will be his only option. In fact, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com passes along that “multiple” teams are considering making a run at Belichick. This includes one team that currently has an opening, a grouping that includes the Panthers, Chargers, Seahawks, and Commanders. Interestingly, Florio notes that a team considering a Belichick pursuit is still employing a head coach, a potential twist in the sweepstakes.