The Falcons turned a lot of heads when they made the decision to give Raheem Morris his first official head coaching gig in 13 years instead of hiring Bill Belichick, who many see as one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history. A report from Dan Graziano details a situation that saw a difference of opinion on how the team’s executive structure should be shaped.
According to Graziano, multiple sources have been saying for weeks that team owner Arthur Blank came into the hiring process wanting Belichick. Unfortunately for Blank, Falcons chief executive officer Rich McKay has a hand in the day-to-day operations of the team and has a say, as well. Apparently, that role concerned Belichick, who inquired about McKay’s impact should he be hired. Belichick seemed to want structural power, similar to what he had in New England.
In the eyes of the organization, Belichick “was seen as a short-term play.” He’s got plenty of rings and is only 15 wins away from passing legendary coach Don Shula for the all-time record of most wins by a head coach. In order to grant Belichick the powers he sought within the organization, extensive overhauling would be required in the leadership structure; overhauling that would then need to be done a second time upon Belichick’s departure in the near future. In the end, it just made more sense to keep the broad structure in place and hire a coach with a greater aspiration for continuing to coach well into the future.
Additionally, though, the team made the call to ultimately move McKay away from the day-to-day operations of the team. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, while McKay will remain CEO of Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE) and will continue “to represent the team on league matters and the NFL’s Competition Committee,” McKay will focus more on soccer, away from football operations. Instead, Morris and general manager Terry Fontenot will report directly to Blank.