New England Patriots

Why did Falcons pass on Belichick? NFL insider shares interesting detail

The Falcons hired Raheem Morris on Thursday.

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The Atlanta Falcons are the only team to interview Bill Belichick since he parted ways with the New England Patriots on Jan. 11.

The Falcons actually interviewed Belichick twice, the first time as a one-on-one with team owner Arthur Blank, and a second time with Blank, team CEO Rich McKay and other execs, per multiple reports.

Blank ultimately decided to go in a different direction, and on Thursday he hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as the Falcons' new head coach. Morris was on the Falcons coaching staff from 2015 through 2020. He took over for Dan Quinn as the team's interim head coach during the 2020 campaign.

So, why did the Falcons not hire Belichick?

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Well, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, it sure sounds like Belichick wanted the same kind of power (or pretty close to it) in Atlanta that he had for many years in New England.

"The crossroads, according to a source familiar with the Falcons and Blank, was the element of realignment that would've needed to take place inside the Falcons to maximize a Belichick hire," Robinson wrote.

"While Blank and Belichick apparently never discussed a detailed plan of how a linear chain of command under the head coach would work, the source said meetings with Blank crystalized Belichick’s continued belief that the full scope of football operations, personnel and coaching should be under his decision-making umbrella."

Belichick having full control of the roster and coaching decisions in New England produced fantastic results for the Patriots as they won six Super Bowl titles from 2001 through 2018. But that kind of setup has become increasingly rare in today's NFL. And as Robinson notes, it can be hard to implement that setup if there's already a structure in place.

It doesn't help Belichick's case that since Tom Brady left the Patriots following the 2019 season, the franchise has missed the playoffs three times in the last four years. Among the primary reasons for the Patriots' recent struggles are poor drafting and a lack of success in free agency -- two areas where Belichick had a lot of power.

What's next for Belichick?

There are just two head coach vacancies -- the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders -- and Belichick reportedly is a long shot for both jobs. At this point, Belichick might have to take a year off from coaching and see what jobs open up over the next 12 months or so.

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