The Atlanta Falcons are the only team to date who’ve granted Bill Belichick a head coaching interview after he and the Patriots parted ways, and on Thursday, they decided to go in a different direction by hiring Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris instead.
There are layers to the hiring in Atlanta. Arthur Blank was targeting the greatest coach of all time from the start. He was then open to listening to others ideas. Some internal persuasion, impressive interviews, and here we are. Belichick is unemployed. Raheem gets his shot.
Morris has quite an impressive coaching resume. Unlike Belichick castoff Matt Patricia, Morris has had success on both sides of the ball, serving as the Falcons’ assistant head coach and passing game coordinator from 2015 to 2019. In those first two years, he collaborated with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to turn Atlanta into an NFC champion. He also coached the team’s wide receivers from 2016 to 2019 and was the interim coach in 2020, going 4-7.
The Shanahan tree has been a goldmine for coaching talent for a while now; Morris is the latest man to get a head coaching gig, although he did get a shot when he was younger as Jon Gruden’s successor in Tampa Bay for three seasons.
The 2013 Washington coaching staff now has five NFL head coaches, and there could still be a sixth:
But all this is quite a damning indictment of Belichick. The league-wide perception on him has certainly soured. In an offense-skewing league, a lot of teams are opting to go with head coaches who can call offensive plays. This was the case earlier on Thursday whenthe Carolina Panthers hired Dave Canales, who just dialed up the plays for Baker Mayfield and the NFC South champion Bucs.
Since Morris isn’t strictly from a defensive background and has a lot of familiarity with Falcons owner Arthur Blank, it’s easy to connect the dots and see how he won out in the end. Plus, he strikes me as a more collaborative candidate than the curmudgeonly Belichick.
It’s nevertheless wild to me that Belichick can’t get a job. He’s 71 years old. Taking a year off at this stage of his career seems unthinkable. Could he really last a full year away from the game?
The #Falcons were the only team to interview legendary coach Bill Belichick, and there are no known scheduled interviews. Potentially, Belichick could sit out the year and await an opportunity in 2025.
Maybe a break is exactly what he needs to get current/modern and up to speed with how offense is played in the current NFL. It’s pretty clear by now that Tom Brady put a bandage over Belichick’s blind spots in that area. That metaphor doesn’t totally add up, but you get what I mean.
There’s almost nothing better that could happen to Belichick than to be doubted like this. He has a whole new challenge to overcome. Maybe he feels like he doesn’t have to “prove” anything. I don’t know. Don’t you think the fiery competitor in him will want to silence anyone who questions his greatness and credits Brady with far more of the credit for the Patriots’ dynasty? Don’t you think he’d want to stick it to all these owners who witnessed the legend he built in New England, only to say “LOL NO THANKS!” once he hit the open market?
We might get Belichick back in 2025 with a vengeance. That’s a scary thought for the rest of the league. Or so I would’ve thought more so a few years ago?
Good for Raheem Morris, though. So many people have advocated for him for years to get another shot as a head coach. The NFC South is as wide-open of a division as there is in the sport. You just have to wonder who the Falcons intend to bring in as their starting quarterback. Belichick might’ve dodged a bullet in that regard, because if Atlanta can’t get that position right, or decides to roll with Desmond Ridder, Morris will be set up to fail from the jump.
Regardless, I guess we’ll all have to brace for a reality in which Bill Belichick isn’t coaching in the NFL in some capacity for the first time since *checks notes* 1975. Wow.
Gotta play you out with some of the best/funniest reactions to the Belichick news (or lack thereof).