Bill Belichick picking the Falcons would be the great gamble of the NFL coaching cycle

Former New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick going to the Atlanta Falcons feels like Darth Vader helping Luke Skywalker take down the Emperor and helping the Rebels defeat the Empire in Return of the Jedi.

Belichick, the co-architect to all of Falcondom’s pain, has officially interviewed with the franchise for its head coaching vacancy, and there is word that interest is mutual.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank hasn’t tried to hide that he’s interested in landing Belichick to lead his team after firing Arthur Smith earlier this month. The Falcons have been the main team attached to Belichick in terms of outward interest, and it feels like, if Belichick wants the job, he’ll get it.

Blank has tried chasing a coaching legend before in Bill Parcells, Belichick’s mentor who famously spurned Blank and the Falcons at the last moment to join the Miami Dolphins in 2007.

That decision ultimately worked out in Atlanta’s favor, as the team succeeded in hiring Mike Smith as its coach and drafted quarterback Matt Ryan with the third-overall pick in the following year’s NFL Draft. Thank the football gods for unanswered prayers.

Belichick will likely retire as the greatest NFL coach of all time, having led the Patriots to a staggering six Super Bowls and countless other achievements. He’s also coming off a largely lousy stretch with New England in the post-Tom Brady era.

Who would any NFL team get in hiring Belichick: the world-demolisher who won six championships and could literally beat any team or the veteran coach who struggled with acquiring talent and picking the right quarterbacks and assistant coaches to keep his franchise afloat after Brady left?

It’s the grandest question of the NFL coaching cycle. Belichick is still a talented coach and can field a ferocious defense wherever he lands. It’s everything else, the failures of the recent Patriots and the inability to find a proper successor for Brady, that makes you question if he can help a team like the Falcons that need an offensive revival and a new quarterback.

The 28-3 jokes are what they are. Belichick’s Patriots delivered the most embarassing loss in Super Bowl history to the Falcons in 2017, and the franchise has never fully gotten over that devastating defeat. Atlanta hiring Belichick would be deeply ironic for that reason alone, but it’s not the main issue to focus on when you really dive deep into if this would really work.

The real question that befalls the Falcons in particular is if Belichick can solve the franchise’s specific problems: to find a quarterback of the future, to find the right offensive mind to ignite a sleeping giant, to teach the franchise how to consistently finish close games, to unlock a meaningful pass rush.

Belichick’s experience and football mind might better fit a franchise like the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, teams with solutions at quarterback and more completed rosters ready for meaningful contention. Even teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and Washington Commanders have better solutions at quarterback (Justin Herbert, a top-two draft pick) than Atlanta.

However, the Cowboys and Eagles still have coaches right now, and the Falcons might be the team most willing to give Belichick whatever he wants. Firing Smith signaled in part that Blank wants to win as soon as possible, and hiring Belichick may present (in theory) the clearest path to do so. It could be a major gamble that pays off in a big way.

However, it might also be a real disaster, the Falcons landing an established coach whose strengths don’t really match with Atlanta’s biggest needs.

If Belichick is the one to finally bring a Super Bowl to Atlanta, it’d be one of the most fascinating full circles in league history. It’d be the coaching move of many offseasons.

If he’s yet another misstep for a franchise that’s had its fair shares of those in recent memory, it’d sting even more considering the history that Belichick would bring with him. No pressure, right?

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