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List of Atlanta Falcons head coaches

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dan Quinn is the current head coach of the Falcons.
Dan Quinn is the current head coach of the Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons are an American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are members of the South division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1966 and have compiled an all-time record of 337 wins, 436 loses, and 6 ties. The team has won the NFC West championship twice in 1980 and 1998 and the NFC South championship 4 times in 2004, 2010, 2012 and 2016. The Falcons have appeared in two Super Bowls, losing both times; their first appearance was in Super Bowl XXXIII, with the Falcons falling to the Denver Broncos 19–34, and the second was in Super Bowl LI, where the Falcons fell to the New England Patriots 28–34 in overtime. [1]

There have been 16 head coaches for the Falcons franchise, 12 serving full-time. Current head coach Dan Quinn holds the best winning percentage at .604 in the regular season, while Mike Smith has won the most games and was the longest tenured head coach, with a 66–46 regular season record. Under Smith's leadership, the team attained consecutive winning seasons (11–5 in 2008 and 9–7 in 2009), consecutive playoff appearances (2010 and 2011), and consecutive seasons with 10 wins or more (also in 2010 and 2011) for the first time in franchise history. Also, Smith is the only Falcons coach to win 2 divisional titles (NFC South, 2010 and 2012).

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  • ✪ Bobby Petrino failed the Atlanta Falcons in every way | The Worst NFL Coaching Hire
  • ✪ The worst NFL coaching decision was so bad, a turnover would've been better
  • ✪ Falcons sit down with Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban
  • ✪ Welcome to Atlanta, Coach Quinn
  • ✪ Top 10 Packers Head Coach Candidates To Replace Mike McCarthy In 2019


- [Narrator] The NFL has long been littered with bad coaches. Some don't get too much time to turn things around while others get way too much time and still can't pull it off. But there has been no coaching hire in the NFL as terrible as the one man who burned every bridge in sight, signed 20 years worth of contracts in 18 months, and slinked off into the night well before the season ended. This is The Worst NFL Coaching Hire. September 30th, 2007, the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Week four of the NFL season saw the Falcons host the Screwston Texans. Thanks to two touchdown passes from Joey Harrington to Michael Jenkins, Atlanta came out with their first win of the season. This was also head coach Bobby Petrino's first career win in the big leagues. And after everything it took to get here, you might think he deserved to soak it in. This Falcons team had been through just a bit. A little over a year ago, then led by Jim Moore Jr., Atlanta came out of the gates hot, starting 5-2 before stumbling through the second half of the season. Michael Vick rushed for over a thousand yards, but his passing left much to be desired. On top of that, Moore took a gargantuan misstep when he admitted he would take the University of Washington job if it was offered. This was said with three games remaining in the 2006 season while the Falcons were still in the playoff hunt. They lost all three, missed the playoffs, and Moore was fired on New Year's Day. 24 hours later, Bobby Petrino led the Louisville Cardinals past Wake Forest to take home the Orange Bowl and finished a very impressed 12-1. He had rewarded the university that less than six months earlier gifted him a 10-year $25.6 million contract. Luckily, the ever forward-thinking Petrino remembered to include a $1 million buyout clause just in case someone else came calling. And wouldn't you know it? A week after the Orange Bowl, Petrino fled Kentucky when the Falcons announced him as their new head coach. Sure, he voided nine years with $24 million remaining, but the Falcons were giving him that same amount over five years, so he'd be fine. They were willing to throw so much money at a guy who was unproven as an NFL head coach, because he did have a knack when it came to bringing out the best of a quarterback. And they greatly needed someone to do that for Vick. Despite some mixed reactions from the media, a pissed-off University of Louisville, and, ah (bleep) it, just copious negativity in Atlanta, the Falcons were actually optimistic. A couple weeks following the hire, Michael Vick was detained at an airport for having a water bottle that smelled like weed. When the coach met his franchise QB for the first time, shortly after the incident, Petrino and Vick talked about family, football, and avoided the topic altogether. You know, like a cool coach does. Don't dwell on mistakes that are teachable moments where you can hold a star player accountable. Just flip the chair around and rap about the good times to come. The team had so much faith in this duo that they decided to trade the only other capable quarterback on their roster, Matt Schaub. Now, that's a pretty big vote of confidence, but also some fantastic foreshadowing. Jumping ahead one month and police had obtained a search warrant for Michael Vick's home in relation to a drug investigation centered around Vick's cousin. What they uncovered was much, much worse. And would lead to Vick being banned by the NfL from having anything to do with the Falcons. But Bobby Petrino didn't miss a step. He assembled a quarterback room of Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, and Chris Redman. A trio that combined for 19 touchdowns and 20 interceptions the season before. What could go wrong? Well for starters, Petrino never adjusted his coaching style from college to pros. He rolled into a locker room with some incredible players and quickly lost their respect. Talking to Graham Bensinger, Blank revealed how vocal players were about this. - I remember after we hired Coach Petrino. I got calls from two or three of our more experienced players within 60 days. And basically said to me, "Hello, do you know "what you've done?" (laughs) - [Narrator] Regardless, the games had to be played. Or like they had to be physically present for the games. The Falcons dropped the first three of the 2007 season with Harrington playing more erratically than Vick had. And when Petrino decided to make a QB change, Harrington allegedly found out about the demotion from the media instead of his coach. After all that, the Falcons sat 3-9 heading into a Monday night matchup with the Saints. Arthur Blank received a surprise phone call from Jerry Jones, the Cowboy's owner/GM/crypt-keeper was checkin' if it would be alright for his alma mater, the Arkansas Razorbacks to contact Petrino about becoming their head coach. Blank said he had no intention of that happening and GM Rich McKay doubled down on that in follow-up calls with Jones. Falcons leadership then met with Petrino, who took the time to air some of his concerns. But everyone walked away satisfied when Petrino shook Blank's hand and said, "You have a head coach." He then went and got shellacked 34-14 by the Saints. Now, everyone has their own way to get over a loss. Players spent the next day away from the facilities, gathered their thoughts to focus on finishing the tough season, and well, Petrino went and did this. - It is a tremendous honor for me to be named the 30th head football coach here at the University of Arkansas. - [Narrator] 24 hours after letting Blank know that he had a head coach, Petrino agreed to a five-year deal worth nearly $3 million per year with Arkansas. Now technically, he didn't lie. As the Falcons promoted defensive coach Emmitt Thomas to interim head coach. But technicalities won't get anyone out of this much bullshit. Most players had seen video of Petrino being named Arkansas coach the night before, but when they got back to their locker room on Wednesday, they were greeted by a four-sentence note in each of their lockers. It mentioned respect and having a heavy heart, but the kicker is the line, "While my desire would have been "to finish out what has been a difficult season "for us all, circumstances did not allow me to do so." Lawyer Milloy summed up the locker room feelings with a slight tweak to the letter. The man who had preached family and faith and fighting for one another just slipped out during the night. Players weren't necessarily upset about him leaving, because they knew better than anyone how bad of a coach he was. But the way he did it sure didn't sit right with anyone. All the veterans sounded off on how trash of a move this was, but the highlight goes to Mike Zimmer, the defensive coordinator Petrino lured over from Dallas. Nearly three years after the debacle, Zimmer responded a question about his former coach saying, "He's a gutless bastard. "Quote that. "I don't give a shit." Thankfully, reporters reminded him that they might not be able to use the word "bastard." So Zimmer said, "How about this, gutless motherf***er." Petrino didn't bother giving any of his assistants a head's up that he'd be leaving. "Just came in and said he resigned. "He would talk to us all at a later date, "walked out of the office, and no one has ever talked "to him since. "Not that anybody wanted to." Zimmer more eloquently pointed out the real reason hires like this hurt. Reminding everyone that Petrino "ruined a bunch of people's lives, "a bunch of people's families, kids, "because he didn't have enough nuts to stay here "and finish the job." The Falcons managed to quickly put 2007 behind them and pulled off an 11-5 record the very next year making the playoffs. As for Petrino, well, karma proved to come in flashy ways. He has never looked better than during this press conference. And finally, a team got the chance to fire him before he could jump ship. As head coach, he has put together a solid number of impressive teams and earned a good amount of money in the process. He's also spent a good amount of that money on gasoline in order to burn every bridge he can. Just remember, there's more than the record that makes a coach. Previous actions make it easier to smell bullshit. And when in doubt, don't trust a grown ass man who insists you call him Bobby.



# Number of coaches[N 1]
Yrs Years coached
First First season coached
Last Last season coached
GC Games Coached
W Wins
L Loses
T Ties
Win% Win – Loss percentage
00 Elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player
00* Spent entire NFL head coaching career with the Falcons


Note: Statistics are correct the end of the 2018 NFL season.

# Name Term[N 2] Regular season Playoffs Accomplishments Ref.
Yrs First Last GC W L T Win% GC W L
1 Norb Hecker* 3 1966 1968[N 3] 31 4 26 1 .133 [2]
2 Norm Van Brocklin 7 1968[N 3] 1974[N 4] 89 37 49 3 .430 [3]
3 Marion Campbell[N 5] 3 1974[N 4] 1976[N 6] 25 6 19 0 .240 [4]
4 Pat Peppler* 1 1976[N 6] 9 3 6 0 .333 [5]
5 Leeman Bennett 6 1977 1982 87 46 41 0 .529 4 1 3 1 NFC West Championship (1978)
3 Playoff Berths
2 UPI NFL Coach of the Year Awards (1977, 1980)
6 Dan Henning 4 1983 1986 64 22 41 1 .352 [7]
Marion Campbell[N 5] 3 1987 1989[N 7] 43 11 32 0 .256 [4]
7 Jim Hanifan 1 1989[N 7] 4 0 4 0 .000 [8]
8 Jerry Glanville 4 1990 1993 64 27 37 0 .422 2 1 1 [9]
9 June Jones 3 1994 1996 48 19 29 0 .396 1 0 1 [10]
10 Dan Reeves 7 1997 2003[N 8] 109 49 59 1 .454 5 3 2 1 NFC Championship (1998)
1 NFC South Championship (1998)
2 Playoff Berths
1 AP NFL Coach of the Year Award (1998)
11 Wade Phillips 1 2003[N 8] 3 2 1 0 .667 [12]
12 Jim L. Mora 3 2004 2006 48 26 22 0 .542 2 1 1 1 NFC South Championship (2004)
1 Playoff Berth
13 Bobby Petrino* 1 2007[N 9] 13 3 10 0 .231 [14]
14 Emmitt Thomas 1 2007[N 9] 3 1 2 0 .333 [15]
15 Mike Smith* 7 2008 2014 112 66 46 0 .589 5 1 4 2 NFC South Championships (2010, 2012)
4 Playoff Berths
1 AP NFL Coach of the Year Award (2008)[16]
16 Dan Quinn* 4 2015 present 64 36 28 0 .563 5 3 2 1 NFC Championship (2016)
1 NFC South Championship (2016)
2 Playoff Berths


  1. ^ A running total of the number of coaches of the Falcons. Thus, any coach who has two or more separate terms as head coach is only counted once.
  2. ^ Each year is linked to an article about that particular NFL season.
  3. ^ a b When Atlanta began the 1968 NFL season by dropping their first three games, Hecker was fired on October 1 and replaced by former Viking head coach Norm Van Brocklin.
  4. ^ a b After winning just two of his first eight games in 1974, Van Brocklin was fired. He was replaced by defensive coordinator Campbell on an interim basis.
  5. ^ a b Marion Campbell's full coaching record with the Falcons is 68 regular season games coached with a record of 17–51 (.250)
  6. ^ a b After a 1-4 start to the season, head coach Marion Campbell was fired by general manager Pat Peppler, who himself would close out the season as the interim head coach and finish the season with a 3-6 record.
  7. ^ a b Marion Campbell retired after the twelfth game of the season and replaced by offensive line coach, Jim Hanifan, on an interim basis.
  8. ^ a b After losing seven straight games, Dan Reeves was let go by Falcons management, and Wade Phillps took over for the rest of the season.
  9. ^ a b Petrino resigned just 13 games into the season to coach Arkansas. He was replaced by defensive backs coach Thomas on an interim basis.


  1. ^ "Atlanta Falcons". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  2. ^ "Norb Hecker Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  3. ^ "Norm Van Brocklin Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  4. ^ a b "Marion Campbell Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  5. ^ "Pat Peppler Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  6. ^ "Leeman Bennett Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  7. ^ "Dan Henning Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  8. ^ "Jim Hanifan Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  9. ^ "Jerry Glanville Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  10. ^ "June Jones Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  11. ^ "Dan Reeves Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  12. ^ "Wade Phillips Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  13. ^ "Jim Mora Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  14. ^ "Bobby Petrino Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  15. ^ "Emmitt Thomas Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  16. ^ "Falcons' Smith voted as coach of year". Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  17. ^ "Mike Smith Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.
  18. ^ "Dan Quinn Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference LLC.

This page was last edited on 9 January 2019, at 07:49
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