Mike Smith became the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2008, and all Smith and the Falcons have done since then is build a talented team.
In 2008, Atlanta drafted quarterback Matt Ryan, tackle Sam Baker, and linebacker Curtis Lofton and also added free agent Michael Turner. Ryan was the 2008 offensive player of the year and has been to the Pro Bowl twice. In his four seasons with Atlanta, Lofton had 492 combined tackles, seven forced fumbles and three interceptions. Turner has rushed for over 6,000 yards, received All-Pro honors in 2008, and Pro Bowl honors twice.
In 2009 the team drafted William Moore who has had 203 combined tackles, five forced fumbles, and 11 interceptions. In 2010, Atlanta drafted Sean Weatherspoon who has contributed 252 combined tackles and two fumble recoveries. In 2011, Atlanta drafted Julio Jones who has already contributed 2,157 receiving yards, 18 touchdowns, and went to the Pro Bowl in 2012.
These players were in addition to the talent Atlanta already had when Smith showed up, players such as Roddy White, Stephen Nicholas, and John Abraham to name a few.
So with all this talent, Atlanta should be winning Super Bowl titles hand over fist, right? Unfortunately, despite Smith’s 56-24 regular season record as head coach, the Falcons are 1-4 in the playoffs under Smith, and haven’t seen the Super Bowl. In fact the team has not been to the Super Bowl since the 1998 season when they lost in Super Bowl XXXIII to the Denver Broncos.
In 2008, Atlanta finished the regular season with an 11-5 record and met the Arizona Cardinals in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Atlanta was leading the Cardinals 17-14 at the half but after being outscored 16-7 in the second half, the Falcons lost 30-24.
In 2010, the Falcons made the playoffs after finishing with a regular season record of 13-3, but were embarrassed in the divisional playoffs, losing to the Green Bay Packers 48-21.
In 2011, the Falcons made the playoffs as a wild-card team, but again were embarrassed in the playoffs losing to the New York Giants 24-2.
In 2012, Atlanta had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, which helped the Falcons achieve a 13-3 record, but in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, the Falcons blew a 24-14 halftime lead, and were shutout in the second half to lose the game 28-24.
Smith currently has the highest regular season winning percentage and has coached in the third most number of regular season games in franchise history, but like three other former Atlanta Falcons coaches has only one playoff win. It is nuts and unfair to Falcons fans that Smith and the Falcons fall apart so hard when the post-season starts. What is Smith doing or not doing that prevents Atlanta from post-season success?
This league is about what have you done for me lately, and since Smith and the talented Falcons cannot win in the postseason, changes will be made in the 2014 off-season, starting with the firing of Smith.