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Falcons pass on Bill Belichick as head coach, hire Raheem Morris instead

By Stew Davidson
January 26, 2024

The Atlanta Falcons have made a decisive move in their coaching ranks, appointing Raheem Morris as the new head coach, bypassing Bill Belichick.

This significant change comes after a detailed and extensive search process, during which the Falcons engaged in discussions with several potential candidates, including Belichick.

The hiring of Morris marks a new chapter for the Falcons, one that the team and its fans hope will usher in an era of success and strong leadership, as Fox News reported.

As the Falcons navigated through their selection process, the decision to hire Morris emerged as a reflection of the team's vision for the future.

This move is particularly significant given the context of Morris's previous tenure with the Falcons and his recent accomplishments with the Los Angeles Rams.

His return to Atlanta is seen as a homecoming of sorts, bringing back a familiar face with a proven track record to lead the team.

Morris's journey from Rams to Falcons

Morris's journey back to the Atlanta Falcons is marked by notable achievements and experiences that have shaped him into a well-rounded coach.

Since his initial stint with the Falcons, where he served in various roles from 2015-2020, Morris has further honed his coaching skills and strategic acumen.

His time as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, particularly the triumphant Super Bowl win in his first season there, stands out as a testament to his capabilities and potential as a head coach.

His appointment is a clear indication of the Falcons' confidence in his ability to steer the team forward. Morris's understanding of the game, combined with his recent experiences in Los Angeles, positions him as an ideal candidate to lead the Falcons into a new era. Team owner Arthur Blank highlighted this sentiment in his comments regarding Morris's hiring.

Arthur Blank's vision for the Falcons

In discussing the decision to hire Morris, Falcons owner Arthur Blank expressed his enthusiasm and confidence in Morris's ability to lead the team. Blank's vision for the Falcons is deeply rooted in a desire for success and innovation, qualities he sees embodied in Morris. His belief in Morris's leadership skills and his comprehensive perspective on the game were key factors in the decision-making process.

Blank's comments highlight the significance of Morris's time with the Rams and how it has contributed to his development as a coach. The experiences gained in Los Angeles, particularly working with an outstanding offensive staff and managing team operations, have equipped Morris with a more nuanced understanding of the game. These insights, according to Blank, have prepared Morris to handle the complexities of being a head coach in the NFL. Blank said:

This is a historic day for the Atlanta Falcons – after a comprehensive search we are thrilled to welcome Raheem Morris back to Atlanta as the team’s new head coach. His time in LA has given him an enhanced perspective on everything from personnel, team operations, game planning, working with an outstanding offensive staff and many other things that has helped him develop into an even more prepared coach in all aspects of the game.

Morris's hiring comes after much speculation regarding the Falcons' direction and leadership. Many observers had anticipated the possibility of Belichick, the now-former head coach of the New England Patriots, taking the helm. However, despite two interviews with Belichick, the Falcons ultimately opted for a different path. This decision underscores the Falcons' commitment to a specific vision for the team's future, one that Morris fits into seamlessly.

Belichick's candidacy and Falcons' decision

The Falcons' coaching search was a thorough process, involving multiple interviews with various candidates, including Bill Belichick. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on the nature of these interviews and the subsequent direction taken by the Falcons. His insights shed light on the team's approach to the selection process and their eventual decision to hire Morris.

Belichick's candidacy was a topic of much discussion among fans and analysts alike. The possibility of him leading the Falcons generated considerable interest, given his reputation and track record in the NFL. However, the Falcons' decision to explore other options and conduct further interviews with various candidates indicated a different preference for the head coach position.

Adam Schefter from ESPN explained:

They interviewed him for a second time last Friday in person. Since then, the Falcons have paraded through a series of candidates for second interviews and other interviews and scheduled more talks with other candidates. That doesn’t sound like a team that’s ready to make a move on Bill Belichick.

The Falcons' thorough and methodical approach to their coaching search reflects their commitment to finding the right fit for the team. The decision to hire Morris, rather than pursue a high-profile candidate like Belichick, speaks to their confidence in Morris's abilities and their vision for the team's future.

Morris's second NFL head coaching role

Morris's appointment as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons marks his second tenure in such a role in the NFL.

His previous head coaching experience with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 to 2011 provided him with valuable insights and lessons that have undoubtedly shaped his approach to coaching. This prior experience, combined with his more recent successes with the Rams, makes Morris a well-rounded and seasoned candidate for the Falcons' head coaching position.

The Falcons' decision to hire Morris over Belichick is a bold move, reflecting their belief in Morris's ability to lead the team to success. With Morris at the helm, the Falcons are poised to embark on a new journey, one that they hope will lead to triumphs and achievements in the seasons to come.