Arthur Blank: Falcons ’N-E-V-E-R’ offered Bill Belichick the head coaching job

Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

LAS VEGAS — Falcons owner Arthur Blank made clear Friday that Raheem Morris was the organization’s top selection to be the head coach.

“It was never (offered to Bill Belichick), capital N-E-V-E-R. Bill would tell you this, I would tell you this,” Blank said on a virtual call. “My dogs who were probably listening during the second meeting would say the same thing. He was never offered the job.”

Morris accepted the job Jan. 25 and was introduced as the new coach Feb. 5, 11 days later.

Belichick, Morris, Ejiro Evero and Bobby Slowik were the only candidates interviewed twice for the job of head coach, which was vacant after Arthur Smith was fired. The Falcons interviewed 14 candidates.

“Let me say this and make it absolutely clear, there were 14 candidates,” Blank said. “It was not any one candidate. ... Each were competing against each other. We selected the one that we thought for a whole variety of reasons was the best choice for us.”

Belichick has won six Super Bowls, while Morris has a losing record as a head coach.

“I do want to make it 1,000 percent clear,” Blank said. “I want to go to 2,000 percent or 100,000 percent, whatever percent you want to use. Bill Belichick never asked, in our discussions, for full control of personnel, the building or anything of that nature.”

Blank conducted the first interview one-on-one and the second one with the group.

“He was very inclusive,” Blank said. “Very collaborative. He met with Terry Fontenot. He checked out our people doing his own references. He sent me a private text that I eventually shared with Terry that he’d be happy working with him.”

Blank said he wanted to debunk some media reports that Belichick wanted full control of football operations.

“I want to be kind to the media,” Blank said. “I don’t say it to patronize Bill, but to be fair to him. He never had that as a requirement.”

Blank enjoyed his interviews with Belichick.

“I was impressed with him, as I was with a number of the candidates,” Blank said. “We just felt, all things considered for a variety of reasons, that Raheem Morris (clearly) was the best choice for us.”

Blank discussed the 11-day gap that fans had to wait to hear from the new coach and his vision.

“It wasn’t a question of too long or too short,” Blank said. “It was when it was convenient. Raheem lives in L.A. He’s got a big family. A lot of logistics. His first series of business was to hire coaches. ... He and our staff … they were working day and night recruiting and putting together a coaching staff.”

Blank didn’t attend the press conference as he was recovering from a minor medical issue.

“I ended up with a bump from a medical standpoint, but that didn’t impact anything,” Blank said. “They did the press conference very well without me. It was question of doing it correctly, not doing it quickly.”'

Morris was the Falcons’ interim head coach in 2020 and went 4-7. He interviewed for the position that went to Smith in January 2021.

What was different this time around?

“Raheem was with us for six years,” Blank said. “I would say during that period of time he worked on offense, defense, worked in variety of areas. On a scale of 1 to 10, being a cultural leader, being somebody who defines leadership in coaches, players, people throughout the building, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say he’s a 20. Today, he’s still a 20. That hasn’t changed.”

Morris went on to become the Rams’ defensive coordinator for the past three years.

“But I did see change,” Blank said. “I think the three years he had in L.A., he worked with a different coaching environment. A different kind of setup that (coach) Sean McVay operates differently that a lot of other coaches do in their coaching scheme and how it’s set up and they promote from within and just move coaches around in a much more lateral way.

“It was a learning experience for him. I think that what Sean McVay and (general manager) Les Snead have … is very, very close. I think it was true definition of what a collaborative relationship is. One of the things that Raheem said during his press conference, which I thought was right on … if you really have a great relationship, you can almost speak without having to use words.”

The Bow Tie Chronicles

Atlanta Falcons new head football coach Raheem Morris smiles as he speaks to members of the media during his introductory press conference at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Monday, February 5, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /


icon to expand image


New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick against the Denver Broncos of an NFL football game Sunday December 24, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Bart Young)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP