Falcons sign Mike Smith to 3-year contract extension

Falcons coach Mike Smith celebrates after Atlanta defeated the 49ers. But San Francisco coach Mike Singletary would not shake his hand. Johnny Crawford / jcrawford@ajc.com

Falcons coach Mike Smith celebrates after Atlanta defeated the 49ers. But San Francisco coach Mike Singletary would not shake his hand. Johnny Crawford / jcrawford@ajc.com

Falcons coach Mike Smith signed a three-year contract extension on Thursday, the team announced.

There had not been any in-season discussions about an extension for Smith, but the team made the contract extension the first order of business for the offseason.

“I am looking forward to continuing to build upon the solid foundation we have in place within our organization and on our football team,” Smith said in a statement released by the team.  “I’d like to personally thank both (owner) Arthur (Blank) and (general manager) Thomas Dimitroff for their outstanding support and guidance.  We are going to continue to work as hard as we can to bring a championship to Falcons fans and to the city of Atlanta.”

Smith has guided the Falcons to a 33-17 record in three seasons and has made two trips to the playoffs. The Falcons never had three consecutive winning seasons since being founded in 1966.

The Falcons won the NFC South title last season with a 13-3 record. They entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but were upset 48-21 by the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.

Smith originally signed a four-year contract that was worth between $8 to $10 million.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

New England’s Bill Belichick ($7.5 million annually), Washington’s Mike Shanahan ($7 million) and Seattle’s Pete Carroll ($7 million) are the league’s top-paid head coaches, according to Forbes Magazine.

“When we hired Mike Smith in 2008, we believed we had found the total package:  a head coach with strong leadership skills and experience and the track record to back it up, and a man of high character and integrity,”   Blank said.   “In his three seasons with us, Coach Smith has demonstrated all of these characteristics, and then some.

“We are pleased to extend Smitty’s contract, and we are very proud of the way he represents the Falcons through his coaching of our players, in supporting our club’s business goals, and through his caring for our fans and the community.”

Last season,  Atlanta had a league-high nine players named to the 2010 Pro Bowl.

Smith’s emphasis on being a balanced team also led to the Falcons being the only team in the NFL this past season to rank in the top five in both scoring offense (25.9 ppg) and scoring defense (18.0 ppg).

Smith was named NFL coach of the year by The Sporting News in 2008 and 2010.

Following the 2008 season, Smith earned Associated Press NFL coach of the year honors.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter

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76 comments Add your comment

Pepe

February 3rd, 2011
10:48 am

That’s what she said…

Peter

February 3rd, 2011
11:05 am

Great Move by Management…Thank you !

GoooDawgs

February 3rd, 2011
11:12 am

Jeff Fisher is no longer one of the highest paid head coaches – Mularkey is interviewing the job today.

Ossie

February 3rd, 2011
11:13 am

Now let’s get a proven DE to complement Abraham

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 3rd, 2011
11:20 am

GoooDawgs — Jeff Fisher has left the building (and story)!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc sports editor, Wise_Diva, AHL, III, D. Orlando Ledbetter, Toasted Foot and others. Toasted Foot said: RT @ajcsportseditor: #Falcons give Mike Smith 3-year extension http://bit.ly/gVfHnG [...]

Bobby P

February 3rd, 2011
11:22 am

ZERO, I repeat ZERO, chance Blank will honor this contract! Mark my words, when his record continues to slide each year, he will be un-ceremoniously let go.

The Real Falcon

February 3rd, 2011
11:22 am

Right move!
Ossie is right as well!

Head-Mo-Fo

February 3rd, 2011
11:23 am

Three years is not a ringing endorsement.

I am excited we are a winning franchise and now respected (somewhat) around the league. Make no mistake about it, Arthur Blank is more concerned about building a new stadium hosting the another Super Bowl in Atlanta and bringing the Lombardi Trophy to our great city. Smitty has an extension but he is still on the hot seat… Many fans and Arthur Blank included are still smarting from an early playoff exit.

The Real Falcon

February 3rd, 2011
11:25 am

What is Bobby Petrino on this blog. Shouln’t he be singin’ Soowie?

The Real Falcon

February 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

Anyone who thinks that a coach on the hot seat gets a three year extension is on crack!

Rikus

February 3rd, 2011
11:31 am

How foolish and fickle some fans are! If his “record continues to slide?” How is 13-4 a slide? Mike Smith is a great football coach, and he is building a contender from scratch. Be patient, fellow fans! Matty Ice will only get better.

washedup

February 3rd, 2011
11:31 am

On the hot seat? What a foolish thing to say about this coach.

LOLHOTSEAT

February 3rd, 2011
11:33 am

hahahaha hot seat? Come on. He’s signed on for 4 more years, that is a lifetime in the NFL. I would have been more concerned if it were a longer extension. If things continue to progress in 3 more years Smitty will get another extension.

He is a great coach. He will bring us a Super Bowl and be known as the greatest Falcons coach of all time. Mark my words.

FalconsFan284

February 3rd, 2011
11:40 am

Bobby P—–How, exactly, has Coach’s record continued to slide? I mean with marks of 11-5, 9-7 in an injury ravaged year and 13-3 this season it just looks like a consistent winner to me. Maybe you want us to bring in someone like Jim Mora Jr. again and see if he can’t lead us to a couple of 2-6 records at the end of the season?

Base

February 3rd, 2011
11:41 am

He will be fired after next year! We have seen his best and he can’t get through the playoffs. The Falcons are a joke!

PMC

February 3rd, 2011
11:44 am

Thanks Coach Smith, Thanks for your hard work, Thanks for your diligence, Thanks for not being clownish. Thanks for giving us some moments of pride and some sustained success. Keep it up!

extremus

February 3rd, 2011
11:45 am

Glad to see the best coach (to date record-wise) in Falcons history get rewarded and more importantly locked down for at least a few more years. Mike Smith came in with almost no fanfare or fan recognition, but everyone knows who he is now.

What's Important

February 3rd, 2011
11:45 am

Why are you blocking my comments. There is absolutely nothing offensive about them.

Steve

February 3rd, 2011
11:46 am

Sounds like Blank is giving him 3 years to win a Superbowl or else……

PMC

February 3rd, 2011
11:47 am

He started with a reasonable 4 year deal. It’s been extended to another 4 year deal. Don’t read that much into it. It is silly for teams to get into deals with anyone past 4 years. Players or Coaches.

Greg Moundine

February 3rd, 2011
11:48 am

Congrat Coach!

MF

February 3rd, 2011
11:49 am

Let’s get some playoff wins!
Go Falcons!

Runnin With The Dawgs

February 3rd, 2011
11:50 am

Mike Smith can take us to the next level, but he can’t do it by himself. Are BVG and MM the right guys? Yes! No! I could argue both sides of that. The front office has to spend the money to get there. They made the first good move by extending Smith’s contract. They’ve got to make some more good moves to move up.

Reid Adair

February 3rd, 2011
11:52 am

Great news. Coach Smith and his staff have definitely built a solid foundation for the Falcons.

Toinuhfish

February 3rd, 2011
11:53 am

hey Base, you must not be a long time fan. I have witnessed the Falcon’s as jokes and they are jokes no more….thanks for a the positive support.

Ron "CHOKE" Mexico

February 3rd, 2011
11:53 am

BobbyP – don’t let facts get in the way of your stupid posts.

Ron "CHOKE" Mexico

February 3rd, 2011
11:55 am

Base,
when Smith took over they picked 3rd in the draft, this year they pick 27th, so if they are a joke, I guess 26 other teams are a bigger joke.

Kane337

February 3rd, 2011
11:56 am

I love our coach. Congrats on the extension. Now let’s win a championship.

[...] the unadorned nickname is so pervasive that Arthur Blank invokes it in the third paragraph of the team’s official release regarding Smith’s contract extension — the amiably woozy air of a guy who can’t believe he has gotten this [...]

Todd

February 3rd, 2011
12:12 pm

Smith has done a great job with the Falcons and here is why: If I would have told you at the time that the weasel Petrino left that we were bringing in a coach who would go 11-5, 9-7, and 13-3 and make the playoffs 2 of those years you would have signed on in a heartbeat. Anyone who would not is an idiot. Case closed.

[...] [AJC.com] [...]

Matt

February 3rd, 2011
12:15 pm

No surprise but nice to see this get done. The Falcons probably overachieved last year; they got a few good breaks & the defense is not yet championship caliber. I like the way this team is progressing and look forward to the next few seasons.

Falcon James

February 3rd, 2011
12:22 pm

I agree. this is not a surprise. I am very happy to see it done. Coach Smith has been the rock and corner stone. Best coach since Don Shula.

Great Falconi

February 3rd, 2011
12:24 pm

Matt,

Good teams get the “breaks” and win the close ones.

However, they have steadily improved & will continue to improve with the current GM & Headcoach.

Thank you, Mr. Blank !

Thank you Bill Parcells for passing up the Falcons’ job for the Dolphins’ job.

MaxxFalcon

February 3rd, 2011
12:24 pm

Matt- Well said.

In The Know

February 3rd, 2011
12:42 pm

I am amazed at how some of these posters show their ignorance. Mike Smith has brought more good things to the Atlanta Falcons than anyone before him. Arthur Blank hired him, and has done more in a few years of ownership than Rankin Smith or his sons did in 35 years of pitiful effort.
Now, we need to keep Mularkey if possible, and VanGorder. This team is right there, and with a player or two and a little more experience at winning, a Super Bowl beckons. I hope it is next year for Gonzalez sake. What a great way to go out. He’s not coming back for another year to lose.

Rod Paradise

February 3rd, 2011
1:04 pm

Thanks management. Mike Smith is an awesome coach. I think his desire to win and to win Superbowls is undeniable. Outstanding coach and the best move to make.

AHNALD

February 3rd, 2011
1:06 pm

Agree with Bobby P 1000 %…means nothing… ( hope I am wrong ) .if next year is 8-8 , followed by slow start the next season, see ya

realitycheck

February 3rd, 2011
1:07 pm

Great Falconi…..This team needs better players to continue improving or the ceiling will have already been reached. I fully expect a decline next season from 13-3 especially considering the NFC North will replace the NFC West on the schedule. The Falcons blew as good a chance as they’ll likely have for a very long time with that Green Bay debacle. Keep thinking this team will get better and better if you like, but it’s highly unlikely that’s going to happen.

Ivan

February 3rd, 2011
1:11 pm

Thank you, Mike Smith.

[...] guided the Falcons to a 33-15 record in three years as head coach, was just given a well-deserved three-year contract extension. Don’t be surprised if Dimitroff were given a new deal as well, which would be smart on Blank’s [...]

take it from me.

February 3rd, 2011
1:42 pm

how come the tuna didn’t take this head coach job here? Because the falcons are not focus on winning a superbowl,and thats what hes about,winning championships! The falcons don’t want to spend the money on FA to put the team over the top,and thats what happens to small market teams, with one of the lowest payrolls in the league,you only get what you pay for

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 3rd, 2011
1:49 pm

Bobby P is drinking that Pig Juice.

Ron "CHOKE" Mexico

February 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

take it from me,

you’re right, the tuna really stink up Miami, how’d they do over the last 3 years? hey but don’t let facts stand in the way of your delusional comments

take it from me.

February 3rd, 2011
2:22 pm

Hey choke Mexico—-i was just useing the tuna as an examble! it don’t matter who coach’es this team,untill the falcons putt top notch FA one the field with the players aquired in the draft, it an’t gone happen.i think Mike Smith is probally the best coach the falcons have ever had,but will the Falcons give him what he needs to win a championship?we will find out in the next three years,cause it sure hasn’t happen in the 44 years i have been a fan.

SirReal

February 3rd, 2011
2:28 pm

Coach Smith is on the hot seat?!!!!LOL LOL Whoever said that must be drunk.lol Now, Smitty wasnt the guy I wanted to bring in. I wanted Rex Ryan but i should have known he’d be too brash for the likes of boy scout Blank and Co.lol But over the last 3 seasons, I’ve come to respect Mike Smith not only as a coach but as a man. He’s the only coach in the league who DOESNT have an agent. He’s about as close to an everyday guy (as far as the whole realm of football goes) as we’re gonna see every sunday. Im glad he brokered his OWN extension. Kudos to Coach Smith….now it may be time to look at his coordinators. They are good but not next level-over the top good.

Dirty South Steelers Fan

February 3rd, 2011
3:02 pm

I think this is a very good job on the Falcons part. Finding a good head coach in the NFL right now is a very hard thing to do. Just ask the Raiders, Browns, Redskins and Cowboy fans! Mike is a winner and the Falcons will continue to only get better! They just need to learn how to execute in a playoff game!

Dirty South Steelers Fan

February 3rd, 2011
3:03 pm

Bobby P would be too scared to come on to this blog. The guy has no nuts plus he’s a loser!!!!!!

opie

February 3rd, 2011
3:21 pm

Dled what happened to true journalism? You constantly remove or delete opinions that are not fovorable to your post whether they are reasonable, non racist, objective opinions about them team. The last time I checked reporters are taught to report all of the views. Just because Mike Smith gives you favorable interviews does not entitle you to force your views on all falcon fans!