Tag:Atlanta Falcons
Posted on: March 9, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 2:41 pm

Thomas Dimitroff gets multi-year extension

Posted by Will Brinson

The Atlanta Falcons continued locking up their highly successful front office on Wednesday, as they announced that GM Thomas Dimitroff received a multi-year extension.

It had been expected that the Falcons would try and lock up both Dimitroff and Mike Smith. They took care of the latter during Super Bowl week by handing Smith a three-year extension, and now they've got a formidable duo running the team for the foreseeable future.

"First, I would like to thank Mr. Blank for the confidence and support he has shown in me and in Coach Smith over the past three seasons," Dimitroff said. "I look forward to working with Smitty and his coaching staff as we continue our journey of bringing NFL championship caliber football to Falcons fans and to the city of Atlanta."

Terms -- and length -- of the deal weren't disclosed by the team, but it seems pretty logical that Dimitroff will be extended for the same length as Smith. Teams, sensibly, like to keep those working combinations together.

"This extension of Thomas' contract ensures that he and Coach (Mike) Smith, whose contract was extended last month, will be able to continue to work together on solidifying the long-term sustainability and success of our football team," Falcons owner & CEO Arthur M. Blank said. "Thomas has proven himself to be a highly-skilled and talented general manager of our club, and I look forward to the Falcons reaping the benefits of his work for many years to come."

Dimitroff and Smith did a remarkable job of turning the Falcons' franchise around following the departure of Bobby Petrino (and the incarceration of Michael Vick) and have built a pretty formidable base for the future. Blank wisely recognizes that and decided to lock both his architects in for a while.

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 9:49 pm

One step closer to a new Falcons stadium

If Arthur Blank has his way, Atlanta won't play inside the Georgia Dome after 2016 (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It looks like the Falcons are getting closer to the reality of calling a new open-air stadium home.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority “agreed to enter into a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the Falcons on plans for a potential $700 million open-air stadium downtown.”

This doesn’t mean a deal between the GWCCA and the Falcons is done. But it does allow them to begin negotiating over the details of the potential project.

As far as making improvements to the Georgia Dome – which opened a scant 19 years ago, mind you – the Falcons aren’t interested. They want an open-air stadium, and they’d like it now, please.

But the move Tuesday by the GWCCA was important, because it was the first time the organization had publicly committed to the future of the Falcons. The new stadium could be built by 2017, and it would sit about a half-mile north of where the Georgia Dome is located.

For Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the new stadium is much needed, because he’d like to sell more luxury suites and because it’s understood that in order for Atlanta to win another Super Bowl bid, it couldn’t use the Georgia Dome as a home.

From the story:

The plan would leave the Georgia Dome standing. GWCCA officials have argued that they would lose money if the facility, built in 1992, was torn down. Big tournaments such as the SEC football championship, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Men’s Final Four and ACC basketball championships have all played at the Dome because they prefer an enclosed stadium.

The state last year helped any potential agreement between the GWCCA and the Falcons clear its first hurdle when the General Assembly approved extending the bonds paying off the Dome. Those bonds, being paid off with hotel/motel tax collections, were to sunset in 2020, but will now end in 2050. …

Authority member Bob Prather said if the parties agree on a new stadium, the state or the GWCCA would go to the bond market probably in 2013 or 2014 when officials hope they can raise $350 million to $400 million. Construction would begin shortly after the bonds are secured.

The Falcons would kick in the remainder of the funds, the Authority said.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 9, 2011 8:34 am

Erik Coleman's Falcon tenure to end

Posted by Andy BenoitE. Coleman

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that the Atlanta Falcons plan on releasing safety Erik Coleman. This move comes as no surprise.

Coleman battled a knee injury early in the season. During his time on the shelf, ’09 second-round pick William Moore stepped in and played well enough to keep the job for the remainder of the season. Coleman became a scantly used backup during the second half of the year.

This isn’t the last you’ll hear of Coleman, though. At 28, he still has adequate range, and he’s always been one of the better openfield tackling defensive backs in the game. Coaches have also admired his veteran leadership. Best of all, he’s versatile enough to play either safety position.

The Falcons are only getting rid of him because he’s scheduled to count $3.125 million against the cap, which is too much for a backup safety. By cutting him, Atlanta is only on the hook for $625,000 (the prorated portion of his bonus money).

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 8, 2011 5:19 pm

Bon Jovi confirms interest in owning Falcons

Posted by Andy Benoit

If you haven’t heard, Jon Bon Jovi’s name has been floated as a possible minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons. Word is Bon Jovi could be ponying up $150 million to acquire a 15% share in the franchise. Arthur Blank, who is trying to raise revenue to construct a new stadium, would remain the club’s majority owner.

On Monday, the rocker confirmed the ESPN.com reports that he has been in negotiations with Blank, and he clarified his interest in purchasing the Falcons. Through spokeswoman Tiffany Shipp, Bon Jovi said, "Since helping to establish the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team -- from its inception through our 2008 championship season -- I have always made clear my desire to someday enter the NFL.”

Bon Jovi did not verify the financial details, though he did admit that talks have stalled at the moment. All in all, though, the feeling around the league and sports business community seems to be that this deal has genuine traction.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 10:24 am

2012 Super Bowl odds

Posted by Will Brinson

Well, the 2011 Super Bowl is over, and that means only one thing: time to get ready for 2012!

Okay, actually we've got a lot of housekeeping to do in between then, in terms of the combine, the Draft and this little labor situation, so perhaps that's getting a bit too far ahead of ourselves.

Still, if someone's willing to offer up 2012 Super Bowl odds (which Sportsbook.com is), then I'm willing to talk about them. The favorites:
New England -- 5:1
Green Bay -- 6:1
Pittsburgh -- 8:1
Baltimore -- 12:1
New York Jets -- 12:1
San Diego -- 12:1
Weird that Green Bay isn't favored? Um, yeah, it is. But New England was the top team in the regular season during 2010, they have a pile of draft picks and they'll likely bring everyone back.

Additionally, the Packers almost missed the playoffs, if you'll recall. (And not to rain on their parade, but can you imagine what their fans would be saying today if they hadn't made the postseason?)

The other weird thing: it's all AFC teams except Green Bay.

Oh yes, and the Chargers missed the playoffs last season. So there's that.

Don't forget that teams like the Pats and Jets are extremely popular with the public.

The next tier is interesting as well:
Atlanta -- 15:1
New York Giants -- 15:1
New Orleans -- 15:1
Philadelphia -- 15:1
Indianapolis -- 18:1
Dallas -- 18:1
Chicago -- 18:1
I can't remember the last time Peyton Manning wasn't in the top five for Super Bowl odds preseason, but I'd be willing to bet it's a long time ago.

Chicago's interesting because they're the only conference championship team that didn't get single-digit odds. Perhaps that says something about whether they can keep up their run from 2010.

Dallas, despite a terrible season, hops right back up into the top teams who are favorites. Again, the public likes Dallas, and they have tons of talent, so no one's going to get burnt by making them 30:1 or anything.

Philly's spot is a little low, I think, if only because of Michael Vick, and I might argue the same thing for a really good Atlanta team. But apparently the NFC is the second-best conference in 2011.

Just don't tell the Packers that right now.

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Posted on: February 4, 2011 6:47 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 7:59 pm

Gonzalez: 'I'd probably be done' if he had a ring

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- Tony Gonzalez has had an amazing career. He's the original modern-day prototype for the uber-athletic tight ends that are strewn across NFL rosters these days.

The one thing he hasn't accomplished, though, is winning a Super Bowl. "I'm just taking it one year at a time," Gonzalez told CBSSports.com. "I do anticipate next year being my last year.

"The way I look at it is, if I had a Super Bowl at this point, I'd probably be done. But that's really what's driving me -- it's not statistics, it's not records."

[More Super Bowl coverage]

It's kind of obvious that Gonzalez isn't stat-hogging, too -- if he simply cared about racking up receiving yards and whatnot, he'd have stuck with the Chiefs.

Since joining the Falcons, after all, he hasn't even topped 900 yards, but that's primarily because Mike Mularkey's scheme relies so heavily on the power run game and doesn't stretch the field with Gonzo the way the Chiefs did.

He has been a crucial third-down and red-zone target (six TDs in both his years with the Falcons, though, and age almost certainly has something to do with his decline in production.

Still, the Falcons shouldn't go anywhere in 2011, even in a tough NFC South, and given the talent base in Atlanta, it's entirely possible Gonzo could stick around for even longer.

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Posted on: February 3, 2011 11:06 am

Mike Smith gets 3-year extension from Falcons

Posted by Will Brinson

The Falcons announced on Thursday that they signed head coach Mike Smith to a three-year extension, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Smith, 33-17 in three years with the Falcons, has yet to win a postseason game, but he and GM Thomas Dimitroff's turnaround of Atlanta's franchise is nothing short of remarkable, and the extension is well deserved.

"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," Falcons Owner & CEO Arthur Blank said. "In his three seasons with us, Coach Smith has demonstrated all of these characteristics, and then some."

Smith won the AP Coach of the Year award in 2008, and the Sporting News Coach of the Year award in 2010.

"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. "I’d like to personally thank both Arthur 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."

It seems pretty likely that the Falcons will seek to extend Dimitroff as well -- it's been clear that ownership loves the direction of the franchise and locking the coach and GM into similar deals only serves to solidify Atlanta's future success.

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Posted on: January 30, 2011 9:47 pm

Report: Falcons want to extend Smith, Dimitroff

Posted by Will Brinson

2010 fizzled pretty badly for the Falcons, but all-in-all, it was a pretty darn good year for Atlanta's franchise. They built upon a young, talented foundation and secured the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs and appear ready to contend in the NFL for quite some time.

So the report from Jay Glazer of FOX Sports during the Pro Bowl that Atlanta's looking to lock up head coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff with long-term extensions makes a lot of sense.

It's easy to forget that before Smith and Dimitroff came into town, the Falcons hit rock bottom -- Michael Vick's prison sentence and the embarrassing escape of Bobby Petrino to Arkansas turned Arthur Blank's franchise from one of the most-watched to the least desirable in the NFL overnight.

Smith and Dimitroff somehow managed to fix the team overnight with the signing of Michael Turner, the trade for Tony Gonzalez and a drafting a superb class in 2008, the highlight of which was Matt Ryan.

They've got the Dirty Birds poised for long-term success and it makes perfect sense that Blank wants them around to reap the rewards of the foundation they built.

One more quick note on Smith -- he's the perfect example of a coach that fans aren't "excited" to see hired, because he lacks name value. But even though he might not be the flashiest coach, he's proven that sometimes name value doesn't always equal wins.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com