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Arthur Smith Left His Job Red And Mad

Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith reacts following the conclusion of the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Atlanta Falcons on December 24th, 2023 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arthur Smith is one of those rare people who looks exactly like what he is: a chinless billionaire's son who managed to get himself a prestigious job he probably didn't deserve. In this case, the job was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Smith was fired from that job Monday morning, after leading the Falcons to a third straight 7-10 season, but not before doing one last thing that perfectly encapsulated his tenure.

Smith's Falcons got waxed by the New Orleans Saints in their last game of the season, which ended 48-17 after the Saints decided to forego kneeling out the last 1:13 of the game and instead handed the ball to veteran Jamaal Williams so he could punch the ball in for his first touchdown of the year. This was extremely funny for a few reasons, the first being that the Saints on the field went rogue and decided to get Williams a touchdown against the wishes of head coach Dennis Allen. He explained after the game that the players had lobbied for him to call a play for Williams, but that he overruled them and called for backup QB Jameis Winston to kneel the ball. The players just ignored him, lining up in a kneel-down formation before ambushing the Falcons with a run play.

"We put victory [formation] out there, and guys kind of wanted to get him a touchdown. They did that on their own, and that's unacceptable," Allen said to reporters after the game. "Honestly I'm not sure exactly what was going on behind that, other than they wanted him to score a touchdown."

The other thing that was funny about this is that it made Smith really, really mad. As soon as the final whistle blew, he stormed out to midfield and screamed at Allen, who was helplessly trying to explain that the whole thing wasn't his idea.

Smith stayed mad after the game. "They can do whatever they want. It is what it is. Hats off to them. They kicked our you-know-what in the second half, made us pay, took advantage of turnovers. That's their prerogative," he told reporters during his press conference. "It's also my prerogative to tell him how I feel. Whether people like that or not, oh well. Like I said, credit to them, they do whatever they want."

Smith's firing was confirmed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank just after midnight, which means that Smith spent what will likely be his last few hours as an NFL head coach having to process feelings of humiliation brought on by Jameis Winston and Jamaal Williams. That's a nice thought to hold onto, given how rarely we get to see a billionaire's son actually suffer any consequences for their mediocrity.

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