As a phenomenal show of confidence after a miserable 2013 NFL campaign that saw the Atlanta Falcons go 4-12, the franchise has extended the contracts of CEO and president Rich McKay, head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
The Falcons announced the news on the team's official website Monday, Jan. 27:
The Atlanta Falcons today announced that club President & CEO Rich McKay, General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and Head Coach Mike Smith have signed extensions of their contracts. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
McKay signed a four-year extension that will keep him with the club through 2019, while Smith and Dimitroff both signed one-year extensions.
The head coach and general manager both began their tenures with the Falcons at the start of the 2008 NFL season. They took over the organization at a low point after three precipitously poor campaigns from 2005 to 2007 saw the franchise post a cumulative record of 19-29.
Since the duo has been in charge, Atlanta's regular-season record is 60-36, and the Falcons have reached the postseason in four of the six seasons under their leadership.
Injuries to many key starters derailed the team's 2013 campaign, which quickly spiraled out of control. However, the extensions to these key leaders clearly shows the organization is pleased with the overall performance of Smith, Dimitroff and McKay.
Owner Arthur Blank spoke to this point, via the team's report:
We are fortunate to have talented key leaders at the Falcons who are dedicated to a common goal of being a league leader on and off the field. I have great respect for the skills and commitment of Rich, Thomas and Smitty, and I look forward to continuing to support and work with them in the years to come.
This big move comes on the heels of the franchise's decision to extend defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, as first reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.
The Falcons are just one year removed from reaching the NFC Championship Game in 2013. This team will once again be a viable postseason threat in 2014, provided its key stars remain healthy.
That said, it's not a given that Atlanta will easily win 10-plus games, warns Marc Sessler of NFL.com:
The Falcons still have plenty of talent on an offense that includes quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones, but the loss of Tony Gonzalez and problems along the offensive line suggest Atlanta is no sure bet to rebound to double-digit wins. Especially with a defense lacking difference-makers at every level.
Keeping the coaching staff and front office in place will certainly help the team bounce back from its poor campaign in a hurry. Continuity is a valuable commodity in the NFL, and the Falcons will once again be a major force in the NFC next season.
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