At one point in the NFL offseason, Bill Belichick appeared to be a shoo-in to replace Arthur Smith as Falcons head coach.

The future Pro Football Hall of Fame apparently thought he was in the driver’s seat in Atlanta, too.

Belichick went through a pair of lengthy interviews with the Falcons, and according to ESPN, he thought “he had done everything right” in order to land the job. But team owner Arthur Blank ultimately handed the keys over to Raheem Morris in a move that reportedly caught Belichick off guard.

“Even in Atlanta’s crowded field of 14 candidates, including former Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, 11 offensive and defensive coordinators and a defensive line coach, Belichick was confident he would be hired. No other candidate owned eight Super Bowl rings,” the ESPN report read.

Story continues below advertisement

“And then, like many fans, Belichick was blindsided by news that Atlanta had hired Morris, the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator who had worked for six years as an assistant coach and coordinator in Atlanta.”

Belichick might have been the victim of a charade in Atlanta. While the 72-year-old reportedly was confident he would become the team’s next head coach, Blank’s “top lieutenants” apparently weren’t very high on Belichick. In fact, the Falcons’ foremost execs reportedly didn’t rank Belichick inside the top three of their preferred candidates.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

The primary reason why Atlanta passed on Belichick remains unclear. But an unflattering review from Patriots owner Robert Kraft reportedly took a serious toll on Belichick’s candidacy.

Featured image via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images