The Atlanta Falcons Have Hired the Founder of FedEx’s 38-Year-Old Son to Save Their Franchise
Julio Jones and Matt Ryan aren’t getting any younger. The former turns 32 in three weeks. The latter will celebrate his 36th birthday about a month after the 2021 NFL draft.
Ironically, the beloved Atlanta Falcons icons are only a few years younger than their new head coach.
On Friday, Arthur Blank officially bet the future of his franchise on the 38-year-old son of FedEx founder Fred Smith. Now, it’s Arthur Smith’s job to turn around a team that has been treading water ever since it suffered the worst collapse in Super Bowl history.
Arthur Smith has a famous father worth billions
Some NFL coaches are born into football families.
That couldn’t be further from the truth for Arthur Smith.
His father works in the delivery business. Only he isn’t dropping off packages for a living.
On the contrary, Fred Smith built his own company well before Amazon Prime became a thing.
The U.S. Marine Corps veteran founded FedEx in 1971. Obviously, Smith’s business idea took off, which has made him extremely wealthy. He reportedly has a net worth of $5.6 billion.
The 76-year-old also built a large family. Smith has 10 children, including a daughter who works as a film producer.
However, his most famous offspring happens to work in the football industry. And like his father, Arthur Smith excels at his job.
Turning the Titans into an offensive juggernaut
As the son of a famous billionaire, Arthur Smith certainly isn’t a stranger to the spotlight. Plus, he has become a household name over the course of the last two years thanks to his brilliant work with the Tennessee Titans.
The Memphis native joined the team in 2011 as a defensive quality control coach. Over the years, Smith got a chance to work with several position groups, including the offensive line and tight ends.
In 2019, he ascended to the offensive coordinator role. That turned out to be a life-changing promotion for the son of the founder of FedEx.
After ranking 27th in points and 25th in total yards in 2018, the Titans jumped all the way to 10th and 12th in those respective categories. Ryan Tannehill earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. Derrick Henry led the league in rushing. And the Titans even managed to knock the New England Patriots out of the playoffs.
In 2020, Tennessee torched opposing defenses at an even higher level. In Smith’s second year as OC, the Titans ranked fourth in scoring and second in total yards. Henry cemented his case as the NFL’s best running back by racking up 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns on a career-high 378 carries.
By turning the Titans into an offensive juggernaut, Arthur Smith put himself in the mix to earn a promotion of a lifetime. And less than a week after Tennessee got eliminated from the playoffs, he officially added a new job title to his resume courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons have officially bet the future of their franchise on the founder of FedEx’s 38-year-old son
On Friday afternoon, the Falcons officially named Arthur Smith as their new head coach.
In doing so, they bet the future of their franchise on the 38-year-old son of the founder of FedEx.
Unfortunately for the former Titans OC, he inherits a roster that requires massive changes.
On offense, Smith will go from having Tannehill, Henry, A.J. Brown, and Jonnu Smith to a unit headlined by the aging duo of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Atlanta needs to find a true No. 1 RB this offseason and could also use an upgrade at tight end. The Falcons’ new head coach will certainly have his work cut out for him as he tries to transform an offense that ranked 16th in scoring in 2020.
Moving to the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons also have major holes to fill. They ranked 19th in points allowed and just 29th in total yards.
Meanwhile, they didn’t have a single player record at least five sacks. Ultimately, they could use reinforcements on every level of their defense.
Clearly, the Falcons have issues to address all over the place. At the very least, Arthur Blank hired a coach who has demonstrated the ability to turn an anemic offense into an excellent one.
But even if Arthur Smith manages to accomplish that feat with his new team, Atlanta will never compete for a Super Bowl until it experiences a drastic turnaround on the other side of the ball, too.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.