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Smith fired by Falcons after failure to reach play-offs

The Atlanta Falcons head into the off-season on the look-out for a new coach after sacking Arthur Smith last night.

Smith was fired following a 48-17 defeat to the New Orleans Saints that left Atlanta with a 7-10 record, the third year that they’ve failed to reach the play-offs or return a winning record under his tenure.

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The feeble nature of the performance – the Falcons went into the game still in with an outside chance of making the post-season but were outscored 31-0 in the second half – effectively sealed Smith’s fate and he was handed the news following a meeting with owner Arthur Blank and CEO Rich McKay shortly afterwards.

Blank said: “Decisions like this are never easy and they never feel good.

“We have profound respect for Coach Smith and appreciate all the hard work and dedication he has put into the Falcons over the last three years. He has been part of building a good culture in our football team, but the results on the field have not met our expectations.

“After significant thought and reflection, we have determined the best way forward for our team is new leadership in the head coaching position.”

Smith’s final game ended in bad-tempered fashion with New Orleans scoring a touchdown in garbage time much to Atlanta’s fury. Smith marched over to his Saints counterpart Dennis Allen and unleashed a tirade of abuse with the traditional post-match handshake also ditched.

When he had calmed down, and speaking before the axe fell, Smith was asked about his future.

He said: “I’m not going to give a state of the union right now of everything that’s happened the last three years. The season just ended.

“Obviously wasn’t the result we needed today and clearly the second half got out of hand. Credit to New Orleans.”

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