Not all the news this weekend is bad for the Falcons. Sunday, a day after the team was eliminated from the playoffs, head coach Mike Smith was bestowed from The Associated Press as the 2008 NFL Coach of the Year. Smith edged out Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano by one vote.
“I’m honored individually, but more so for our coaching staff and our players. I think we have tried to establish that we’d be very systematic in how we did things, that we were going to have a plan,” Smith said. “We laid that plan out from the very beginning how we were going to practice, how we were going to travel, how we were going to meet, how we were going to communicate, and I think the guys really appreciated definitely how we presented the plan in the framework for us to start the season.”
Smith took a team that was 4-12 last season and in complete turmoil and turned them into a great NFL story as they went 11-5, and were the fifth seed in the NFC. They fell 30-24 to the Cardinals on Saturday in a wild card game in Arizona. Smith was helped out a lot by QB Matt Ryan, who won the AP Rookie of the Year award, and RB Michael Turner, who ran for one yard short of 1,700 yards and 17 TD’s.