Bill Belichick lands first coaching interview after leaving Patriots


Bill Belichick is weighing his options in free agency.

John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe

Bill Belichick is weighing his options in free agency.

Less than a week after the legendary head coach’s 24-year tenure with the Patriots came to a close, the Falcons announced that they interviewed Belichick for their vacant head coaching position.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Belichick met with Falcons owner Arthur Blank in person to discuss Atlanta’s coaching vacancy after the team fired Arthur Smith last week. Pelissero added that “no deal is imminent” between Belichick and the Falcons, but “there is mutual interest and conversations are ongoing.”

Belichick marks the seventh interview that the Falcons have conducted for their head-coaching gig. Atlanta has already spoken to Atlanta Baltimore assistant head coach/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, as well as Carolina defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, San Francisco defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, and Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.

Pelissero added that the Falcons also plan on interviewing Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce.

Fair to say, Belichick’s resume trumps every other coaching candidate on the market this offseason.

He led New England to six Super Bowl titles and 13 trips to the AFC Championship Game in New England. Of course, Blank and the Falcons saw firsthand what a Belichick-led team can do on the national stage, when New England overcame a 28-3 deficit to beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Belichick has been linked to the Falcons even before New England formally parted ways with him on Thursday. 

“The team that would make some sense I think in the eyes of many across the league would be the Atlanta Falcons,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said last week. “If we remember the past, Arthur Blank once pursued — and didn’t get — Bill Parcells. Bill Belichick learned at the feet of Bill Parcells.

“The Falcons could use a head coach. There’s nobody more accomplished than Bill Belichick, and that would certainly seem to make some sense if that’s an avenue that the Falcons decide to pursue.”

Former Falcons QB Matt Ryan weighed in on Belichick’s candidacy for Atlanta’s coaching vacancy on CBS’s “NFL Today” on Sunday.

“There’s a lot of baggage that comes with that because of what happened in the Super Bowl (seven years ago). It’s an awkward thing… They’re built to win now, they really are,” Ryan said. “The defense plays good football. They’ve got an excellent offensive line, good skill positions. But they’ve got to figure out the quarterback.

“I think Bill Belichick makes sense if they get a veteran guy. I think if you’re drafting young, I think you go with a younger coach, somebody that’s gonna be there longer. But if you’re gonna take a veteran guy, I think he makes sense in Atlanta.”