The Atlanta Falcons and head coach Arthur Smith parted ways early Monday after the team suffered a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints during the 2023 season finale.
Smith had been the head coach for the last three seasons as he replaced Dan Quinn, who was let go in the middle of the 2020 season. Smith was an offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans but could never get the Falcons into the top 10 in points scored or yards gained over his coaching tenure.
Atlanta will get to start fresh in the 2024 hiring cycle.
"Decisions like this are never easy and they never feel good," team owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. "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."
As Smith becomes the first casualty of what is known as Black Monday around the NFL, he is hardly the first coach to be let go this season.
His tenure ended hours after he blew up at Saints head coach Dennis Allen after the Saints scored a meaningless touchdown with about a minute left in the game.
The Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers each made coaching changes in the middle of the year. More are expected over the next couple of days.