Very quietly, and I’m sure he wouldn’t have it any other way, Atlanta coach Mike Smith is on the verge of a big milestone.
With a victory on Sunday against Tampa Bay, Smith will reach the second 10-win season of his three-year career. Smith went 11-5 in 2008, his first season with the Falcons. No Atlanta head coach, in the team’s 45-year history, ever has won 10 or more games in more than one season.
Smith is an unassuming guy, who prides himself and his team on consistency. He doesn’t seek out attention, but this milestone would be further evidence of how Smith’s consistency has stabilized an entire franchise.
Also, a victory would tie Smith and the Falcons for the best 12-game start in franchise history. The record was set by the 1998 team that started 10-2, finished the regular season 14-2 and went to the Super Bowl.
One other note on Smith. Again, we remind you he’s a guy that doesn’t like attention or talking about himself. Not many people know it, but Smith coached the Falcons to victory against Green Bay last Sunday while he was very sick. Smith was dealing with a dose of cold/flu that would have kept a lot of people home and in bed. You could still hear traces of it in his voice (and a few coughs) Wednesday when he did a conference call with the Tampa Bay media.