FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Atlanta Falcons today announced that Head Coach Mike Smith has been named NFL Coach of the Year by Sporting News for the third time.
In 2012, Smith led the Falcons to an NFC-best 13-3 record and the club's first NFC Championship Game appearance in 14 years. This season, Smith guided the Falcons to their first playoff win since 2004 and became the first head coach in team history to post five straight winning seasons. Smith is one of just three active coaches to win the award multiple times and he joins coaching greats Paul Brown, Chuck Knox and Joe Gibbs as the only NFL coaches to be honored three times (2008, 2010 & 2012). Only Don Shula has earned the honor more with four wins.
During his tenure in Atlanta, the Falcons have compiled a 56-24 (.700) regular season record with five straight winning seasons, three straight playoff berths, and two division titles. Smith's 56 wins in his first five seasons as a head coach are the second-most by a first-time head coach in NFL history. Atlanta's .700 winning percentage since 2008 is the second-best mark in the NFL during that span and the Falcons are the only NFC team to post winning records in each of the last five seasons.
Smith became the Falcons all-time leader in coaching wins in 2012, passing Dan Reeves posted a 49-59-1 record from 1997-03. Additionally, Smith reached the 50-win milestone in 71 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the third fastest head coach to accomplish that feat since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Only George Seifert (62 games) and Chuck Knox (65 games) reached 50 wins faster than Smith during that time.