Consistent winning success is a result of a lot of things in the NFL and perhaps most importantly is stability at the key leadership positions on a team. A franchise-caliber quarterback, smarts in the front office and a steady and consistent head coach are the kind of things that can turn any team into a winner.
The Falcons have established they have all of the above items in quarterback Matt Ryan, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith. Entering his sixth season as the head coach of the Falcons, Smith stands among the elite coaches currently coaching in the NFL.
The league has long shown that head coaches that stay in position for more than a few years can establish a winning program and Smith has done just that. He's now among the most tenured head coaches in the NFL and his peers on that list are the head men for some of the most successful franchises in the league.
Smith is tied with Baltimore's John Harbaugh as the sixth-most tenured head coach in the league currently. New England's Bill Belichick tops the list with 13 seasons and counting as the Patriots head coach. Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis is second on the list with 10 seasons and the Giants' Tom Coughlin is third with nine seasons.
Houston's Gary Kubiak, New Orleans' Sean Payton and Green Bay's Mike McCarthy are all tied for fourth on the list with seven seasons. Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin is ahead of Smith and Harbaugh by one season.
Smith has quickly established himself as one of the winningest coaches in the league during his time as the head coach of the Falcons. Atlanta is one of only three teams in the NFL with five straight winning seasons. Baltimore and New England are the other two, both headed by tenured coaches like Smith.
Smith's 56 wins in his first five years are the second-most among first-time head coaches in league history. Smith is joined on that list by Tomlin and Harbaugh, one and two wins respectively behind Smith.
Atlanta's head coach reached the 50-win plateau in 71 games, the third-fastest coach to reach that win total since 1970. Last season Smith became the winningest coach in Falcons franchise history, surpassing Dan Reeves' 49-win mark.