Skip to main content

'That's our charge': Raheem Morris, Falcons aims to redeem 2017 Super Bowl loss

On the anniversary of Super Bowl LI, Raheem Morris vowed to bring a championship home to Atlanta. 

ATLANTA — On Feb. 5, 2017, Raheem Morris stood on the Falcons sidelines as an assistant coach in Super Bowl LI as the team held a healthy 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots, and know the end of the story.

Exactly seven years later, to the day, Morris said he is ready for redemption as the Falcons head coach.

"Being here in 2016, reaching the pinnacle and just coming up short," Morris said during his introductory press conference Monday, "that was a real critical moment for me."

While the Falcons have yet to return to that pinnacle, Morris reached that elusive level again in Los Angeles as the Rams defensive coordinator, helping the franchise win a championship in 2022.

Several times in his introductory press conference, the New Jersey-native referred to Atlanta as home. Part of coming home for him is rewriting the narrative associated with the Atlanta Falcons and the Super Bowl.

Morris left Atlanta in 2020 after an interim head coaching stint and six total seasons with the Falcons as an assistant and coordinator. The 47-year-old coach said he didn't sulk after not getting the head coaching job three seasons ago, instead, he took it as a learning opportunity.

"Sometimes you need to get away from each other," Morris said. "You get a chance to get away and you grow."

Getting away taught him what it takes to get over the hump, something the Falcons have yet to do after going 7-10 for three straight seasons after Morris moved on to the Rams.

In three seasons in Los Angeles, Morris learned what it looks like when a general manager and head coach are on the same page to the point where they move in silence, yet still communicate everything. He experienced the highs and lows of winning it all in his first season, failing to reach the postseason the following season and earning a surprising playoff berth while navigating a rebuild in his final year.

"What a ride, right?" Morris said on his time with the Rams. "All it did was make me better to come back home, to find a way to finish off 2016 that we didn't get done."

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and team president Greg Beadles commended Morris on his humility to make adjustments and grow in Los Angeles. That's, in part, why they brought him back to Atlanta.

"He's been at three Super Bowls, he's got two rings and we're gonna get him another one," Fontenot said. "That's our charge."

Morris, along with Falcons leadership, feel that this team in Atlanta has the bones to win now.

It was a quick answer for Morris when asked about what he likes on this current Falcons roster.

"That's really easy," he said. "Drake London. Bijan Robinson."

And that's just on the offensive side of the ball, the Falcons also return with the foundation of a top-15 defense led by leaders like safety Jessie Bates III and defensive lineman Grady Jarrett.

Through free agency and draft, the Falcons hope to build on this avenging squad with Morris at the helm.

"It is a part of coming home. That 2016 (season) loss, it stings as bad as any one I've ever had. Actually the worst, I've ever had," Morris said. "...To be able to come back here and get some real cool redemption, I want to watch Arthur Blank hold up that trophy."

Ahead of his arrival in Atlanta, we take a look back at Raheem Morris' previous tenure with the Falcons.

Related Content