Arthur Smith was named the 18th head coach in Atlanta Falcons history on January 15, 2021 and took over the club after serving as the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator for the previous two seasons (2019-2020).
In his first year at the helm, the Falcons posted a 7-10 record, winning seven of nine games decided by one possession after winning two of 10 such games the season prior. Under Smith's guidance, nine-year veteran running back Cordarrelle Patterson set single-season career highs for rushing yards (618), receiving yards (548), rushing touchdowns (six) and receiving touchdowns (five), and became the first player to record at least five rushing and five receiving touchdowns in a single season in franchise history. Additionally, tight end Kyle Pitts became the second rookie tight end to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka (1,076 yards in 1961). Pitts broke the single-season franchise record for most receiving yards by a tight end with 1,026, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (930 in 2012), and set the record for most receiving yards by a rookie regardless of position, surpassing Julio Jones (959 in 2011). Pitts also became the first rookie tight end to be selected to the Pro Bowl since New York's Jeremy Shockey in 2002.
Prior to his tenure in Atlanta, Smith orchestrated one of the NFL's top offenses with the Titans leading the league in red-zone touchdown percentage (75.2), ranking fifth points per game (27.9) and fifth in total offense (379.6). He oversaw the second-ranked rushing attack in the NFL, averaging 153.5 yards per game on the ground.
From 2019-20, the Titans were among the league's best in the red zone. The club's 75.6 (2019) and 75.0 (2020) red zone touchdown percentages were the fourth and fifth-best single-season marks by a team since 2000.
In 2020, Smith's offense averaged 30.7 points per game and 491 total points which was good for fourth in the NFL and stand as the second-highest marks in team history. He also oversaw one of the most potent rushing attacks in league history as Derrick Henry became just the eighth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season. Henry's 2,027 rushing yards rank fifth all-time and paced the Titans to the league's second-best rushing offense in 2020, trailing only the Baltimore Ravens. Tennessee's 168.1 yards per game on the ground set a club record and Henry eclipsed Chris Johnson's franchise record of 2,006 rushing yards set in 2009.
While Smith was able to build his offense around the talents of Henry in the run game, he also has been credited with revitalizing the career of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. In two seasons running Smith's offense, the former No. 8 overall draft pick started 26 games and totaled 6,561 passing yards with 55 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 110.6 passer rating, while completing 67.3 percent of his passes. Tannehill was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career in 2019 after leading the NFL with a 117.5 passer rating and was named the Comeback Player of the Year by both the Associated Press and the Pro Football Writers of America.
Smith also fostered the development of wide receiver A.J. Brown, who has cited Julio Jones as a mentor. Brown eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons in the NFL and has scored 19 touchdowns in 30 career games. In addition to Brown, four-year veteran receiver Corey Davis has also blossomed under Smith. Davis tied his career-high with 65 receptions and set new bests with 984 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2020.
In 2019, Smith helped lead the Titans to the team's first AFC Championship Game appearance in 17 years. In his first season as offensive coordinator, the Titans led the NFL in red-zone efficiency (75.6 percent), ranked third in rushing offense (138.9 yards per game), and fourth in yards per play (6.12). The Titans' percentage in the red zone was the highest since the 2013 Denver Broncos (76.1). Tannehill and Henry became the fourth NFL teammates to lead the NFL in passer rating and rushing yards, respectively since the current passer rating system was implemented in 1973.
Smith served under four different Titans head coaches, working his way up from his 2011 position of defensive assistant/quality control coach. He also spent time as an offensive assistant/quality control coach (2012), offensive line/tight ends assistant (2013), and assistant tight ends coach (2014-15) before taking over as tight ends coach during the 2015 season and holding the position through 2018.
Prior to joining the Titans, Smith spent two years as the defensive quality control coach for the Washington Football Team from 2007-08 serving on legendary coach Joe Gibbs' staff. In addition to his coaching role, he also worked as a college scouting assistant in Washington in 2007. In 2010, Smith worked at Ole Miss as an administrative assistant/defensive intern, primarily working with the linebackers.
Smith graduated from North Carolina where he played offensive line and later joined the Tar Heels coaching staff as a graduate assistant (2006), working with the offensive line.
Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., he went to high school at Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.). Smith and his wife, Allison, currently live in Nashville with their two sons, Tanner and Liam, and their daughter, Sophie.