The Atlanta Falcons got the 2022 NFL season off on the wrong foot, losing 27-26 to the rival New Orleans Saints at home in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. While the team blew a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter after quarterback Marcus Mariota fumbled inside the 5-yard-line and their potential game-winning field goal was blocked, head coach Arthur Smith made it clear in the post-game press conference that the real reason they lost was that the media has been mean to them.
At least, that’s what it sounds like.
As his post-game presser drew to a close, Smith focused his frustrations on the beat reporters and media members in the crowd, chastising them for the way they “buried” the team and “wrote our obituary” in the offseason.
“You guys wrote our obituary back in May, and continue to write our obituary. Who cares? We got 16 games,” Smith said. “Write whatever y’all want. Same guys that ranked us 45th, buried us in May, bury us again. We don’t care. We’ll get back to work.”
Arthur Smith then ended his postgame press conference after a few questions with a walk-off: "You buried us in May. Bury us again. We don't care. We'll get back to work." https://t.co/ipIJboD9lJ pic.twitter.com/rW8One9uDA
— Kelly Price (@thekellyprice) September 11, 2022
To be fair, if someone ranked the Falcons 45th in something in a league that only has 32 teams, that does sound pretty disrespectful.
While the team traded away Matt Ryan in March in a move that seemed logical and then put together one of the highest-graded draft classes in April, Smith appears to be alluding to May discussions that Atlanta was going to purposefully “tank” in 2022 to try to ensure a top draft pick.
When asked about it in May, Smith referred to the notion as “the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard — that a team would try to not win football games.” He’s obviously been holding onto that annoyance ever since.
Smith went 7-10 in his first season as the head coach in Atlanta and most NFL pundits expect the team to falter even further this season as they rebuild. The 40-year-old seems to have wanted to prove the skeptics wrong today and is frustrated that he wasn’t able to do that. But whether you’re right or wrong, it’s never a good look to scold the media after you’ve lost, especially when you’re trying to play the “we don’t care” what you say card.
Clearly, you do.