Steve Sarkisian will be the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator as the team attempts to move forward from its incredible Super Bowl loss and convince NFL fans that the team shouldn’t be excommunicated from the league.
Sarkisian will fill the void created by Kyle Shanahan, who departed for the head coaching gig with the San Francisco 49ers after failing to win the Super Bowl by not losing 23 yards. The job will be Sarkisian’s second foray in professional football, as he previously served as the Oakland Raiders quarterback coach in 2004.
While Sarkisian’s been openly looking to land an NFL job for months now, to describe his current career trajectory as a man falling down on an upwards-moving escalator seems fair given the 42-year-old’s past 18 months.
At USC, Sarkisian went 12-6 in one and a half seasons; he was fired with cause (by email) in October 2015 after showing up to practice “in no condition to work.” This happened two months after he appeared and acted intoxicated at a USC athletics event. Sarkisian entered a rehab facility in California after his firing and filed a lawsuit in an attempt to recoup the more than $12 million left on his contract prior to being axed.
After laying low throughout the 2016 spring, Sarkisian jumped back into the coaching game less than a year after being fired, scoring a gig as a volunteer offensive analyst for Nick Saban’s Alabama squad. Sarkisian spent the past season on Alabama’s sidelines providing notes and tips on the Crimson Tide’s offensive approach, which was run by then-offensive coordinator and fellow former disgraced USC coach Lane Kiffin.
When Kiffin hightailed it for powerhouse FAU a week before Alabama’s national championship clash with Clemson, Sarkisian was promoted from volunteer analyst to offensive coordinator. All things considered, the Crimson Tide’s overall title game performance was fairly average compared to what they displayed during the regular season, but it still managed to out-do Kiffin’s final run in the chair in the semi-final against Washington. Sarkisian dialed up a beautiful set of plays on their final offensive series; unfortunately for him, the Tigers still had Deshaun Watson.
Now, after one game in a college OC chair, and just under a year and a half removed from his much-publicized firing at USC, Sarkisian will take over the reigning NFC champion’s offense. At this rate, Sark should usurp Dan Quinn by August and be named league commissioner by Super Bowl LII.