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Proof that Mckay and BLank draw a blank on coaches!


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Bobby Petrino, Arthur Blank & Rich McKay Press Conference - Monday, January 8, 2007

Q: Falcons Owner & CEO Arthur Blank s Opening Statement

Arthur Blank: Good afternoon everybody. We thank you for joining us today. We were in this room just a week ago. Since then, we ve been very busy. It s been an intense time for us; very active. We ve been focused on finding a new head coach. It was a very comprehensive commitment on our part. We covered a lot of ground. We covered a lot of territory or geography if you will in the last week. We saw a lot of very good candidates. I would just say out of the candidates that we saw, I would be surprised if all of them don t become head coaches in the National Football League, either this year or next year, or the next several years. It was a very qualified group. Our efforts have paid off and we re thrilled today to announce our new head coach Bobby Petrino to my left. We had set out when we started our search with a set of criteria that we had established and that we were looking for in a head coach. One, is that we wanted someone who had experience as a head coach, and obviously we have that in Bobby. We wanted experience in the National Football League. We wanted a record of success. We wanted a creative mind. We wanted a tough, disciplined approach. We wanted an ability to develop our quarterbacks and I use the word quarterbacks as opposed to quarterback, as well as the other talent on the team. We wanted somebody who has the potential to be with us for a very long time. Bobby fits that bill in every single one of those categories and his record speaks to that and supports that as well. As the head coach at the University of Louisville the last four seasons, he s established incredible results and great success - 12-1 (record) this last year, including six wins at home. First ever Big East Championship. There were seven players named to the All-Big East team, which was the most in the League. No. 5 in terms of national ranking, which is the highest in school history, as well as a trip to the FedEx Bowl in a victory over Wake Forest in a very competitive game. Add all that up, over the last four years, Louisville had a cumulative record of 41-9. Those of you who have followed Bobby s career know that he is a tough-minded, offensive-oriented coach and he has the record to support that. He has 21 years of coaching, including three seasons in the National Football League with the Jacksonville Jaguars, two as the quarterbacks coach and the last year as the offensive coordinator. During those three years, Bobby had the opportunity to work with Mark Brunell, who produced three of his best passing seasons in his career. From what we ve learned about Bobby personally and what we ve done based on our research, there is no question that he has a very sharp mind and a reputation of being one of the best X and O s coaches today in either the National Football League or the college ranks. He s had a high-octane offensive production during that period of time, both at the professional and collegiate level as well. Louisville was only one of two NCAA Division I-A teams to rank in the top 10 nationally in total offense for four consecutive seasons. Of the 49 games Bobby coached, the team scored 60 points or more seven times and at least 40 points in 28 of the 49 games coached. He s organized, he s well prepared and he calls his own plays. He ll be calling his own plays here in Atlanta as well. One of the most common themes I would say to you personally that I felt about Bobby is that we have a thing in football called people that are play-makers and I would consider Bobby as a play-maker and difference maker. I promise you that he ll win a lot of games for us and is very committed to doing that. There is no question that Bobby sets very high standards. His orientation towards his discipline will be consistent with our staff and with the players win or lose. He s very demanding. He sets high standards and he s very clear on those standards. He expects to follow through on those. At the same time, he has a great track record for developing players. In addition to Mark Brunell as quarterbacks coach at Louisville in 1999, he coached Chris Redman to a whole slough of team records. Currently at Louisville, Brian Brohm was competitive for the top player of the year in college football this year in college football. He holds the school record at 68.4% for pass completions. So, Bobby knows how to motivate, he knows how to teach, he knows how to get the best out of his athletes and be supportive of his coaching staff. There is no question in my mind and the mind of Rich (McKay) that he ll be a great match for the talent that we already have on the team. He ll push Mike Vick to even higher levels. He ll work with our wide receivers, our running backs and he ll work with all of our talent on defense and make them all better and as good as they can possibly be. I think from my viewpoint, he will do this by earning their respect. Finally, as a new head coach in the National Football League and given where Bobby is in terms of his coaching career and given the resources that we will commit to support him, Bobby has the potential to be here for a very long time, which is important for me, Bobby, for Atlanta, for our players, for his family, for all of us. Consistency is what makes great teams great. Look at the teams that are in the playoffs currently and the ones that are succeeding. That is what we strive for with your Atlanta Falcons. To summarize, I would simply say that Bobby brings a strong identity to the Falcons and an identity of success, an identity of focus, an identity of consistency, an identity of high energy, an identity of toughness, an identity of discipline and an identity of creativity. That identity that he will bring to this team, I believe, will supported by his players and coaching staff as well. We think that the entire group will be excited to work with Bobby once they have a chance to spend some time with him. I would like to welcome his wife Becky and his children Bobby, Katie and Nick. Their oldest daughter is not here today. She is away at college. So, we want to welcome you all here to Atlanta and thank you for being here. Atlanta will be loving and supporting to you. It is a very warm city. It s a wonderful city. With that, Bobby will come up here and will spend some time talking and then we will get to questions.

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