Sports Outside the Beltway

Atlanta Falcons fire Jim Mora as coach

The firing comes only two years after Mora took the Falcons to the NFC Championship game.

The decision to dump the fiery coach followed two straight disappointing seasons. The Falcons lost six of their final eight games in 2005 to miss the playoffs, and they finished 7-9 this season by losing seven of the last nine contests.

Owner Arthur Blank made the announcement at the team’s suburban training complex.

Atlanta went into the final weekend with a slim chance to slip into the playoffs with a .500 record. That ended Saturday night when the
New York Giants won at Washington; the Falcons closed the season Sunday with a meaningless 24-17 loss at Philadelphia.

Mora’s final game was in the same stadium where the Falcons lost to the Eagles for the NFC championship at the end of the 2004 season, coming up one victory short of the Super Bowl.

The 45-year-old Mora, son of longtime NFL coach Jim Mora, went 26-22 in three seasons as Atlanta’s coach.

A former defensive coordinator in San Francisco, the younger Mora led the Falcons to the NFC South title in his rookie season. The team slumped to 8-8 a year ago, then endured his first losing record.

Very intense coaches often wear out their welcome with players after a few years. I don’t follow the Falcons enough to know if that is what happened in Mora’s case.

Jim Mora is the first firing of the NFL postseason. How many more coaches will quit or get fired? Five? Six?

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