Arthur Blank says he’s backing away — this I’ve gotta see

Falcons owner Arthur Blank gives remarks during the press conference announcing the team’s naming rights deal for their new stadium. (Kent D. Johnson, kdJohnson@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank gives remarks during the press conference announcing the team's naming rights deal for their new stadium. (Kent D. Johnson, kdJohnson@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank gives remarks during the press conference announcing the team’s naming rights deal for their new stadium. (Kent D. Johnson, kdJohnson@ajc.com)

A man whose favorite saying is, “There’s no finish line,” writes his emails in red and frequently has his employees walking on eggshells says it’s time for him to dial things down a little bit so he will hire a CEO.

“I think it’s a healthy time for somebody else to take the reins in terms of certain responsibilities in our organization,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank tells our Tim Tucker in a story that’s linked here on MyAJC.com.

There are some interesting comments from Blank in the piece, but this one is my favorite: “If I was disengaging from the businesses, I think it would be (difficult), because I’m not the kind of person who would do well sitting under a tree reading books all day.”

Exactly. Some thoughts on Blank’s intention to slow down and how it may affect the Falcons:

1.) I’m not buying it: I’m sure Blank, who turns 73 next month, intends to slow down. But he’s just not built that way. It will be easy enough to take a less active role in two of his for-profit businesses, the PGA Tour Superstore and his guest ranch in Montana (assuming both stay profitable). But his MLS team is a relative start-up business,, which means Blank will be preoccupied with ticket sales, sponsorships, branding, fan growth and winning. The Falcons are his lifeblood — on the field and off, especially with a new stadium on the horizon and PSLs to sell. I don’t see him any less obsessed in the future than he is now.

2.) No change in Falcons’ structure: Blank wisely says Falcons coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff will still answer to him, not the new CEO. The quickest way to unnerve Quinn, who had other head coaching job offers this past winter, would have been to say, “You’re now answering to somebody else.” Blank restructured the Falcons’ football operations before the season to have the coach and GM report separately to him. That somewhat diminished Dimitroff’s autonomy, and he likely also would not have been thrilled with a new layer being added on the flow chart between football operations and ownership.

3.) If the Falcons continue to lose, duck: It will be easier for Blank to lighten his day-to-day obsession of the Falcons’ football operation if the team wins. But if the struggles continue, there will be no stopping him. More firings, hirings and another restructuring would all be possible, with the owner as the pointman. Also, I would not want to be a PSL salesman in a strategy meeting with Blank right now.

4.) The Quinn/Dimitroff watch: If the Falcons take off under Quinn, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him gain more power, like his former boss in Seattle, Pete Carroll. That’s another call Blank would have to make. He also would have to appease Dimitroff in such a scenario. That’s not a situation the owner would sit out.

5.) Rich McKay’s future uncertain: When McKay lost his job as Falcons’ general manager, Blank chose to keep him in the organization because he valued his knowledge of the NFL, the CBA and of business in general. He also needed somebody to help land a new stadium deal. But with the Falcons’ new home now being built and Blank having a naming rights deal secure, McKay’s future role in the organization is uncertain. McKay currently reports to Blank. But in the new world, he will report to the new CEO. Would he want that — and for what job? I wouldn’t be surprised if he steps away.

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Reader Comments 0

110 comments
Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Wait till Quinn gets a load of the Fool in his Little Lord Flaunteroy getup on the sideline. He'll wanna blow a gasket.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Yeah, he should be real worried about hurting Hairboys feelings. Hes got SO MANY other job offers. He should be demoted to coffee boy.

Gman84
Gman84

Rankin Blank is turning it over to the small-timers that thought sneaking in manufactured crowd noise was genius. BTW, did anyone get fired over that humiliation? Wouldn't be surprised if it was Arty's idea. That is at least as stupid as keeping the Boy Wonder TD around.

BobIchter
BobIchter

you mean after he has helped rob the state tax payers of billions of dollars for his new stadium? He should step away...in shame

dirtybird33
dirtybird33

Blank has done a great job building a winning football team at PACE academy even amidst the craziness that has gone on down at the Buckhead elite prep school. After all, he told us to go get 20 football players and that he would pay their tuition. Wish he would just focus on the Falcons and leave his millions out of prep football.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Ted Turner - after making a complete fool of himself year after year -  finally got his goofy butt off the sidelines and turned the Braves over to professional baseball people. Thereafter eventually came Atlanta's only pro sports championship. I think Artie is WAY WAY WAY stupider and much less realistic than Ted, so I'd be hugely surprised if that obnoxious, pea-brained, egotistical goofball has the good sense to get the hell out of the way. 

slydawg
slydawg

He said he was taking a step back, not taking his hands completely off these businesses. I interpret that to mean he does not have to be involved in every single decision that has to be made. The proposed CEO will be given the autonomy to make them and Blank will just give his blessing, unless it's absolutely ridiculous. At this point, Blank is up there in age and he has alot of other things going on. He does not possess the time and energy to go over every single detail concerning the MLS team's startup and the Falcons stadium.


Here's a suggestion: Hire the AD from Univ. of Texas. He's seems more suited for this task than where he currently is.

mattjohn
mattjohn

Does this mean Falcons will have more or less space on sidelines for owners and executives who should not be on the field? What about the poor old head coach's post-game press conferences?  Need to hold more or less front row seats for ownership and leaders who should not be there?  I would be surprised if Blank's management style and ego will really let him slow down/step away. Don't know many NFL owners are are doing that. Too much of a business and investment.

DrPhill
DrPhill

The only thing that would make that photo more ridiculous would be if Vick were holding a puppy and puffing on a hukka..

DawgNole
DawgNole

JS: "He also would have to appease Dimitroff in such a scenario."

______________________

Why?!

TD's been a miserable failure at best.

No need to appease him; just tell him to hit the road--UNLESS, of course, he's still holding those incriminating photos.


JSSN
JSSN

@DawgNole

He doesn't need photos, all of Blank's 'Cosby moments' are documented in court settlements. 

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Blank has created a true dog's breakfast in the Falcons management structure.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

He needs to go spend quality time with his trophy wife!

slydawg
slydawg

@TrueFan1 and his side piece who allowed those rolex watches to be stolen...lol

AtlantaSportsVictory
AtlantaSportsVictory

" Atlanta United" is a horrible name because it is so UNORIGINAL. There is ALREADY a MLS team with "United", we REALLY couldn't think of anything unique? What other pro league do you see names being repeated? It is just embarrassing and disappointing.

Savdon
Savdon

"There is no finish line?"  Has he not heard of that pesky inconvenience called death?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Savdon

Maybe he's thinking about the Falcons, who've never crossed the finish line during their entire half-century of existence.

RangeRover
RangeRover

Blank is your classic #2 guy and rode the coattail of the real #1 guy in Bernie Marcus @ Home Depot.  Blank's job at Home Depot as CFO was to simply count the beans and seek the highest positive profits for the ultimate sale of the business.  Marcus, as the original CEO, was the visionary, leader and innovator...Blank was the follower of this all the was to the bank and great fortune.

This is why Blank can't get out of his own way with his terrible hires.  He just doesn't have the "it" factor and this is why he's never been able to land a great, proven coach like Parcels.  He also doesn't generate great respect around the NFL.  It was very telling how he was ignored by Roger Goddell and Jerry Jones in a couple of video shots at the last bargaining agreement.  Jones, Craft and most other owners were the visionaries of their respective ventures and they know Blank wasn't, thus the lack of real respect.

Number one QB's think differently about other Number One QB's versus the backups!

Blank's a backup.

Chopp
Chopp

@RangeRover Ha!  I am sure other CFO's would get a hearty laugh at their job being described as "counting beans". 

Chopp
Chopp

@RangeRover I believe he picked some decent leadership in his tenure.  Dan Reeves and Mike Smith both led strong franchises for multiple seasons.  I also do not see how you can label a billionaire a follower and back up, he had to have done something right. But we can agree to disagree.  Good luck on your start ups. 

RangeRover
RangeRover

@Chopp

Trust me, as an entrepreneur and the CEO of three newly launched Medical Device Implant and Instrument companies in Heart, Spine and Neuro Surgery I certainly know the immense value of a good CFO.  But that "F" stands for "Financial" and this is what they're best at:  finances, not picking leadership talent. 

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Chopp The fact that you think Mike Smith was ever a leader says it all.  Go fetch Mr. Blank a cup of coffee and get back to your job at the Falcons ticket office.

Chopp
Chopp

@Hell Horsey Oh so that's the sole attribute of a leader?  Read a book kid.

Chopp
Chopp

@Hell Horsey Your'e right, he only had the best record of any coach we have EVER had. Go fetch yourself an education you dim wit. RISE UP ATLANTA

Wilbo
Wilbo

@DawgNole


Wouldn't that be like the NBA scoring lead for white guys?

JSSN
JSSN

@Hell Horsey

These two fools have spent days defending this dysfunction. Now they are pretending to be critics and are cannibalizing each other! As it was said in a certain film: "Let them fight."

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Chopp

Best record of any ATL coach ain't saying crap. Those are some rock-bottom standards you're comparing him to.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Chopp for NFL head coaches, you bet it is.  Of course, you and your coworkers in the Falcons ticket office don't care about results, just defending this team's 50 years without a championship so you can peddle PSLs.  Good luck with that.

DenverDawg
DenverDawg

Interested in the "PSL meeting" comment.  Jeff, what is the latest on that scam / program? As a disgusted 40+ year fan who is about to give up his seats, I would LOVE to watch it crash and burn...

Chopp
Chopp

@DenverDawg Well keep hoping and wishing.  They were about to fill up the lower 50 yard line sections when I bought mine. This stadium is going to be great for our fans and city. RISE UP ATLANTA

Chopp
Chopp

@DenverDawg Mistake 1. Never listen to Horsey, he thinks the Atlanta Falcons are conspiring against him and his herd. Mistake 2. He is not reaching into the citizens pockets, unless you plan on living in an Atlanta hotel for the rest of your life.  Mistake 3.  Nowhere have I ever, ever said you are not a real fan unless you buy tickets and PSL's. 


I just simply said the stadium will be great for our fans.  This is my opinion and I believe there are others that share it.  Trust me, I have an attachment to the Dome as well but I truly believe it will be a much more positive environment outside and in which will lead to us actually building a strong home field advantage for our team.  RISE UP ATLANTA

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@DenverDawg Ole pork chopp's manager at the Falcons ticket office just put a gold star beside his name on the board in the break room.  99 more, and he'll promote pork chopp to Assistant Shoe Shiner / Coffee Fetcher for Mr. Blank himself.

Chopp
Chopp

@Hell Horsey Horsey, I bet if you're wife dangled a carrot in front of your face you'd get motivated to make a little moola for some tickets!  Gitty up! Yeehaw! RISE UP ATLANTA 

DenverDawg
DenverDawg

@Chopp @DenverDawg


"great for our fans and city"? Not so much...


You can't measure real fans by the size of their discretionary income & checkbooks. I have been a fan since the Gritz Blitz days of 1977, well before King Arthur bought our team as his latest "investment".   

So yes, I think he should've built his playpen without reaching into the pockets of limited income working folk like me.   

But Hell Horsey told me to just agree with everything you said, so WELL DONE!


Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Chopp And selling those tickets sure makes your manager at the Falcons ticket office happy, right?  Get to work selling those PSLs, pork chopp.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Chopp They'll explain it at the sales strategy meeting today in the Falcons ticket office break room.  Your manager sent you the invite, but the Internet connection in your broom closet, er office, isn't that reliable.

MoreySims
MoreySims

will arthur still let thomas bungle draft choices and free agents??

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@SlackTown  TD does not do that anymore.  Scott Poili and Quinn did the draft.  Final say on team roster and trades is between Quinn and AB.  TD is in charge of 'noisegate' investigations and parking permits.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@AdmiralObvious53

Actually, we probably should hope he's not responsible for cleaning toilets. If he performs that job like he's done his "real" job so far, the Falcons will literally stink it up.

Southern Rodent
Southern Rodent

Jeff, I don't understand this statement "Also, I would not want to be a PSL salesman in a strategy meeting with Blank right now." 


Why not? Are the PSL sales not going well? Could Blank have overestimated the value of his "product" to this fanbase?

JAS0N
JAS0N

"But if the struggles continue"

"If the Falcons take off under Quinn"


Quinn is taking over a team that has been incompetently put together by Dimitroff.  I doubt they are going to "take off" any time soon.  

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Blank will back off to count all the money he stole from taxpayers and fans, at least until the team wins 4 games again this season.

Chopp
Chopp

@Hell Horsey Dude get a puppy or something.  The Debbie Downer act is so pathetic.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Chopp What's pathetic is your veiled attempt to defend your employer, the Falcons ticket office, on these blogs.  DId you get that promotion to Arthur Blank's shoe-shiner yet, or still just making the coffee?

Chopp
Chopp

@Hell Horsey You are so messed up in the head that you have resorted to conspiracy theories?  Let me guess, you tried to get workers comp from your last burger flipping gig too?  Get it straight.  There are actual adults in this world who work hard and treat themselves to nice things because they can.  No one feels sorry for you that you cannot buy want you want.  If money is your problem, get up, get out and get something.  Or you can keep crying, it seems like that is what your'e best at. RISE UP ATLANTA 

Chopp
Chopp

@Hell Horsey First of all, BS! You can afford the tickets but would rather come to the AJC and cry about the price all day? Yea right!  I cannot wait until the article "PSL's Sold Out" is published.  I am willing to wager that you will be nowhere to be found in that comment section!  Then again, you are so desperate for attention you will probably be there screaming "what a bunch of money wasting idiots" because the ONLY thing you know how to do is put people down who have it better than you.  


And oh yea, enjoy the view from your couch old man! RISE UP ATLANTA

Chopp
Chopp

@Hell Horsey I am here to keep people like you from coming back! RISE UP

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Chopp Ironically, I, and many other fans, actually could afford to pay for PSL's, but who can really "afford" to flush hard earned money down the toilet?  Speaking of toilets, shouldn't you get back to scrubbing the ones at the Falcons ticket office?  There are some nervous sphincters at Falcons HQ lately, what with all the Falcons season ticket holders canceling their ticket plans.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Chopp From what you said, you have PSLs already, yet you're on this blog more than anyone.  Yikes, I think you just stepped in your own BS.  Make sure to clean that up before someone else in the Falcons ticket office where you work falls face first in it, if they haven't already!

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Chopp Looks like your boss at the Falcons ticket office sent you here to keep the PR blowback to a minimum, but you've been on the defensive ever since you got exposed as a Falcons employee.  "People like me," and there are many of us as you can see on these blogs, aren't falling for your charade.  Scurry back to your boss and tell him the Falcons ticket office needs a new tactic, because this one is a real stinker, just like those Falcons HQ toilets you better scrub out before you take your lunch break.