Poaching a coach or poaching from rivals, in general, doesn’t happen every day in the NFL. So it’s only fitting that the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints were involved in this most recent case.
The Falcons hired defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen away from the Saints, where he held the same position.
“Our Nielsen rating just went up,” the Falcons cheekily tweeted on Friday afternoon as they announced their hire of the coach.
Nielsen spent the last six seasons on the Saints’ coaching staff. So it’s not as if the coach just arrived. He’s seen quite a few battles in the big rivalry, one of the best in the NFL. No matter the records either, there’s hate on both sides.
The Falcons needed a defensive coordinator after the previous one, Dean Pees, retired from the profession after the season. They now got a great replacement coach for Pees at the position.
Atlanta is Nielsen’s second stop in the NFL. He was a coach in college from 2002-2016 at several programs, including USC, Ole Miss, Northern Illinois, and NC State, among others.
Reactions were felt from around the NFL world after the hire.
Michael Rothstein, ESPN reporter for the Falcons, said, “Ryan Nielsen, the Falcons new DC, has a lot of promise. It’s a big job — and clearly they are letting him hire his own staff, too.”
One Saints fan described the hire as a “huge loss for the Saints. No sugar coating it.”
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