Arthur Blank “bothered” at Falcons’ reaction to a hit on Matt Ryan


During a game last season, Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro was flagged for a cheap shot on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Falcons owner Arthur Blank is still mad about that — and not just at Vaccaro.

Blank told 680 The Fan that he was angered that none of Ryan’s teammates stepped in to say anything to Vaccaro about it, and that the Falcons need to be tougher than they showed.

“And that play really bothered me, sincerely,” Blank said, via “It bothered me that none of our players, they all complained, but none of them went to the safety on the Saints and did anything. Not that they would start a fight, but just kind of put their finger in his chest and saying, ‘That’s not acceptable.'”

Blank said that play has been a focal point of offseason discussions with G.M. Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons’ new assistant G.M., Scott Pioli. Blank said there’s widespread agreement that the team needs to get tougher.

“Scott said, when he was talking at dinner one night with Thomas, he said that really bothered him when he watched that game,” Blank said. “That told him a lot about the mentality of a lot of our players. And I think with [offensive line coach] Mike Tice, and [defensive line coach] Bryan Cox and Smitty [head coach Mike Smith] supporting that, I think you’ll see a different attitude this year.”

So let this be a public service announcement for everyone who faces the Falcons this year: No free shots on Matt Ryan.

96 responses to “Arthur Blank “bothered” at Falcons’ reaction to a hit on Matt Ryan

  1. So Blank wants more alpha males like Richie Incognito to assert dominance and move on from softies like Jonathan Martin. Can’t blame him.

  2. The Falcons will never win a Super Bowl with Matt Ryan.

    The Vikings WILL win a Super Bowl with Teddy Bridgewater.

    These are two undeniable facts.

  3. Calling that play a “cheap shot” is a misnomer. Ryan held up until the last possible moment until he slid. Vaccaro didn’t even lead with his helmet. What is he supposed to do, ask Ryan to let him know ahead of time what he’s going to do so he knows how to tackle him safely?

    Also, the Falcons entire organization is a joke and this kind of thing just shows why. You are still focused on a play from week 1 of last season, one that was properly penalized and fined, by the way. Maybe you should let that go and start trying to sign some free agents to help out that pathetic excuse of a roster. Or maybe even think about the draft.

  4. “Conrad Dobler? Hi, it’s Arthur Blank, from the Atlanta Falcons. I was just wondering if you’d like to come in and speak to the guys…”

  5. Sounds like Blank has set up a bounty with his 53 losers..Anyone remember when Heath Evans said everytime when he and the Saints played the falcons the Saints players could see the fear in the eyes of the falcons players..sounds like a bunch of whimps in the Atl..

  6. I’m totally with Blank on this matter and I have seen it on other NFL teams too. You got to have each other’s backs out there.

    Last year there was a questionable hit on Cowboys kick returner Dwayne Harris by the Lions. Harris was injured out of bounds but I was disappointed that no coaches or players got in the Lions face. I think teams who don’t have teammates backs will have limited success.

  7. Thin line you’re walking there Blank…I get where he’s coming from though… a frisco fan, I was happy that the whole f’n team ran up on Clay Matthews after he cheap shotted Kap.

    Stay weak Atlanta, so we don’t have to worry about you in our quest for six!!

    Just kidding, well not really, but yall do need to get tougher

  8. Just don’t say anything to the other players that may hurt their feelings.

    It will be 15 yards, a fine, and a nasty letter from Goodell himself.

    Arthur should know better than to encourage his players to act like men in today’s NFL.

  9. On that play, Ryan was running for yardage and barely indicated that he was going down by sliding too late for Vaccaro to pull his punch.

    Vaccaro plays tough and Matt seemed to have had his bell rung. I remember thinking that Matt won’t make that mistake again.

    That said, evidently Blank is wondering why Matt’s O-line didn’t rally behind him. Sounds like a locker room problem. No chemistry??

  10. They have no one to blame but themselves. When they let Clabo and Dahl go, the nastiness of that O Line went with them. Sam Baker definitely isn’t tough.

    If it wouldn’t be a complete PR disaster, surpassed only by bringing Michael Vick back, I would say sign Richie Incognito. But, I guess there is a fine line between tough and crazy…..

  11. Goodell will probably fine Blank $250K for these comments, while continuing to do nothing about the Irsay situation.

  12. Draft Taylor Lewan to be your LT and he’ll snatch up that tiny goof. That is if they don’t go pass rusher in the 1st.

  13. matt ryan is not only a leader on the field but off the field also. I got to witness how he interacts with a mob of young children hollering for his autograph several years ago and the way he handled the situation was amazing. It is just ridiculous for you morons to question his leadership when you dont know what you are talking about. As long as he is under center in the ATL the dirty birds will always have a shot at it.

  14. Little brother chirps so sadly.
    Big Bro’ don’ feel at all badly.
    Rookie will do it again gladly.
    Havin’ no ring make U madly?

  15. What good does it do to please the owner anyway? When your time on the team is up, it’s up. Look at Harvey Dahl. Jumped right in there after that scrub from the Panthers put the cheap shot on Bradford that cost him his season with a torn ACL. Harvey’s now looking for work. So save the whole ‘ra ra’ thing for the boardroom Blank. Ryan’s a big boy. He got back up. Time to move on. You want to inspire some loyalty and fire in the belly of your players? Honor a contract past the two year mark.

  16. When has Arthur Blank gotten tough on anybody on his team.

    His coach is a joke, his GM is a joke but they’re still there. That’s all on him.

    He’s upset because his team isn’t tough enough but he also gets upset because the other team is too tough. I’m sure he threw many a tantrum when he was a kid and ran to his mom when others were mean to him.

  17. I don’t watch a lot of falcon games but from an outsider looking in it seems like everything wrong with the falcons is mike smith. Decent guy but I don’t think he inspires boys to be men on the field

  18. I think Arthur Blank needs to say more about how sorry he feels for letting the entire city down with an abysmal record last year. And he wants to bust the chops of his own players? That’s terrible. Do a good job yourself first before asking everybody else to do a great job.

  19. Time for Mr Blank to grow a pair and get rid of Meek Smith. I hear his brother-in-law, Brian Billick, is available. Fire Smith and Dumbitoff and hire Billick as coach and general manager.
    Failcants will never change.

  20. Nobody said anything because they all think he deserved to get hit and have someone wake him up cause his play was terrible and your not going to have anyone follow if your not a leader.

  21. Nobody said anything because they all think he deserved to get hit and have someone wake him up cause his play was terrible and your not going to have anyone follow if your not a leader.

  22. ah Blank’s still just blowing off steam cause the Saints foiled his falcan’ts again by matching the terms they offered up to Safety Raphel Bush, and now the falcan’ts are going to have to draft a S in the early rounds instead of a D or O lineman.



  23. A cheap shot? From the aints? You dont say… I wonder how much he wouldve gotten paid if Ryan stayed down?

  24. That was the season opener. It was NOT a cheap shot. It was a late slide on Ryan’s part and a rookie playing his very first NFL game not knowing any better. The officials made the call, Kenny got fined, and it was all over … until now. Wish it might add fuel to the rivalry but it hasn’t been much of a rivalry in a long time.

  25. A falcan’t sticking his finger in Vacarro’s chest would have drawn an unsportsmanlike penalty, would have then been off-setting penalties. So, they did the smart thing. What Blank should have been bothered about was that none of the falcan’ts went to help Ryan up! THAT, is what he should have been bothered about, cause THAT says a lot.

  26. Ooooohhh, put a finger in Kenny V’s chest and say “that’s not acceptable”. Hey Artie, since you end up on the sidelines in the 4th quarter to experience up close each Falcons loss to the Saints, maybe you should go on the field and scold Kenny???

  27. “I’m not saying start a fight.” Arthur, If you go up to him and “put your finger in his chest and say that’s not acceptable”, a fight is exactly what you’ll have and you know it. So really what you are saying is if somebody cheap shots Matt then you start a fight with that player.

  28. Say what you want about Mr. Incognito, but he would’ve got in Vaccaro’s face about it.

    He needed his leash pulled a little tighter, but coaches love a guy that makes the team tougher.

  29. I thought he was supposed to make the city of Atlanta forget about MikeVick……well 6 years in and still 1 playoff win behind.

    So much for the traditional qb.

  30. Let’s see. If his team was “tough” they would run out to Vaccaro and say “that’s unacceptable!” I assume that he somehow believes that would deter Vaccaro and other Saints from hitting him again in similar circumstances. Maybe they should also say “your Mother won’t approve of that kind of play” or “nobody will like you if you play like that”. What a gas! Of course, he did not want them to start a fight because that is against the rules and would probably result in a penalty and maybe an ejection and fine. But they should look at him with really mean faces.

  31. Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are by most grades the far more talented Tackles in the upcoming draft, but if you want a mean and nasty young lineman…you go with Taylor Lewan.

    He’s a bit of a reach at 6 though, but food for thought.

  32. The Falcons and their owner are soft. Ryan did a ‘hook-slide’ five yards from the end zone in a game last year instead of just plowing through for the TD. I live in GA and work around die-hard Falcon fans and even they were disappointed in Matt for not showing more toughness. Mike Smith defended the slide in the post game loser coach conference. I think the Falcons should have their pro football status downgraded to ‘semi-pro’! Ha Ha. Geaux saints!

  33. What I’ve been saying all along about Atlanta.. S..O..F..T..T (notice the double ‘T’ for emphasis..)

    I saw a Falcon’s fan wearing a T-shirt the other day that said “We Will Not Lose”.. which made me laugh.. & says it all….

  34. The Saints outright own the Falcons…the Falcons know it and are scared of the Saints. Their fans cringe when they see the Saints up next on the schedule…its just another NOLA beatdown…as usual…time and time and time again!

  35. Saints Falcons a rivalry?

    In the Sean Payton era the saints are 12-4 against Falcons.

    Actually Besdayz…I’m pretty sure its 13-3.

  36. Here’s the dirty little secret of that play – the Falcons didn’t react to it because Matt Ryan has lost his own locker room. Teammates show up quarterbacks like that when those quarterbacks have become insufferable and/or the weaknesses of their game have become their defining characteristic.

    It’s becoming more clear it’s time to demote or cut Ryan and start developing another quarterback for the Falcons.

  37. Not surprised, have you heard one of smith’s locker room speeches? He sounds like a cub scout master

  38. Honestly I felt the same way as Blank when I watched Kevin Huber get destroyed.

    Teams need to stand up against that kind of behavior so the bullies of the NFL can be put in their place.

  39. They’re a team that plays indoors in a warm-weather city. How tough can they be?

  40. You cant complain about your team being soft and then bring back all of the people that made them soft to begin with. *Looking around* That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.

  41. Good lord, Matt has run to the owner crying about the mean ol Saints! If Arthur had been mad about it since that game, changes should have been made.
    So Tony G said he made up his mind to retire because another player talked mean to him and no one held his hand, and now the owner and QB are crying over a hit that happened in the first game last year.

    Send this team to a flag football league already.

  42. Can you blame players? In the National Football by Lawyers league as established by Roger Goodell, players get fined left and right for the silliest of things. If a player “fights” another player, he’ll get a penalty and a hefty fine. Banks can’t pay that because it’s considered a bounty and/ or circumventing the cap.

    Banks is right, but as owner, he also allowed Goodell’s lawyers to ruin football as we know it.

  43. The Falcons would be better off signing a player (a jack Lambert clone, a James Harrison clone) whose game includes ‘we will not be intimidated’ , than trying to have coaches make it happen.

  44. Vaccaro shouldn’t of even been fined on that play. That was all Matt Ryan’s fault for sliding late.

  45. Atlanta is lucky to have an owner like Blank. I’m a Giants fan. We have a tradition of owners who are highly respected around the league. He ranks right up with our because of his compassion for his team and the fans. Not overbearing. Not looking for the camera to focus on his face more than the games being broadcaster. The Anti-Jones. When a kind man say you need to get tougher I think he need to listen.

  46. First of all, Matt Ryan looks like a deer in the headlights on every play, worse when a critical play goes badly. Second, if your team wants to prove their toughness, tell them to worry less about poking fingers and try making a 4th and 1 once in a while.

  47. put on the tape of the ’09 nfc championship game… yea, it still bothers me too.

    not as much as taking a knee in ’98 nfc championship game though! or gary anderson missing just wide left, jeez!

  48. I don’t know if anything is more irritating to watch than the billionaire owners that invade the sidelines during the last 3:00 of the game like Arthur Blank and Jimmy Jones and proceed to clap like a rooster in heat!

  49. Get used to it Falcons, Vaccaro is gonna be laying a beatdown on your team for the next 4-6 years……


    Yup, and the Aint’s will be crapping their pants in the play-offs during that same time frame!

  50. This is the same reason the Sharks will never win the Stanley Cup. They play “follow the puck pansy” hockey in the playoffs…

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