Falcons' New Head Coach is Petrino

The Atlanta Falcons became the first team with a head coaching vacancy to name their new leader. Louisville's Bobby Petrino will be the franchise's 13th head coach.

The Atlanta Falcons will hold a press conference at 2:00 (ET) on Monday, January 8th at the team's training facility in Flowery Branch to introduce their new head coach, but the team issued a statement late Sunday that confirmed that it will be Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino.

"This is an exciting day for the Atlanta Falcons franchise," said Falcons Owner and CEO Arthur Blank in a statement issued by the team. "Bobby Petrino is an extremely talented football coach who has done some tremendously innovative things as both an offensive coordinator and head coach, and he brings to us a record of success at the collegiate and professional levels.

"There is no question that he has a sharp mind, he is demanding and disciplined, and he is a motivator and developer of players. In short, he's a difference maker who will bring a strong identity to the Falcons - one our team will buy into and take on as their own."

The 45 year-old Petrino rolled up an impressive 41-9 record at Louisville, putting the team's football program back in the national spotlight. Louisville finished their season ranked fifth in the country, best ever for the school.

Petrino's reputation as a top offensive strategist should be welcome news to all the Falcons, but particularly to quarterback Michael Vick. The team released former head coach Jim Mora from his contract after he posted a 26-22 record over three seasons.

"First and foremost, I thank Arthur and [GM] Rich [McKay] for what I truly feel is the best job in the National Football League," Petrino said. "I am excited about the challenge that awaits me in Atlanta, and I'm equally excited about the potential that I see in this team. I look forward to getting to know the players."

ESPN.com is reporting that Petrino's contract is a five-year, $24 million deal.

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