Ask an Alabama fan about former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian these days, and they’ll probably exhale a sigh of relief.
The former USC and Washington coach spent the 2016 season with Alabama as an offensive analyst before abruptly replacing departing offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin in the days leading into the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Clemson. Crimson Tide fans know how that one ended, with Clemson claiming the title on a last-second touchdown connection from Deshaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow.
Sarkisian was 0-1 in his Crimson Tide offensive coordinator career when he decided to bolt for the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator gig after Kyle Shanahan took the San Francisco 49ers coaching job following the Falcons’ loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.
It seemed like a loss for the Crimson Tide at the time. As it turns out, Falcons fans may be more than willing to send him back to Tuscaloosa after a 15-10 playoff loss to Philadelphia on Saturday brought an end to a frustrating first season in Atlanta for the play caller.
Some visuals from the Falcons’ failed attempt at a game-winning drive include a failed shuffle pass to a third-string running back that was almost a turnover. It elicited a candid “What was that?” from veteran play-by-play man Al Michaels:
As bad as that fourth down was, this play ultimately defines the Steve Sarkisian Experience. pic.twitter.com/e4yqxMbght
— Max Meyer (@TheMaxMeyer) January 14, 2018
And of course there was the fourth-down call that included splitting a fullback out wide and chopping off half of the field with a play design that ran all eligible receivers into the same corner of the end zone:
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) January 14, 2018
It resulted in an incomplete pass from Matt Ryan to former Crimson Tide wide receiver Julio Jones (No. 11 in the diagram), and the Falcons again found themselves with the playoff loss blues.
Following that final drive, Twitter was all over Steve Sarkisian. Some tweets were funny and others were mean, but nearly all of them were likely to make Crimson Tide fans thankful for new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s contributions to a national championship for Alabama.
Check them out:
Steve Sarkisian….. pic.twitter.com/xcRUcEVbm0
— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) January 14, 2018
Steve Sarkisian was handed the keys to a Ferrari and he drove it like Rascal scooter this entire season
— Anthony Pace (@RelentlessPace) January 14, 2018
If I ever see Steve Sarkisian in public. pic.twitter.com/kGPH8hSASc
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) January 14, 2018
Steve Sarkisian looks over his play sheet featuring countless pass plays to one of the best receiving corps in the NFL on second and goal with a minute left in game. Calls a shovel pass instead. I swear offensive coordinators overthink their play calls so badly late in games.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 14, 2018
If Steve Sarkisian was still at Alabama, he would have kept Tua Tagovailoa on the bench. Georgia would have won the title, Falcons would have won this game. Sark is Atlanta’s biggest nightmare since Sherman
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) January 14, 2018
When Steve Sarkisian gets back to Atlanta tomorrow… pic.twitter.com/UaievApIxf
— Landon Beamon (@LandonBeamon11) January 14, 2018
Steve Sarkisian. pic.twitter.com/AkKOZfDZX5
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) January 13, 2018
That drop off from Shanahan to Sarkisian pic.twitter.com/X4Ef1BroK1
— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) January 14, 2018
Steve Sarkisian meeting Ben McAdoo pic.twitter.com/yi2XOo0JgJ
— Ryan Disdier (@ryandisdier) January 14, 2018