The Falcons named Saints co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen as the franchise’s next defensive coordinator Friday, poaching the well-regarded assistant from their division rival. Nielsen will replace Dean Pees, who retired at the end of the 2022 season at the age of 73.
Almost as notable as Atlanta’s hire of Nielsen was the manner in which the club’s social team announced the move.
Taking to Twitter on Friday evening, the Falcons tweeted out an eye-rolling dad joke to accompany the official announcement of the hire. Be warned: what you’re about to read will likely make you cringe.
“Our Nielsen rating just went up,” the team wrote.
A real knee-slapper.
Nielsen, 43, spent the past six seasons with the Saints where he served as the team’s defensive line coach for all six years. He added the title of assistant head coach in 2021 and the co-defensive coordinator role last season.
Since Nielsen first joined the Saints in 2017, New Orleans has racked up 281 sacks—the second-most in the NFL during that span. The Saints defense has also been particularly strong against the run, finishing among the top four teams in the league in run defense in four of the past five seasons.
In a corresponding move to Nielsen’s hire, the Falcons also let go of three defensive coaches: defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and secondary coach Jon Hoke.