Twas the day before Christmas, and it’s time to leave some presents under the tree for sports teams and personalities in the state of Georgia.
For Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith: A reprieve. This isn’t his fault, regardless of what happens Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Sure, Smith cost the Falcons the games against Detroit and Cleveland, but the players have played hard for him the past few weeks. Smith will get fired if the Falcons lose Sunday, and if he does, he better not be the only one. He’s the one who should stay.
For Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff: A new job. This is his fault, regardless of what happens Sunday against the Panthers. His decisions and his bad draft picks have this team in the shape it’s in. Keep Smith. Fire Dimitroff.
For Falcons owner Arthur Blank: The intelligence to know what to do with his team, like hiring a man who can find a running back and a pass rusher, maybe an offensive lineman, as well.
For former Georgia star and Kansas City Chiefs pass rush specialist Justin Houston: A ticket home to Georgia. The Falcons desperately need you.
For UGA head coach Mark Richt: The book “How to Coach Special Teams for Dummies.” A squib kick? Really? And we wonder why the tone of Bulldogs fans is different after this particular mediocre season. No coach who has been around 14 years should make that big of a mistake.
For new Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo: Three years to get ready to come back to Athens for a much larger salary. That should be long enough for him to learn what it takes to be a head coach.
For Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson: Some respect. He craves it, even if he tries to pretend he doesn’t care. It might take more than one great season for him to get it, but he has the Yellow Jackets in a very good place.
For Georgia basketball head coach Mark Fox: More respect. Maybe he has fixed what was broken and there is more talent on his basketball team. It’ll take awhile for people to get interested again, but he might be on his way.
For Mercer basketball coach Bob Hoffman: A lifetime contract. Never let the man leave. He’s a heck of a coach and will keep Mercer basketball relevant for a long time if he stays.
For Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez: He’s the luckiest man in the world to keep his job after the debacle of 2014. So let’s get him a one-way ticket out of town, just in case he needs to use it before 2017. There is no way he’ll be the manager when the Braves open the new stadium in Cobb County.
For new Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer: An open bar in the coaches’ locker room. He’ll need it working with B.J. Upton.
For the new Braves’ front office: A trade for Evan Gattis, who does not need to play left field next season. Let’s hope some team offers the Braves a pitcher they can’t refuse.
For Braves fans: Patience. You are going to need it. The next two years might be challenging, but really, can they be worse than last season? No.
For the Hawks: Respect. Yes, we have ignored you too long and need to pay attention. This is a good and maybe great team, and it’s time for everyone to jump on the bandwagon.
For the Thrashers: Oh, wait, they left awhile back, didn’t they? No one even noticed. That one’s for you Chuckie Olson.
For sports fans in the state of Georgia: A championship. Will a football, baseball or basketball team please win a championship? It’s long overdue -- like 20 years now since the Braves won it all. That’s what we all want for Christmas.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.