Falcons lure Petrino away from Louisville

Jan 8, 2007 - 3:17 AM LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) - Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has found an offensive guru for Michael Vick.

The University of Louisville confirmed on Sunday night that Bobby Petrino will leave the program to coach the Falcons.

According to the NFL Network, Petrino agreed to a five-year contract worth $24 million.

Last July, Petrino signed a 10-year contract extension worth $25 million with Louisville.

This past season, Louisville won the Big East Conference, beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl and finished with a 12-1 record.

Petrino, 45, has guided the Cardinals to a 41-9 record in his four years with the school.

Petrino is best known for his innovative passing game which featured quarterbacks Brian Brohm and Stefan LeFors. Louisville's offense finished in the top 10 nationally in each of Petrino's four campaigns.

Now he will work with Vick, who became the first NFL quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards this past season but ranked 20th in the NFL with a passer rating of 75.7, completing less than 53 percent of his passes for 2,474 yards and 20 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.

The Falcons fired coach Jim Mora Jr. on January 1 after finishing 7-9 this past season.

Mora guided the Falcons to a division title and a trip to the NFC championship game in his first year as coach in 2004. But the Falcons missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record in 2005 and faded again this past season, losing seven of their last nine games.

The son of former NFL coach Jim Mora, Mora Jr. was 26-22 in three seasons with Atlanta.

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