His brother-in-law is former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick, who set up Smith on a blind date with his wife's sister Julie when Billick and Smith coached together at San Diego State.I have a hard time picturing any NFL coach -- and particularly Billick, whom Tony Kornheiser famously dubbed a preening schmo -- having a pleasant conversation over a holiday dinner. When you've got two of them together, it must be brutal.
But I mostly find this interesting because Smith is only an NFL head coach today because Billick gave him a break. If you look at Smith's coaching resume, you'll see that he had worked at San Diego State, Morehead State and Tennessee Tech, and then suddenly jumped up to a job with the Ravens in 1999, which just happened to be the year that Billick became head coach there. Not many coaches make the leap from Tennessee Tech to the NFL, unless their new boss is also their brother-in-law.
Smith might turn out to be a fine coach for the Falcons. But he wouldn't have the opportunity if it weren't for nepotism.