Former NFL GM, Canadian-raised Thomas Dimitroff driving across America for new podcast

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Josie Lepe

What do you do when you can’t find a job? Apparently, you rent a RV.

At least that’s the strategy being employed by former Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The Canadian-raised, two-time NFL Executive of the Year has loaded up and hit the road for an ambitious new podcast entitled The GM Journey.

Dimitroff is driving across the United States on a quest to interview all 32 current NFL general managers and pull back the curtain on what it’s like to run a pro football franchise. Launched two weeks ago, Dimitroff has already published episodes featuring Jason Licht of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mickey Loomis of the New Orleans Saints, and Eric DeCosta of the Baltimore Ravens.

While the informal sit downs are a fascinating listen for anyone interested in front office dynamics and team-building, Dimitroff’s background makes it especially intriguing for Canadian fans.

Born in Ohio, but raised in Ontario where his father coached in the CFL, Dimitroff attended the University of Guelph and played defensive back for the Gryphons from 1985 to 1990. From there, his pro football personnel career started in Saskatchewan with the Roughriders where he was the Canadian scouting coordinator from 1990 to 1991.

Dimitroff jumped to the World League of American Football in 1992 and briefly coached in Japan, before receiving his first NFL job with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993. He spent time with the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns, before joining the dynastic New England Patriots in 2002.

He became Bill Belichick’s director of college scouting a year later and won back-to-back  Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005. Dimitroff was then hired as general manager of the Falcons in 2008, responsible for drafting a core of quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones, offensive lineman Jake Matthews, defensive lineman Grady Jarrett, and linebacker Deion Jones that brought the team tantalizingly close to a victory versus the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

Dimitroff compiled a 113-93 win-loss record along with a 4-6 post-season record in 13 years at the helm in Atlanta, winning NFL Executive of the Year in 2008 and 2010. However, he was fired by the Falcons following an 0-5 start to the 2020 season and has been met by a cold job market.

The new podcast is a unique way to keep busy and stay connected with former friends and rivals. The first slate of recordings is expected to be 15 episodes long, with stops planned in Houston, Arizona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas City, Cleveland, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Detroit.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.