The Falcons' 8-8 record last year was a disappointment for a couple of reasons. First, because the Falcons had that magical rookie season under Mike Smith, the team's previous head coach, where they rebounded from a lousy, Bobby Petrino-ridden year to make the playoffs. Second, because the team started 5-0 and then utterly collapsed, which sucked. A lot.
Still, I hadn't really thought about how Dan Quinn's first year stacked up against his historical counterparts, so I decided to run the numbers. The list you see below doesn't include any interim coaches, and in the case of Marion Campbell, we only went with his first stint with the Falcons. The numbers, as you can see, are not pretty.
Dan Quinn: 8-8
Mike Smith: 11-5
Bobby "Asshat" "Douchebag" Petrino: 4-12*
Jim Mora: 11-5
Dan Reeves: 7-9
June Jones: 7-9
Jerry Glanville: 5-11
Dan Henning: 7-9
Leeman Bennett: 7-7
Marion Campbell: 4-10
Norm Van Brocklin: 6-8
Norb Hecker: 3-11
Only Mike Smith and Jim Mora (Jr.) (Esq.) finished with winning records in their first season with the Falcons. Only Quinn and Leeman Bennett managed a .500 record, with Petrino, Campbell, and Hecker turning in the worst three seasons for Falcons' coaches. It reminds you, painfully, of just how bad the Falcons have been throughout most of their history, although obviously Van Brocklin, Bennett, and Dan Reeves went on to have at least semi-successful careers in Atlanta.
With any luck, of course, that .500 start for Quinn will be an early blip in the best coaching career in Falcons history. Hey, a man can dream.
*Ol' Bobby tucked tail and ran away from the Falcons with nothing more than some typewritten notes to players, so he didn't finish out that season. I'm going to give the full 4-12 record to him regardless because it's an awful record and he's an awful human being.