Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn wasn’t the popular pick in late January 2015. His skeptics went crazy watching the Falcons pass on several seemingly capable candidates. “I want a new head coach right meow!” they yelled. But Arthur Blank had his man, and the team waited until Quinn was officially on the market. Then some fans inexplicably wondered aloud whether he was the right man for the job following a mediocre campaign in 2015. In short, Quinn may be our consensus savior now, but he’s endured some shade over the past two years.
As Super Bowl preparation gets underway, there’s going to be lots of chatter about experience. We’ll hear about how the Patriots have been there, done that, and deflated footballs. And it’s true, this Falcons roster isn’t flush with playoff experience. (Actually, only four players on the current roster have played in a Super Bowl.) But there’s one person that’s been there and done that; his birth name is Daniel Patrick Quinn, maybe you’ve heard of him. (Credit to the talented Vaughn McClure for the quote.)
"We did all this planning during the bye," Quinn said, referring to the first week of the playoffs, when the No. 2 seed Falcons earned a first-round bye. "I didn't share that with the staff, but I did do the planning ahead. I thought that shift had happened where this team was headed in the right area. We were making the improvements necessary to play really well. It was during that bye time that we put the plan together in terms of the structure of how it would work for the next few weeks.”
Obviously Quinn knows this team better than anyone. Having coached the league’s best defense in back to back Super Bowls, he knows what it takes to get there and he knows what it takes to have success once you arrive. Please go read McClure’s article now, if you haven’t already. He does an awesome job laying out Quinn’s approach, dating back to the bye week.
The Falcons may not beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. But one thing is certain: it won’t be because they didn’t know how to prepare. Your thoughts?