On the eve of the Super Bowl I
drunkenly angrily screamed at my television as the candidates for NFL coach of the year were recited. Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn wasn't nominated. I'll spare you any attempt to justify that omission. I want to talk about a story that was basically glossed over during the 2016 season.
Quinn did some impressive things in 2016. He marched the Falcons through the regular season, navigating various season-ending injuries and revoking his defensive coordinator’s play-calling authority. He knocked off some impressive playoff teams and befuddled Bill Belichick for three quarters in the Super Bowl. But his ability to coach through what was undoubtedly one of the biggest losses in his life was truly remarkable. (Spoiler alert: I’m not talking about the Super Bowl loss.) Quinn basically internalized the death of his father, marching ahead and conducting business as usual in 2016. (Credit to Vaughn McClure; his article is a must-read, go check it out now, if you haven’t already.)
Jim Quinn died during the Falcons' mandatory minicamp, and Dan Quinn showed the strength to proceed with business as usual despite enduring the tragedy. It was the type of toughness his father always instilled in him. Quinn carried on throughout the 2016 season with a heavy heart but remained quiet about his loss. He coached the 11-5 Falcons to the NFC South title and guided them to an improbable Super Bowl berth, accomplishments that would have made his father proud.
Quinn may have some work to do as a head coach, notwithstanding his brilliant defensive mind and uncanny knack for filling out a roster with "his guys." But no one will ever question his character; not for a second. As you’d expect, his work ethic and drive didn’t miraculously materialize out of thin air: he got it from his father, Jim Quinn.
It’s the off-season, and this a fantastic, feel-good story. I dig it. Your thoughts?