Bryant Young isn’t heading to the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of his two-year stint coaching the Falcons defensive line, but his stint in Atlanta sure does look legendary in hindsight given the way the line has withered since he left. As Kris Rhim at AtlantaFalcons.com notes, the Falcons had 76 sacks over two seasons from 2017 to 2018, and Young’s ability to get the most out of a collection of draft picks and veterans certainly was a factor there.
Of course, the real reason Young is in Canton isn’t that impressive job, but it does deserve a tip of the cap. Young played in 208 games with the 49ers and actually terrorized the Falcons plenty over that long career, putting up 13 sacks in 18 games against Atlanta. He finished his long and storied career as a recognized leader on some fantastic San Francisco squads, piling up 89.5 sacks and consistently terrific run defense primarily as a defensive tackle.
In addition, ex-Falcons head Dan Quinn won the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year award after fixing a Cowboys defense that capsized under ex-Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Love or hate DQ, clearly he wound up being a great fit for the Cowboys, and we’re almost certainly going to see him snagging a head coaching job with some other team in 2023 or 2024.
Most impressively of all, Falcons fan Henry Ison won NFL Fan of the Year, an honor that’s impossible to argue with once you learn that he hasn’t missed a Falcons home game in 51 years. Ison has undoubtedly made a lifetime of fond memories watching this team, but he’s also endured a staggering number of losses that I wouldn’t even want to add up. That’s truly admirable dedication and fortitude.
Congratulations to Young, Quinn and especially Ison for putting up with this team for over half a century.