INDIANAPOLIS After two seasons and one, crushing Super Bowl title squandered, Dan Quinn has perhaps the most important aspect of leadership nailed.
Taking full responsibility.
The former Seahawks’ defensive coordinator showed how solid he was in his first head-coaching job in Atlanta here Wednesday on the first morning of the NFL combine. Quinn stood tall and answered more than 15 minutes of questions at a podium inside the Indiana Convention Center. He continued answering for at least that long more questions from a smaller group of reporters off to the side. Many of the questions were about his Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead in the second half of their overtime loss to New England in Super Bowl 51 last month. As if he hadn’t been asked about it enough already -- it was only the biggest collapse from win to loss in Super Bowl history.
Pointedly, Quinn was asked about the Falcons throwing the ball after moving into range for what would have been a clinching field goal and two-score lead late in the fourth quarter. Instead of running on second and third downs, Atlanta had NFL Most Valuable Player Matt Ryan pass twice. Ryan got sacked on what Quinn said Wednesday was a missed blocking assignment. Then the Falcons got a holding penalty. That backed them far out of field-goal range and kept it a one-score game the Patriots ultimately tied -- then won epically in overtime.
“I was on the headset (with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, now the 49ers’ new coach). I own that call, too,” Quinn said, firmly.
“The consequences were real.”
Quinn left the Seahawks following their almost-as-bad loss to New England at the end of Super Bowl 49 to become a first-time head coach for the Falcons before the 2015 season. He defended his decision to pass on second down from the Patriots 23 and less than 4 minutes left in regulation last month, with Atlanta leading 28-20. He said he was willing to take his chances with the league’s MVP throwing to Julio Jones, the All-Pro who had just made his stupendous catch linked above to get the Falcons down there, and a group of dynamic receivers. They were why Atlanta in 2016 tied the St. Louis Rams’ old “Greatest Show on Turf” as the seventh-highest scoring offense in any NFL season.
But, Quinn added, “if you had told me that if we ran the ball two more times, gained yards and would have no penalties, yeah, I would have signed up for that.”
A PR staffer then cut off the questioning, saying Quinn had to get to other appointments. Quinn turned back to the small group of reporters that remained. He said if any had follow-up questions to please let him know, through a Falcons staffer.
“I want to answer all of your questions today,” Quinn said.
Then he walked away with the PR guy while saying, “Thank you, guys.”
No wonder his former Seahawks defensive player still love them some “DQ.”