For The Love Of God, NFL, Please Do Not Let Dan Quinn Be A Head Coach Again

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Robert McGreevy Contributor
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The Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator is getting head coaching buzz in the media for the third year in a row and I’d be remiss if I didn’t step in and warn the general managers of the NFL that under no circumstances should this man be allowed to lead a team again. 

At this point, you may be asking yourself: what’s wrong with Dan Quinn? He’s had some success. He led the Atlanta Falcons to two playoff berths and an NFC championship in his five-and-a-quarter seasons there. 

That’s right, he did lead them to an NFC Championship… and then fumbled a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots on his way to the biggest choke job in Super Bowl history. 

Quinn, a man who is touted as a defensive wizard, allowed Tom Brady and James White to tear his defense apart and put up 31 points in the second half alone.

In Quinn’s four full seasons in Atlanta, the team finished outside the bottom 10 in points against just twice, finishing a middling 14th in 2015 and an impressive eighth in 2017, per Pro Football Reference. (RELATED: Atlanta Falcons Won’t Fire Head Coach Dan Quinn After 2 Bad Seasons)

Outside of that one good year they also finished 27th in 2016, 25th in 2018 and 23rd in 2019, a year in which Quinn insisted on playing both the roles of head coach and defensive coordinator. 

In 2020, the Falcons fired Quinn halfway through the year after the team started the season 0-5 while giving up a whopping 32.2 points a game. 

Now, maybe you could give Quinn the benefit of the doubt. He’s had top-five defenses in all three years he’s been in Dallas. Then again, he does have some generational talents in Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence that simply were not available in Atlanta. But it isn’t just his defensive acumen that I take issue with. Some of the decisions he made in Atlanta were downright head-scratchers. 

I will never forget his 2015 decision to kick a field goal on the one-yard line against the Blaine Gabbert-led 49ers while his team was down four points with three minutes to go. Sure, Quinn’s Falcons converted the field goal to pull within a point of tying, but they also kicked the ball back to the 9ers and never got it back. Talk about stupid!

And the cherry on top was his inability to recognize talent where he had it.

After wunderkind offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left the Falcons staff to helm the 49ers, Quinn had his pick of the litter of NFL-ready OCs to replace him. Both current Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins head coaches Matt LaFleur and Mike McDaniel were waiting in the wings, but Quinn instead chose an outside hire: Steve Sarkisian, a college football coach with a public history of alleged alcohol abuse. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.

The Falcons have yet to return to relevance, while LaFleur and McDaniel have both clinched playoff spots for their teams this year. 

Now, to be fair, I like Quinn as a person. The NFL Salute to Service honoree seems like a standup guy off the field and I will begrudgingly admit he’s done a great job with the Dallas defense. 

But, unfortunately, I believe he’s shown time and again that the burdens of leading a program are just too heavy for him. I mean kicking it with 3 minutes left, come on!