Written by: Joe Carlino @joecarlino14
Ladies and gentlemen, by now you’re well aware of how poor the Atlanta Falcons have been in this 2019 campaign. Many things which have had to go wrong for this organization a year after an injury-riddled 7-9 campaign have done exactly that, which is why they’re sitting at 1-5 and in last place of a division which many considered was there for them to win. Yes, it’s frustrating, and yes it makes me upset at every turn about what’s going to happen now with almost every game looking like an uphill battle, yet all I see is one subject the media is firing above all cylinders: the Falcons need to fire Dan Quinn, immediately.
Because of that, I want to write this message and hope that our glorious owner, Arthur Blank, takes note of what I’m about to write, because while it’s almost undoubtedly in the minority, everything I will say rings true.
Mr. Blank, ever since you purchased this organization in 2002, we’ve had a revolution of sorts in the football world. Your first experience as an owner? Your Falcons walked into Lambeau Field, a hallowed hall in the NFL, and did what nobody even gave our team a chance of doing: defeat the Green Bay Packers in a playoff game. Think about that: in a three-year span, the team you’ve owned has won then-unwinnable scenarios in the media, both on the road against NFC North opponents. Those teams of the early-mid 2000s were great, as it showed your belief in a team that needed a secure sense of leadership at the top.
Of course, there was that incident in 2007, where the first of many bad things that needed to transpire occurred, most notably a head coach leaving our team high and dry with no legitimate explanation, and we unfortunately suffered a 3-13 year. I’ll be honest: this year was tough, but your support of this organization led to what has arguably been the greatest time to be a Falcons fan in my life.
Look at what happened after this negative span of events happened. Our team got the third pick in the 2008 draft, and after hiring a former Patriots staff member in Thomas Dimitroff to be our GM and a former defensive coach in Mike Smith (still love Smitty, by the way), we selected arguably the best quarterback in our team’s history, Matthew Thomas Ryan, who in his 12-year career has done absolute wonders for our organization and validated what you as an owner look for in our franchise quarterback. Honestly, who doesn’t remember his first career pass: a 62-yard bomb to Michael Jenkins for a touchdown? I was so happy back then, and I’m sure you were as well.
Then came the 2011 draft, and after giving your blessing to TD, the team traded six picks to the Cleveland Browns, and in comes arguably the best receiver to play the game since the days of Jerry Rice and Randy Moss: Quintorrus Lopez “Julio” Jones, the young man out of Alabama, and all he’s done in his career has been transcendental and taken Atlanta to new heights.
Of course, we suffered throughout the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and despite all the media calling for Smitty to be fired after the loss to Detroit in London, you let him coach out the year, and while we did lose badly to Carolina with the division title on the line, that showed a sense of commitment towards your coach, and to me is a remarkable tactic to possess as an owner.
And now we reach the last five years, when you and the organization brought in Dan Quinn to be our head coach. I still remember that day: watching the press conference, I was sold on him being a good replacement to Smith, and he’s proven that on certain occasions. Some of the draft picks he’s had didn’t necessarily pan out, but there have been those ones which have showcased what the Falcons are: a fearsome predator that takes nobody lightly.
Of course, like all of Falcons Nation, I did endure the amount of ridicule and laughter from that fateful Sunday in February, yet I’ll be blunt here: while disappointing for sure, how many teams make it to this point in a year? Two, and we were one of them. Arguably the greatest moment of my life to this point is saying “I’m a diehard Falcons fan, and I got to see my guys play in a Super Bowl during my lifespan” (I should preface that by saying while I was alive in 1998 when they advanced to the Super Bowl, I don’t fully remember that game aside from highlights).
After this loss, everyone predicted us to fall off a cliff and suffer the dreaded “Super Bowl” hangover. But what did Quinn and this team do? They made the playoffs at 10-6, went into Los Angeles (where they weren’t expected to win), and thoroughly dominated the Rams before losing a divisional round game to the Eagles. Another heartbreaking finish, yes, but nonetheless a successful time to be a Falcons fan.
And then we get back to the last two years. Look, I’ll throw away last season because of injuries; that happens to every organization at least once in their history. But this year, however, hasn’t been great, and I’ll admit it’s been downright unpleasant for most Falcons fans. That said, all I read everywhere or see people posting on social media is roughly the same two things: “Fire Dan Quinn” or “Trade Matt Ryan/Julio Jones”. Please pay no attention to these people; while most of them for the former are accredited members of the media, the latter half are just disgruntled fans who have nothing better to do than be trolls and not realize the business side of professional football. They truly don’t realize that “blowing up” an organization simply because wins aren’t accumulating at an above-average pace won’t lead to any immediate positive changes; more often than not, they just lead to more disarray from the interior. If anything, you not responding to these people’s wishes just demonstrates a sense of loyalty to the organization which has made your reputation one of the best. Bias would make me say you’re the best owner in the league; the logical side of me says you’re at worst the fifth best because of this trait.
So, while I’m a member of the media, Mr. Blank, I’m also a diehard member of this organization, and my support will never waver, no matter the circumstance. Of course, I’d like to see our team win a Super Bowl while you’re still alive; you are a model citizen and owner of this league and deserve to be rewarded in such a way. All I ask here is that you stick to your morals and ignore the narrative these media members are trying to put into reality: let Quinn coach out the rest of this year. Even if we struggle to a dismal finish, even if the team becomes “unwatchable” to some, even if the stadium doesn’t get sold out (that’s a different topic), Quinn’s done enough to earn this, in my opinion. It happened to Smith, so it should showcase your commitment to this man and his body of work. Quinn said there’s an “Accountability” trait which is missing in this team, and he’s right. Everyone needs to be held accountable, but nobody deserves to lose their job midseason, regardless of what the narrative is trying to say.
Please, Mr. Blank. Don’t buy into the narrative, because it’s not the time. Don’t break up this team’s coaching staff like Washington did; it’ll ultimately make this year worse than it unfortunately has been.