Dan Quinn was named the 16th head coach in Atlanta Falcons history in February of 2015. In two years, he has compiled a 19-13 regular season record and a 2-1 postseason mark, while leading the club to an NFC title and its second Super Bowl appearance. Under Quinn’s guidance, Atlanta built on an 8-8 season in 2015 to finish at 11-5 last season. In his first playoff appearance as a head coach, Quinn dispatched his former team, the Seattle Seahawks, in the divisional round before closing the Georgia Dome with a 44-21 defeat of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Despite falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in the NFL’s first Super Bowl decided by overtime, Quinn has built a brotherhood that is poised to challenge the NFC’s top echelon teams for years to come.
Last season, Quinn’s leadership helped produce six Pro Bowlers, including quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Devonta Freeman, wide receiver Julio Jones, center Alex Mack, outside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr., and placekicker Matt Bryant. Ryan became the first player in franchise history to be named NFL MVP and joined Jones and Beasley as Associated Press first team All-Pros. Additionally, Quinn earned the NFL’s Salute to Service award for his commitment to honoring and supporting the armed services and the military community.
Quinn’s influence on Atlanta’s young defense was clearly seen in 2016 as several first and second-year players filled key roles on the unit. His impact was perhaps clearest on Beasley, who took the NFL’s sack crown with 15.5 in his second year in the league – the second most by a Falcon in a single season since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Quinn’s defensive line pedigree also helped lead to the emergence of defensive tackle Grady Jarrett who tied a Super Bowl record by sacking Tom Brady three times in Houston. While second-year players like Beasley and Jarrett emerged as playmakers, last season’s rookie class also made an instant impact. First-round pick Keanu Neal and second-rounder Deion Jones were both strong candidates for defensive rookie of the year after finishing as the top two tacklers among first-year players.
Atlanta’s young and improving defense was buoyed by the NFL’s top scoring offense in 2016. The Falcons captured their fourth NFC South title and secured the NFC’s second seed in the playoffs following an 11-5 season. While the offense fired on all cylinders, Quinn’s defense showed great strides over final month of the season. Atlanta allowed 25.7 points per game for its first 11 games last season. Over the final five games of the regular season that number dropped to just 20.8 points per game. In playoffs, the defense held the Seahawks and Packers to 20 and 21 points on the way to winning the NFC title.
Despite falling just short of reaching NFL’s pinnacle last season, Quinn began 2017 with Everest mountaineering metaphor. His team had made a summit push and was forced back from the 29,000 ft. peak, but not all the way to zero, not to sea level. The Falcons opened the offseason at basecamp, some 12,000 feet from the summit, where they would begin to acclimatize for another run at the peak.
Quinn focused his team on owning the process of preparing and improving. This program focuses on three pillars – ball, brotherhood, and battle. The regard for the ball on offense and defense, the connection between players, and constant competition. After two seasons, Quinn said the team had moved from a neighborhood to a brotherhood. He continued his quest to create the best culture in professional sports by bringing back Acumen Preformance Group to work with his players on sharpening their mental and physical skills. Each phase of the offseason was centered around the pillars of the program and aimed at finding a way to make each player one percent better.
Quinn was a four-year letter winner and two-time co-captain at Division III Salisbury (Md.) State as a defensive lineman, where he recorded 139 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He also lettered in track and held the school record in the hammer throw. He was inducted into the Salisbury State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Quinn’s charitable foundation, Quinn’s Corps, which he and his wife, Stacey, started in 2005, serves members of the military both at home and abroad. Quinn’s foundation provides military families that are stateside with tickets to games while sending special care packages to soldiers that are deployed overseas.
Quinn was born in Morristown, New Jersey. He and his wife, Stacey, reside in Suwanee, Ga.