It’s reset time for the Falcons.
That’s the term coach Dan Quinn is using less than two months after one of the worst collapses in NFL history and certainly the worst in a Super Bowl.
That blown 25-point lead in the second half and loss in overtime to New England isn’t being forgotten. It isn’t being harped on, either.
“Grieving is not for me,” Quinn said. “It’s for (Falcons owner) Arthur Blank and the players and the team.
“I hope you see the connection between the city and the team, those things are a lot more important to me; to not get that final piece it takes to reward the fan base, that’s where my disappointment is.”
Quinn reached out to Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona to find out how they dealt with the disappointment of losing in the postseason after building 3-1 leads last year.
Quinn also has spoken with San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford — whose team lost in the NBA Finals in 2013, only to win it the following season — and Quinn’s former Seattle Seahawks boss, Pete Carroll.
They weren’t misery-loves-company conversations.
“It was more like, ‘Hey, man, it’s tough,'” Quinn said Wednesday. “But this is what we signed up for. As a real competitor, that’s the attitude you can take, to say this is the world we live in, embrace it.
“When you have the disappointment at the end, you’re not over it, you’re past it, but it’s OK to let it fuel you where you can to go,” Quinn said. “That’s where I’m at.”
Not that it’s an easy spot to reach. Quinn has been part of two crushing losses in the Super Bowl, having served as Seattle’s defensive coordinator when the Seahawks lost thanks to a last-minute interception at the goal line by New England in February 2015.
But now he’s the head coach, responsible for setting a tone in the building for his assistants and players. That’s one reason he wanted to speak to people such as Kerr, Francona and Buford.
Shortly after Kerr texted him, they spoke on the phone — the two first met in 2013 when Kerr visited Seattle’s training camp. The meeting with Francona was pre-arranged, knowing he’d still be in spring training in Arizona.
Quinn said he didn’t know if there was a commonality to their defeats. After all, his played out in one quarter; for Kerr and Francona, it was over several days. But the end result was the same. The Falcons lost the largest lead in Super Bowl history. Kerr’s Warriors were the first team to blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, losing to Cleveland in a tight Game 7 last June. The Indians took a 3-1 lead in the World Series, but lost in extra innings in Game 7 in November.
“When it ends with a loss, it’s hard,” Quinn said. “[It’s] how you handle your team, how you handle the emotions of that.
“I wanted to make sure when I get a chance, whether it’s our sport other sports … to share and learn and gain perspective on how you handle a team and how you handle the players, how you handle the relationship between the owner, GM and head coach or manager. Those are topics that come up.”