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In Bill Belichick's Shadow at Super Bowl LI

In some respects, Sunday's Super Bowl will be David vs Goliath.  Don't get me wrong, I think the Falcons are the better team here, but we are talking more about reputation than currently ability.

If there is one thing that smacks of all this, it's what I noticed on Tuesday.  Am I the only one who noted that, at the interview podium, Dan Quinn wore his credentials around his neck, but Bill Belichick did not?  To me, that speaks volumes!  There was Quinn, who has been there only as an assistant with Seattle, compared with Belichick, who is looking for his fifth Super Bowl championship as a head coach. One is still mired (at least right now) in obscurity and the other is probably the greatest head coach of the salary-cap era in the NFL.

Atlanta Falcons Media Availability
Head coach Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons addresses the media during the Super Bowl LI press conference on January 31, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Nevertheless, chances are Dan Quinn's name (and likeness) will be remembered for years to come.  It's very apparent that if you have watched his press conferences, either live on recorded, that he treats the media with respect.  He comes off as a good guy.  Belichick, not so much.

Appearances and reputation aside, Quinn's "coaching tree" just shows how much experiences with the right coaches can make a difference.  His journey has taken him through both William and Mary and VMI, a few more college stops, then to the NFL, back to college, on to Seattle and now here in Atlanta.  Along the way, Quinn has worked under both Nick Saban and Pete Carroll.  That means something.

In 2012, Mike Smith brought the Falcons to within one game of the Super Bowl.  Two seasons later, he was done. In his seven years as head coach of the Falcons, he did a fine job.  If nothing else, he eased the pain of the years under Bobby Petrino and Jim Mora, Jr.

So, things can

New England Patriots Media Availability
Bill Belichick of the Patriots (no credential) answers questions during Super Bowl LI media availability at the J.W. Marriott on January 31, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

happen quickly in the world of "what have you done for me lately?"  Aside from the fact that he got the Falcons over the NFC Championship Game hump, there is something different about Quinn...his use of the moniker "Brotherhood," the no-nonsense way he approaches media briefings, the way he speaks in sound bites and phrases and the way he seemingly has the respect of his players and coaches...that makes him a good fit for the Falcons.  Sure, all teams sing the praises of their coach.  But now when you hear it, you believe it.

Super Bowl Opening Night at Minute Maid Park
The Vince Lombardi Trophy is seen onstage during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night on January 30, 2017 (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Win or lose this Super Bowl, I think we might be watching the formation of one of the next great young head coaches in the NFL.  This all comes in the face of the NFL telling us how great Jason Garrett (Dallas), Bill O'Brien (Houston) and Jay Gruden (Washington) are.


Quinn has a long way to go--a long way to get to the same level as Belichick.  A win Sunday will help cement, on a national level, what we in Atlanta have known the past two seasons.  He is a top flight coach who has this team and this city believing in itself.

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