By conceding what didn't happen last season, Quinn lent credence to his ultimate assertion -- that it's happening now. Because it is. (Yes, I'm surprised to be typing these words, but these are, to borrow from Paul Simon, the days of miracle and wonder.) A year ago, the Falcons were a team in transition posing as imposing. These Birds aren't poseurs. These Birds are playoff-caliber. These Birds are good.
Back to Quinn: In that tiny admission -- that he wanted something and hadn't gotten it -- he offered a hint as to why these Falcons, like the Seattle defenders before them, play so hard for him. When he speaks from the heart and not a bullet-pointed list of Talking Points, his words have power. I've been around him a bit over these past few months, but this was maybe the second time I thought: There's a real guy in there.
I understand. Every corporate entity wants its spokesperson to hew the corporate line. The Falcons cowed Mike Smith, who needed little coaxing, into seven seasons amiable banalities -- it's always daunting to have the team's high-profile owner sitting front and center at every postgame briefing, which doesn't happen many (if any) other places -- and Quinn joined the CoachSpeak queue. But that does a disservice to Quinn himself, same as it did with Smith. Sometimes your spokesperson needs to, you know, speak.
Quinn would appear a bright and intriguing guy, but the bromides come so thick and fast that the power of the messenger can be lost in his desire to Stay On Message. After last December's 38-0 embarrassment in Charlotte, Quinn wobbled
and deemed such a showing "totally unacceptable."
When someone (blush again) asked what that meant, he mumbled something about "finishing" -- another buzzkill buzzword -- and that was the end of that.
The Quinn seen in that one moment in Seattle -- seen after a rousing performance that became a bitter loss -- was different. He was forthright in a way that Pete Carroll, his old boss, is forthright. I realize that coaches aren't put on this Earth to entertain us media folks, but the people with press passes aren't so much a constituency as a conduit to fans and even players. As Dan Quinn grows into this job -- and clearly he's doing that -- the hope is that he'll allow himself to be Dan Quinn. Because he's worth knowing.
Super fun reading from a wild Western swing:
Dan Quinn's Falcons are "coming together."
The Falcons didn't win, but they made one guy believe (me).
The Falcons got jobbed but did themselves proud.
Having taken down Denver, the 4-1 Falcons head to Seattle.
The Falcons rock a rookie in the Rockies.