McKinley chimes in after UCLA fires former Falcons coach Jim Mora

Sunday was somewhat unique in a corner of Falcons land, not because of anything that happened with the team a day ahead of Monday night’s contest in Seattle, but because former head coach Jim Mora was fired by UCLA and a current Falcon stepped up for him.

It should be quickly noted that rookie defensive end Takk McKinley may not have even known who Mora was when he coached the Falcons from 2004-’06. He came to know the man while playing for him at UCLA from

2014-’16 and for that he piped up on social media Sunday soon after word spread that Mora was out in LA.

I had no idea until seeing McKinley’s Tweet that Mora was at the NFL draft last April, when the Falcons moved up to select him in the first round, let alone that he donned a Falcons ballcap. That wasn’t the only observation to be made about the man.

Mora’s time in Atlanta started off strapped to a rocket.

The team went all the way to the NFC championship game in his maiden season of ‘04 after winning the NFC South with an 11-5 mark only to fall in Philadelphia to Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and the Eagles, 27-10, in frigid, snowy and gritty Veterans Stadium.

So many things went south soon after Atlanta started 6-2 in ‘05.

Mora marked his time by becoming snarky with media, and in that season he dropped one of multiple depth charges when  confronted by reporters about the team’s odd practice of not allowing members of the offensive line -- other than a designated single blocker, frequently someone who didn’t even play -- to be interviewed.

Former offensive line coach/curmudgeon Alex Gibbs insisted on that policy.

So, when a reporter asked about it, and after some contextual conversation about legendary former Atlanta offensive linemen Mike Kenn and Jeff Van Note having been so good in earlier years at providing insight about their team, Mora triggered a bomb.

“Were they good talkers? How were their teams? Pretty good?" he asked. "My point exactly. Seriously, this place never had two winning seasons in a row. Who cares what they had to say? No offense to them. It's the facts. They're great guys, nominated for the Hall of Fame, but it's about winning."

The Falcons finished 2-6 and missed the playoffs to stretch the franchise streak of never making the postseason in consecutive years.

In ‘06, there came a 5-2 start and a 2-7 close to again miss the playoffs at 7-9.

Late in his Atlanta swan song, Mora -- who years earlier was a walk-on defensive back at the University of Washington -- appeared by phone on a Seattle radio show with his buddy Hugh Millen (coincidentally a former Falcons quarterback), and took this question about his potential interest in coaching the Huskies: "You would leave the Falcons for that job?"

Mora’s answer: "Absolutely . . . even if [the Falcons] were in a playoff run.”

That may have been the official end, as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jeff Schultz documented, even though a couple games (losses) remained.

A year in broadcasting did not mellow Mora.

The Seahawks hired him early in 2008 to assist head coach Mike Holmgren, and he took over the team in 2009 upon Holmgren's retirement. Seattle went 5-11, and Mora annoyed so many people that he was fired.

He took over at UCLA in 2013, and the Bruins rolled for a couple years before sagging.

They went 9-5, 10-3, 10-3, 8-5, 4-8 and 5-6 this season before Sunday’s decision by UCLA officials.

It didn't help that Mora kept irritating people.

UCLA fans appeared torn by his firing.