Falcons coach Dan Quinn has received the advice and counsel of Golden State coach Steve Kerr and Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona on how to deal with the franchise’s devastating loss in the Super Bowl.
Kerr and Quinn had met in 2013 when Quinn was with Seattle.
Kerr’s team blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals last season as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first league title.
“He called and said ‘hey man, I recognize. We were up 3-1,’” Quinn said when speaking to reporters at the owners meeting in Arizona on Wednesday. “When we go battled for it, that’s the world that we live in. It’s like competing for those championships is as much fun as you can have.”
Quinn has moved on from the plays that happened in the game and whether the Falcons should have run the ball once they reached the 22-yard line with a chance to go up by two scores.
He talked with Kerr and Francona and others with an eye toward to the 2017 season.
“It’s just like, ‘hey man, I’m here to talk. I know what those dark nights are like and what that feels like,’” Quinn said about his initial call from Kerr. “‘If you want to talk about it, give me a call.’”
The Indians also blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series to the Chicago Cubs.
While the agony of the slide from 3-1 leads to the Falcons’ abrupt 34-28 loss in overtime are different, Quinn still felt there were valuable lessons to learn from coaches in other professional sports.
“Getting a chance to visit with those guys, I just wanted to hear their experience about talking to the team,” Quinn said. “I talked to (general manager) R.C. Buford at San Antonio, too. They had a difficult loss to Miami and then came back to beat them the next year.
“In other sports, there are some guys to talk to. I obviously talked to coach (Pete) Carroll, he’s somebody that’s been a mentor for me for a long time now. It has to be in your own way.”
There wasn’t a common message. But Quinn hoped to glean some knowledge on how to handle the team moving forward. The Falcons start their offseason conditioning program April 17.
“I can’t wait for the guys to get back into our building and kick it off for 2017,” Quinn said.
He wants the team to look at the start of 2017 as a base camp at the bottom of a mountain.
“We have to go back to this spot where we go for it again,” Quinn said. “You make all of the stuff, all the strain, all the grind that you have to put into, and you go for it again.
“I heard Bill Walsh say some time ago, years ago in San Francisco, and it totally captured me back in 2001. … You always want to be within striking distance, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to pick up from where we left off. It’s actually just the opposite. … How can we go for it in the biggest way.”
While professional basketball, baseball and football are much different, there are some things that are central to success.
“When you get a chance, whether if it’s our sports or other sports, if there is stuff to share and gain perspective on how you handle your team, how you handle the players, how you handle the relationship between owner and (general manager), head coach/manager, how do all of those pieces fit together,” Quinn said. “Those are definitely topics that come up when I talk to another manager, another coach of another sport.”
In pro basketball the coaches are not really involved in the scouting, while the NFL televises its scouting combine. In baseball they scout high school players, while in pro football there’s no need to scout high school players.
“Relationships with players, that goes through (all) sports,” Quinn said. “Those are the good connections that I’ve made with coaches in other sports. There is some cool stuff to learn. I’ve got a lot of respect for the other sports with how they handle their players.”