Dan Quinn (American football)

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Dan Quinn
Coach Dan Quinn at Atlanta Falcons training camp
Quinn with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016
Dallas Cowboys
Position:Defensive coordinator
Personal information
Born: (1970-09-11) September 11, 1970 (age 50)
Morristown, New Jersey
Career information
High school:Morristown (NJ)
College:Salisbury State
Career history
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season:43–42 (.506)
Postseason:3–2 (.600)
Career:46–44 (.511)
Coaching stats at PFR

Daniel Patrick Quinn (born September 11, 1970) is an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He came to prominence as the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks from 2013 to 2014 where he was the playcaller for the team's Legion of Boom secondary. Under Quinn, Seattle led the league in defense and made two Super Bowl appearances for consecutive seasons, winning the franchise's first in Super Bowl XLVIII. This success led to Quinn being named head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, where he served for six seasons.

Quinn's most successful season with the Falcons came in 2016 when he led the team to Super Bowl LI, an accomplishment overshadowed by the Falcons surrendering the largest lead in Super Bowl history. Atlanta would make the playoffs only one more time under Quinn, leading to dismissal early into the 2020 season.

Early life and playing career[edit]

Born in Morristown, New Jersey,[1] Quinn grew up in nearby Morris Township and played high school football at Morristown High School in Morristown,[2][3] from which he graduated in 1989.[4] He attended Salisbury State University (now Salisbury University), an NCAA Division III school, and played on its football team as a defensive lineman from 1990 to 1993. He was a four-year starter in football and track and field and was named All Mason-Dixon in 1994 for his record-breaking hammer throw (168.8 feet) while representing Salisbury State in the NCAA track championships that year as well. Dan was a two-time football team captain and captained the track and field team in 1994. After the 1993 football season, Quinn was co-awarded the prestigious Bobby Richards award. Quinn was inducted in the Salisbury University athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.[5]

Coaching career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Quinn began his coaching career with the William & Mary Tribe football team in 1994 and at Virginia Military Institute in 1995, working with their defensive lines.[6] From 1996 to 1999, Quinn served as the defensive line coach at Hofstra and their defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in 2000.

San Francisco 49ers[edit]

In 2001, Quinn was hired as a defensive quality control coach by the San Francisco 49ers under head coach Steve Mariucci.[7] In 2003, Quinn was promoted to defensive line coach.

Miami Dolphins[edit]

In 2005, Quinn was hired by the Miami Dolphins as their defensive line coach.

New York Jets[edit]

In 2007, Quinn was hired in the same role by the New York Jets.

Seattle Seahawks[edit]

On January 12, 2009, Quinn was hired as an assistant head coach and defensive line coach by the Seattle Seahawks.


In 2011, Quinn left Seattle to serve as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the Florida Gators during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Seattle Seahawks (second stint)[edit]

On January 17, 2013, Quinn returned to Seattle as their defensive coordinator, replacing Gus Bradley, who became the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach. Quinn was a 2012 finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.[8]

In Quinn's first season as defensive coordinator, the Seahawks led the league in fewest points allowed, fewest yards allowed, and takeaways with 231, 4,378, and 39, respectively, to become the first team since the 1985 Chicago Bears to accomplish the feat; the Seahawks went on to win Super Bowl XLVIII over the Denver Broncos.[9][10]

Atlanta Falcons[edit]

On February 2, 2015, Quinn reached an agreement to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.[11]

2015 season[edit]

On September 14, Quinn won his first game as the head coach of the Falcons, when his team beat the visiting Philadelphia Eagles 26–24 on Monday Night Football. The Falcons got off to a 5–0 start in Quinn's first season, but finished the season 8–8 and missed the playoffs.[12]

2016 season (Super Bowl LI)[edit]

In the 2016 season, Quinn's Falcons finished the year with an 11–5 record, which was good enough to win the NFC South and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.[13] In the Divisional Round, the Falcons defeated Quinn's former team, the Seattle Seahawks, 36–20, advancing to the NFC Championship for just the fourth time in franchise history.[14]

On January 22, 2017, Quinn's Falcons won the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers 44–21, clinching a berth to play in Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots.[15] Up 21–3 at halftime and 28–3 in the third quarter, the Falcons blew the largest lead in Super Bowl history and lost the game in overtime by a score of 34–28.[16][17]

2017 season[edit]

In the 2017 season, Quinn's Falcons finished the year 10–6, which was only good enough for 3rd in the NFC South and for the 6th seed in the playoffs. In the Wild Card Round, the Falcons defeated the 3rd seeded Los Angeles Rams 26–13, and advanced to the divisional round. In the Divisional Round, the Falcons fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles 15–10.

2018 season[edit]

In the 2018 season, Quinn's Falcons were injury riddled throughout the season, losing seven starters to injured reserve and more for at least a game. Ultimately the Falcons finished 7–9, which placed the Falcons at second in the NFC South, and as the eight seed in the NFC, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Following the firing of defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, Quinn took on the position of defensive coordinator for the Falcons.

2019 season[edit]

In the 2019 season, Quinn's Falcons started the first half of the season going 1–7 with growing speculation that Falcons owner Arthur Blank would fire Quinn sometime during or at the end of the season. After a defensive turnaround with Quinn distributing some of the defensive play calling duties to assistants, the Falcons finished the season at 7–9 once again placing second in the NFC South and missing the playoffs for a second consecutive year. Following the season, Blank announced that Quinn would return for the 2020 season.[18]

2020 season[edit]

On September 13, 2020, Quinn suffered his first loss along with the Atlanta Falcons for the 2020 NFL season by losing to the Seattle Seahawks 38–25. This loss marked Quinn's 40th loss of his head coaching career including playoff losses. On October 11, 2020, after an 0–5 start to the season, the Falcons first since 1997, Quinn, along with the general manager Thomas Dimitroff were both released by the Falcons.[19] Quinn finished his tenure in Atlanta with a 43–42 (.506) regular season record, 3–2 (.600) playoff record and a 46–44 (.511) career record.

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

On January 11, 2021, Quinn was hired by the Dallas Cowboys as their defensive coordinator under head coach Mike McCarthy, replacing Mike Nolan, who was dismissed following the 2020 season.[20]

Head coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
ATL 2015 8 8 0 .500 2nd in NFC South
ATL 2016 11 5 0 .688 1st in NFC South 2 1 .667 Lost to New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI
ATL 2017 10 6 0 .625 3rd in NFC South 1 1 .500 Lost to Philadelphia Eagles in NFC Divisional Game
ATL 2018 7 9 0 .438 2nd in NFC South
ATL 2019 7 9 0 .438 2nd in NFC South
ATL 2020 0 5 0 .000 Fired
Total 43 42 0 .506 3 2 .600


  1. ^ Dan Quinn: Head Coach, Atlanta Falcons. Accessed February 20, 2017. "Quinn was born in Morristown, New Jersey."
  2. ^ Bonasera, Paul. "Quinn coaching winners on the field and off in Morris Twp.", Daily Record (Morristown), December 10, 2008. Accessed February 27, 2013. "Dan, the youngest of six children, was captain of the Morristown High School football team."
  3. ^ Staff. "Morris Township basks in reflected glory of Super Bowl star", Morris NewsBee, February 3, 2014. Accessed February 20, 2017. "The defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks, Dan Quinn, is a native son of Morris Township, a Morristown High School graduate and the brother of Township Administrator Timothy Quinn."
  4. ^ Coughlin, Kevin. "Falcon coach Dan Quinn’s road to Super Bowl started at Morristown High", MorristownGreen.com, February 5, 2017. Accessed February 20, 2017. "The youngest of six kids, Quinn grew up in Morris Township playing baseball and football. At Morristown High School, where he graduated in 1989, he captained the football team for two years, playing center and linebacker and winning all-conference honors as a senior."
  5. ^ Clark, Glenn. "Atlanta Falcons Head Coach, Salisbury University Alum Dan Quinn Makes University Proud". Press Box Online. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  6. ^ Rohan, Tim. "Dan Quinn's Coaching Roots at William & Mary". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  7. ^ McClure, Vaughn. "Former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci reflects on giving Dan Quinn his NFL shot". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  8. ^ "Dan Quinn Named Finalist for Broyles Award". Florida Gators Athletics. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Mayer, Larry (February 4, 2014). "Comparing Seahawks to '85 Bears". Chicago Bears. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  10. ^ "Super Bowl XLVIII – Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos – February 2nd, 2014". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  11. ^ Mcclure, Vaughn (February 2, 2015). "Falcons to introduce Dan Quinn". ESPN. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
  12. ^ "2015 Atlanta Falcons Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  13. ^ "2016 Atlanta Falcons Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  14. ^ "Divisional Round – Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons – January 14th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  15. ^ "NFC Championship – Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons – January 22nd, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  16. ^ Chadiha, Jeffri. "Falcons' historic collapse leads to Patriots' fifth Super Bowl win". NFL. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  17. ^ "Super Bowl LI – New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons – February 5th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  18. ^ "Falcons' Dan Quinn, GM Dimitroff to return in 2020". NFL.com. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  19. ^ "Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, coach Dan Quinn relieved of their duties". www.atlantafalcons.com. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  20. ^ "Dan Quinn Agrees To Terms As Cowboys' New DC". www.dallascowboys.com. Retrieved January 11, 2021.

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