BY Art Thiel 12:12AM 02/06/2017

Thiel: Brady terminates Quinn for a second time

After falling 34-28 in overtime, Falcons coach Dan Quinn had the distinct displeasure of losing Super Bowls twice to the remorseless of Patriots QB Tom Brady, who led insufferable New England to another title.

TB12, the original class of Terminator weapon, was in use Sunday night in Houston. / Skynet

As Tom Brady remorselessly ran down the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night in Houston, I kept thinking about Kyle Reese’s cinematic soliloquy to Sarah Connor regarding The Terminator that was pursuing her and son John:

That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel or pity, or remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

Poor Dan Quinn. The Terminator got him twice at the Super Bowl.

The first time, when he was with the Seahawks as defensive coordinator, Quinn was ahead 24-14 in Phoenix. The second time, as head coach of the Falcons, he was ahead 28-3 in Houston.

Two years ago against one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, Brady completed 13 of his final 15 fourth-quarter passes, including two touchdowns. Sunday, in a deeper hole,  he completed 10 of his final 12, scoring TDs on the final four possessions.

The 34-28 overtime win represented the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, while the win over Seattle represented the championship’s most shocking outcome.

“That’s a hard one for us,” Quinn said Sunday. “There’s no place to put that one.”

Actually, there is. Right next to the other hole in his soul.

Brady became the first QB to win five Super Bowls. He did it despite the NFL’s own attack, a four-game suspension to start the season for his involvement in Deflategate. He did it despite being 39 years old. He did it despite throwing a pick-six for an 82-yard return, and looking dorky trying to tackle.

Most certainly, he did it to spite Commissioner Roger Goodell, judge and jury in Deflategate, as well as millions of fans across America who have grown to sports-hate him and everything about the Patriots, their rules-bending, their success and their general insufferability.

And he did it to Atlanta. Poor Atlanta.

The city has had teams in all four major U.S. team sports. It hosted an Olympics, as well as myriad other national pro and college championships in numerous sports. In January, it even hosted the University of Washington football team one weekend, then the Seahawks the next weekend.

For all that, Atlanta has owned one major team championship — the Braves won the World Series in 1995, the year the Mariners saved baseball in Seattle with their first six weeks of good ball. In 51 years in the NFL, this was only the Falcons’ second Super Bowl appearance. They were clocked by the Denver Broncos in that one 18 years ago.

Until the arrival of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson, Seattle could relate to the pathos.

After the Falcons ended Seattle’s season with a dominant 36-20 playoff win, most Seahawks fans respected the fact that Quinn — to leap to another sci-fi metaphor — was the young Jedi who learned much under Seattle’s Yoda, and the better team, he had.

For three quarters Sunday, Quinn had the better team too. The Falcons flirted with a rout similar to what the Seahawks put on the Broncos two years ago, won 43-8.  Instead, Brady’s eyes glowed red, leading four consecutive scoring drives.

The final came in overtime. After winning the coin flip — of course — Brady moved the Pats 75 yards in eight plays for the sudden-death TD in overtime that denied the Falcons even a chance at the ball.


From a Seattle perspective, the way the Falcons fell — cruel dissolution of a certain victory —  evoked a distinct shudder. The Seahawks’ 28-24 loss to the Pats in Super Bowl XLIX was more abrupt, an interception of what likely would have been the winning touchdown in the final seconds

But the wound was identical to what the Falcons have now — a seeping sore, a  reminder of a chance squandered to beat The Terminator.

“It hurts,” said Falcons LB Deion Jones. “This is definitely a feeling I won’t forget.”

Young Mr. Jones, you have no idea.



  • Paul Harmening

    A begrudging tip of the hat to NFL greatness, the likes of which we’ll never see again. You own it all Brady and Belachick, so please somebody just go home and rest on your laurels and give the rest of the suckers a chance.

    • Jamo57

      The aftermath of the game has forced me to put my sports hate aside and recognize the game for what a great game it was, and what an unbelievable effort it was by Brady and Co. to pull off the comeback. To curse the TV set would be to rob oneself of the realization of having witnessed something really special. Glad it wasn’t the Hawks this time. LOL

      • art thiel

        Thanks, Jamo, for an enlightened way to appreciate a rival’s success.

    • art thiel

      A fair salute, Paul. Gotta acknowledge greatness.

  • Dick/Johnson

    Of course, the Falcons lost SB 23 to the Broncos, not the Bears.
    This small error in the piece is easily forgiven, because you
    posted at 12:12 a.m.

    • art thiel

      Good catch, Dick. Fixed. Between snow prep, company and game, I was distracted. Hell, even Brady throws a pick six now and then.

      Thanks for the good words.

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  • PokeyPuffy

    Blech, cue the Pats dynasty rhetoric. What happened to the Falcon’s pass rush? The sudden death thing in overtime needs to be revisited (altho I don’t think it would have mattered here).

    • art thiel

      As often happens with Brady’s short pass game, defenses wear out by the 4Q. Seahawks did in SB.

  • John M

    Exceptional description of a great game, Art, a fascinating game. Personally, while pulling for Atlanta, I never counted the Pats out, even after some uncharacteristic drops in the first half. And then Quinn – as any good coach would do – slid ever so slightly into ‘Let’s protect the lead’ that led to the Pats second TD. And then the earth began to move . . .

    • art thiel

      Thanks, John. I think OC Kyle Shanahan tightened up a bit. What a shame to fall into that ahead of his final game before becoming Niners coach.

      • Paul Harmening

        Maybe not such a shame for a Seahawks fan. Wouldn’t want the new 49’rs coach going in with a hat full of confidence and a newly acquired SB ring. I look forward to more of those moments from Kyle in the future.

        • John M

          Perhaps, but both teams played great football and I think all the coaches will be mulling it for some time . . .

      • Bruce McDermott

        Not sure that is the right verb, Art. I think Shanahan did the opposite. In Pete Carroll terms, he got “hormonal.” Your all-World receiver makes a phenomenal catch to put you at the Pats’ 22 yard line, first and 10. Something over three minutes left in the game, and you lead by 8. You have one of the most accurate kickers in the league, who has made clutch kicks time and again throughout his career. If you do not gain one more yard, the kick would be under 40 yards. Run three times, force the Pats to use their timeouts. You have a very high probability of being 11 points ahead with under two minutes to go, and the Pats out of timeouts. Instead, you call a pass with a seven step drop!! Pretty much the ONLY call that could screw up your scenario. You don’t need a touchdown, you need to make it a two score game, period. Instead, you “stay aggressive,” because you’ve been “successful all year” being “aggressive.” This is where Quinn blew it. Either he signed off on the call, or he actually made it–the implication from post-game comments is the former, if he had any role at all. Right there is where a head coach needs to grab his OC by the throat and INSIST that he run the ball. To my mind, given the time left on the clock, and the fact the Falcons were ahead, not behind, this was worse than Pete’s screw-up in 49. No issue of saving time for an extra down down, making the run/pass issue debatable. Could New England still have won? Sure. But it’s about the odds, and the coaches did not play them well.

        • art thiel

          Fair point, Bruce. I was thinking about earlier in the game, when I thought he backed off some. But you’re right — ATL had no business calling a 7-step drop when even a FG attempt on first down would have been a more justifiable call.

          Hormones. They be powerful things. I keep thinking that’s what Trump is on.

          • Tman

            It may be more than hormones. What pills and powders cause manic depressive rages, infantile behavior, 15 minute attention span and 3AM tweets?

  • Dave Blowers

    Looks like Atlanta’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is going to wear the Darrel Bevell Hat. Offensive coordinator Dunce of the Year. Great game, as much drama as you get possibly want. Thats why we keep watching. You can’t make this stuff up, it’s better than reality!

    • art thiel

      Sports has always been better than TV’s fake reality. But real-life reality is too scary for most of us.

  • RunningRoy

    Did you look closely at President Bush during the coin toss? He clearly said, “Read my lips: no new Brady’s. One is enough.”

    • art thiel

      Izzat right Roy? I thought he said, “My boy’s not looking so bad now, is he?”

  • Southsound Seahawk

    ‘greatest defenses in NFL history’ What? Wasn’t Cliff Avril out for most of that 4th quarter comeback by Brady? Hmmmm, not sure if I agree with that assessment Art. I think our defense when Brady staged that comeback wasn’t at full strength.

  • Southsound Seahawk

    And as much as I hate Brady and the Patriots I can’t help but be impressed with his comeback performance against the Falcons. Wow. 28-3 and I still felt that Brady & Belichick weren’t done with the game. I’m definitely in the minority here but congratulations to Brady on his record FIVE Superbowl rings. Incredible team they’ve got.