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Why It Is Difficult to Criticize the Jets for Not Hiring Dan Quinn

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Two years ago, the Jets were looking for a head coach. Dan Quinn was one of the people they interviewed for the job. Ultimately they hired Todd Bowles. This year the Jets had an awful season, while Quinn is on his way to the Super Bowl. Naturally, there has been criticism for the Jets. Did they hire the wrong coach?

The truth is we don’t know that right now. Bowles could turn things around next season. Quinn might follow the career path of unsuccessful coaches who got off to hot starts in their careers. At this point, you could argue it doesn’t look great. So is criticism of the Jets fair?

Much of it revolves around the Super Bowl two years ago. There has been a perception that the Jets moved quickly on Bowles because Quinn was defensive coordinator of the NFC Champion Seahawks. Did the Jets simply get impatient and go with Bowles because they didn’t want to wait until after the Super Bowl to hire Quinn?

A lot of people have made that argument this season, but two reports from the past week indicate there was more at play.

Brian Costello laid out what happened in an interesting article that included this important piece of information.

There also was a feeling in league circles Quinn preferred the Falcons because of the presence of Matt Ryan.

There was a second article this week. It was more of a hacky article that bashed the Jets with the benefit of hindsight after the fact and tried to get people riled up. I’m not going to give the author of that article the attention he craves by mentioning his name or linking the story. The amazing part of his Jets bash-a-thon is how he eviscerates his own argument that the Jets messed up.

Atlanta had zeroed in on Quinn, whose ferocious Seattle defenses turned him into the most coveted candidate during the hiring cycle. He had a natural curiosity and interest in coming home after growing up in Morristown, New Jersey, a stone throw's away from Jets headquarters.

The next few hours changed the course of the franchise. The Jets had conversations with people in the know starting a tick before 4 p.m. EDT, but team decision makers weren't given any assurances that Quinn would, indeed, accept their offer after the Seahawks were bounced from the playoffs.

There’s a story you can piece together here. It seems like Quinn preferred the Atlanta job. Why would the Jets sit around if he wouldn’t even assure them he’d take the job?

The Falcons job was frankly a better job at the time. A lot of it had to do with Matt Ryan. Having a quarterback is essential for any coach to have long-term success in the NFL, and it isn’t easy to find one. The Falcons had Ryan. The Jets had nobody.

Atlanta also offered Quinn something the Jets wouldn’t. Coaches want control over personnel. As Bill Parcells once put it, if the coach has to cook the dinner, he wants to shop for the groceries. The Falcons offered Quinn the final say on the 53 man roster. The Jets gave control over their roster to Mike Maccagnan. Final say is a big deal.

These things made the Falcons job a better option, and it isn’t hard to see why Quinn might have preferred Atlanta.

I don’t know whether Todd Bowles will prove to be the right coach for the Jets, but I’m reasonably certain that Dan Quinn was never coming to the Jets once the Falcons became interested. I don’t think you can criticize the Jets much for missing out on a coach they never really had a chance to land.