An 0-5 start cost Dan Quinn his job as coach of the Falcons.
Owner Arthur Blank made the decision Sunday after his team lost to Carolina 23-16. It made the Falcons winless after five games for just the first time since 1997.
Blank first announced the decision in a letter to season ticket holders. He said Thomas Dimitroff also has been dismissed as general manager.
An interim head coach is to be named Monday.
Team President and CEO Rich McKay has taken on oversight of football operations and will assist Blank in hiring the team’s next coach.
Quinn took the team to the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history, but Atlanta infamously blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots and has a losing record since that February night in 2017.
Arthur Blank speaks on the departure of Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn. pic.twitter.com/UHCq95qBe9— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 12, 2020
He was hired in February 2015, becoming the 16th Falcons head coach after being defensive coordinator of the Seahawks. Quinn was the first coach in franchise history to get off to a 5-0 start, but a midseason slump led to an 8-8 finish.
A high-flying pass attack led by offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan made an MVP out of quarterback Matt Ryan. The Falcons ran through the Seahawks and Packers in the playoffs and midway through the third quarter of Super Bowl 51 appeared headed to the first championship in team history.
But a collapse led to a 34-28 loss and Shanahan left to close the 49ers. The franchise was never the same.
The Falcons are 25-30 since then.
Atlanta did make it back to the playoffs in 2017, finishing 10-6 and earning the wild card. The Falcons won a playoff game at the Los Angeles Rams but lost at Philadelphia.
Both of the last two seasons featured slow starts and strong finishes. In 2018, Atlanta won its last three games and finished second in the NFC South.
The Falcons started 1-7 in 2019, leading to suspicions Quinn might lose his job then. But Blank opted then to stay the course and Atlanta rallied again, going 6-2 in the second half — including a win at eventual NFC champion San Francisco — and another second-place finish in the division.
Quinn finishes with a 43-42 regular season record in Atlanta.
Also gone is Dimitroff, the Falcons’ general manager since 2008.
In his first draft, the Falcons chose Ryan with the third pick out of Boston College. Three years later, Dimitroff organized a huge trade up to pick receiver Julio Jones out of Alabama. He also brought in
Other picks — such as Vic Beasley — didn’t work as well.
Atlanta plays at Minnesota on Oct. 18.