Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said he spoke to a number of successful and influential figures in professional sports following his team's loss in Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots.
Per John Keim of ESPN.com, Quinn talked with several coaches and general managers, including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Cleveland manager Terry Francona, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford. Like Quinn, each of their teams has lost in a championship game or series in recent years.
"I wanted to make sure when I get a chance, whether it's our sport other sports ... to share and learn and gain perspective on how you handle a team and how you handle the players, how you handle the relationship between the owner, GM and head coach or manager," he said. "Those are topics that come up."
The Falcons held a 28-3 lead over the Patriots in the second half before New England engineered the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, ultimately winning in overtime.
"You have to acknowledge it," he said of the heartbreaking loss. "You have to own the moments that went bad. But you also have to own the ones that went well, too. That's what I intend to do."
The coaches and general manager Quinn consulted shared a similar message.
"It was more like, 'Hey, man, it's tough,'" Quinn noted. "But this is what we signed up for. As a real competitor, that's the attitude you can take, to say this is the world we live in, embrace it."
Kerr famously saw his Warriors blow a 3-1 lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year's NBA Finals. Francona saw his Cleveland team blow a similar 3-1 lead to the Chicago Cubs. And Carroll is familiar with blowing a sure thing against the Patriots after Russell Wilson threw an interception on the 1-yard line with less than a minute remaining in Super Bowl XLIX and the Seahawks trailing by four.
"When you have the disappointment at the end, you're not over it, you're past it, but it's OK to let it fuel you where you can to go," Quinn said. "That's where I'm at."
With Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman powering an electrifying offense and the team's defense continuing to improve, the Falcons are in excellent shape to compete for another Super Bowl title in the coming years.
"We had tears, but not finger-pointing because that's how tight this team is," Quinn said. "Then you go back and battle again. You have to turn; this is 2017."