During a fascinating 2019 campaign in which we’ve seen the New England Patriots lose in the first round of the playoffs, the Baltimore Ravens become a genuine force to be reckoned with, and the San Francisco 49ers set their marker as potential Super Bowl champions, there have also been notable disappointments to consider. This includes teams and players who have failed to live up to the hype or those that just haven’t played as well as they should have given the talent that comprises their roster.
NFL football odds can rise and fall dramatically throughout the regular season as underdogs produce unexpectedly stellar campaigns and former favorites fall from grace in spectacular fashion. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest disappointments in the NFL this year.
Dan Quinn & the Atlanta Falcons
Having made his mark as defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks, helping to shape them into a phenomenally tight and effective unit, a highly promising coaching career beckoned for Dan Quinn.
After taking the head coach position with the Atlanta Falcons and guiding them through a steady first season of growth, he led them to the Super Bowl the following year, only to blow the largest ever lead in Super Bowl history against the New England Patriots in 2017, collapsing in the fourth quarter and overtime.
After making the postseason playoffs in 2017, the 2018 campaign was one plagued by injuries that greatly hampered the Falcons and caused their playoff aspirations to fall short. That said, after firing his defensive coordinator and opting to manage the role himself, Quinn’s leadership of the team in 2019 has been far from impressive.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 27, 2019
Falcons owner Arthur Blank stated that he was “extraordinarily disappointed” by his team’s performance and their 1-7 record at the end of October, an indication that Quinn might end up being fired. The Falcons promptly won their next two games, although they ended November with two losses and remained at the bottom of the NFC South.
After starting December with no chance of making the playoffs, the remaining games of the regular season were set to be Quinn’s last chance to earn a sixth year as head coach in Atlanta. However, after a strong finish to the season, Blank decided to keep Quinn on for at least another season. We’ll see how this plays out in 2020, but Quinn will enter the season with his seat already warm.
Sean McVay & the Los Angeles Rams
Back in 2017, Sean McVay was presented with quite the challenge as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, an ailing franchise that hadn’t reached the playoffs since back in 2004. He immediately set about radically changing their fortunes, topping the NFC West with a solid 11-5 record, but lost the Wild Card playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons. Nevertheless, the Rams had greatly exceeded expectations during McVay’s first year at the helm, earning him the 2017 Press Association NFL Coach of the Year award for his efforts.
Having already transformed the Rams, the best was yet to come from McVay and his team. They opened the 2018 campaign with a spectacular 8-0 winning streak and finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. After beating the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints for the NFC Championship, Super Bowl LIII was the bridge too far as the Rams fell to the New England Patriots.
Heading into the 2019 season having become synonymous with success, there were sky-high expectations for the Rams. Unfortunately, their form and results have been more reminiscent of the pre-McVay era. Despite a promising 3-0 start to the regular season, everything seems to have fallen apart. The Rams didn’t make the playoffs and are undergoing numerous staff changes this offseason.
Perhaps the most spectacular example of how the Rams have collapsed was the punishing 6-45 defeat against the Baltimore Ravens. Not only a blowout, but this game also highlighted all the Rams’ flaws: Jared Goff threw 0 touchdowns and two interceptions, symbolizing his dismal season at quarterback, and Todd Gurley carried the ball six times for 22 yards, highlighting his decreased usage and inefficiencies.
Even the coaching methods of the once-heralded Sean McVay have been called into question as his team limped towards the end of the 2019 regular season. How the mighty have fallen.
New York Giants & General Manager Dave Gettleman
Back in 2011, after a less than spectacular 9-7 regular season, the New York Giants were Super Bowl champions. That season, the team coached by Tom Coughlin powered their way past the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers to clinch the NFC championship, earning a shot at the Super Bowl and an eagerly anticipated confrontation with the New England Patriots.
Despite posting the lowest ever regular-season record and win percentage for a championship team, the Giants won a thrilling Super Bowl XLVI against a powerful Patriots side in the decisive fourth quarter. Eli Manning was the MVP in his prime, completing 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards, contributing one touchdown and throwing no interceptions. This was the Giants at their peak before everything came tumbling down over the following years. Since then, the Football Giants have reached the playoffs once – in 2016.
After their latest loss, are the Giants the worst team in the NFL? | Newsday https://t.co/fn1ZXYWROL
— Giants (@2020NYGIANTS) December 2, 2019
After finishing 4th in the NFC East for two consecutive seasons, there were hopes of improvement before this season. Some even pondered a playoff push following a promising 2019 Draft and some interesting trades by GM Dave Gettleman. However, his work in trying to rebuild the ailing Giants isn’t without criticism, having now had two seasons to bring about much-needed changes on the roster.
To say that the Giants have continued to be disappointing is an understatement of giant proportions (pun very intended). 38-year-old Eli Manning is far from the iconic quarterback of past years, replaced by draftee Daniel Jones after just 2 games. The Giants’ roster needs more talent across the board, and with Gettleman having failed to resolve these key issues, his seat will be warm in 2020. We’ll see if new head coach Joe Judge can make a difference in year one and help Gettleman save his job.