The Atlanta Falcons 2010 decade ended on a winning note. There were both highs and lows throughout the decade, which has been the most successful in team history.
From 2010 to 2019, the Atlanta Falcons made the playoffs five times, including two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl loss.
The Falcons have had plenty of success over the past ten years. The highs and lows include upset wins, numerous comeback wins, disappointing losses and crushing defeats, pro-bowl players and future Hall of Famers.
Between 2010 to 2019, the Falcons compiled a regular-season record of 89-71. Their overall playoff record was 4-5 with three division titles (2010, 2012 and 2016). This includes a 1-1 record in two NFC championship games and one crushing, painful Super Bowl loss, which is still heavily felt to this day.
Clearly, the two most prolific players of the decade were quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones. Both players carried certain teams on their backs, developed and grew their Hall of Fame careers and have led by leadership both on and off the field.
Ryan won the NFL MVP in 2016, which was a first in franchise history. His 2016 season ranked seventh among all quarterbacks for the entire decade.
Ryan was also a four-time pro-bowler during the decade (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016). In 2016, he was a first-team all-pro, the NFL offensive player of the year and was the NFL passer rating leader.
Ryan was also the NFL completion percentage leader in 2012. In 2019, Ryan surpassed 300 career touchdown passes and reached the 50,000 career passing yards mark.
As for Julio Jones, his accomplishments weren’t too shabby either. The 2011 first-round draft pick had the most receiving yards of any player for the entire decade. He is also a seven-time pro-bowler (2012, 2014-2019) and a two-time first-team all-pro (2015 and 2016).
Both players led the Falcons to division titles, playoff victories, and defeats and were this close to a Super Bowl victory in 2016, which most Falcons fans still suffer from.
As much as a successful decade as it was for the Falcons, some may say that until they achieve the ultimate goal of winning the all elusive trophy, nothing else matters.
The Atlanta Falcons have had only two head coaches throughout the entire decade – Mike Smith and Dan Quinn.
In five seasons from 2015 to 2019, Dan Quinn has a regular-season record of 43-37 losses. This includes a playoff record of 3-2.
In seven seasons as Falcons head coach, Mike Smith compiled a regular-season record of 66-46, which includes a 1-4 playoff record.
Both coaches had flashes of success and failure. Mike Smith breathed new life into a franchise that was in dire need of it following the Bobby Petrino debacle in 2007.
To this day, Mike Smith is the franchise leader in all-time wins for any Falcons coach in team history.
Dan Quinn has been given a reprieve as it was announced that he will be back for the 2020 season. There is no doubt that he will be on a short leash and on the hot seat from opening day.
There is no such thing as a perfect coach. Throughout the 2010 decade, both coaches have endured their fair share of both praise and criticism.
Quinn and Smith both have pros and cons as coaches and have experienced both ups and downs during their tenure, as most coaches do.
In the grand scheme of things and from an overall perspective, the 2010 decade for the Atlanta Falcons will go down in history as the most successful, but possibly the most frustrating as well.
Six out of the ten seasons were winning seasons. Of those six seasons, many fans will feel as though the Falcons could have and should have advanced further.
Hindsight is 20/20 and what’s done is done. The past is the past and we cannot change it, no matter how much we’d like to.
It is time to move forward and look forward to the decade of 2020, which will hopefully be just as successful, if not more than the decade of 2010.
This should only be measured in terms of Super Bowl victories moving forward and improving on the all-time franchise record of 0-2.