When Dan Quinn found out his team was eliminated from playoff contention late Sunday night, a specific boxing story came to the front his mind.
The fight between Marvin Hagler and Vito Antuofermo in 1979 seemed fitting to the Falcons' season when it pertains to controlling your own destiny. Entering Week 12, Atlanta held the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture, but the home loss to Minnesota hindered the Falcons postseason chances.
Hagler's fight against Antuofermo resembles the Falcons situation in that Hagler left the outcome to be decided by someone other than himself. Most viewers of the boxing match figured Hagler had defeated Antuofermo when referee Mills Lane congratulated Hagler and asked him to turn towards the television cameras.
Mills then delivered a shocking message to the world when he announced Hagler was not the winner; rather the fight would end in a draw, meaning Antuofermo would retain his title as World Middleweight Champion.
"In order to beat the champion, you have to knock them down and knock them out," Hagler once said on the match. "If you don't do that, the champions will keep the belt, that's the way it goes."
As Quinn spoke before his team on Monday, he reiterated the importance of not leaving fate in the hands of others while referencing the story of Hagler.
"So, it was about that, let's make sure we don't have to leave it up to anybody else," said Quinn. "That was kind of my message for the guys to make sure like when you have to wait on other things to happen and all these trickle down effects have to happen usually those aren't good. That was kind of the message for the team; we're all going to be about finishing."