As the Jets prepare for Sunday's season finale against the Bills, coach Todd Bowles' job security is very much in question.
Meanwhile, the Falcons are 10-5, after going 8-8 last year, and have locked up the NFC South. The Falcons clearly made the right call by hiring Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, a Morristown native, as their head coach after 2014.
Should Jets fire Todd Bowles?
The Jets considered Quinn, but didn't want to wait on him to become available, and owner Woody Johnson ultimately hired Bowles. A regrettable decision?
The 2016 Jets are 4-11, have dropped six of their past seven games, and have lost in December by 21, 31, and 38 points. Two of the Jets' four wins this season are over the 1-14 Browns and 2-13 49ers.
Plus, one star player, Muhammad Wilkerson, just questioned his teammates' effort (again). And another star, Sheldon Richardson, publicly ripped the team's No. 1 wide receiver, Brandon Marshall.
Those two situations -- which flared up after Saturday's 41-3 loss at the Patriots -- do not bode well for Bowles' job security.
Look, nobody was asking this question about Bowles vs. Quinn last year, when Bowles debuted with a 10-6 season and almost made the playoffs -- something the Jets last did in 2010. But with uncertainty swirling about Bowles' Jets future, and Quinn thriving in Atlanta, Johnson's pick of Bowles is under a microscope.
Remember, after the 2014 season, the Cardinals were knocked out in the wildcard round, on Jan. 3, making their defensive coordinator, Bowles, available. But Seattle lasted in the playoffs for about another month, all the way until the Feb. 1 Super Bowl. The Falcons waited on Quinn after the Jets snatched up Bowles.
Johnson hired Bowles just before the coach was scheduled to sit for a second interview with the Falcons. Should Johnson have let Atlanta hire Bowles (presuming the Falcons were interested in doing so) and then hired Quinn once Seattle's season concluded?
With the benefit of hindsight, the question is easy to ask. But it was a trickier situation to navigate at the time. And Bowles was a sought-after candidate.
Plus, he came highly recommended by former NFL general manager Charley Casserly, one of two head coach/general manager search consultants -- along with another former GM, Ron Wolf -- whom Johnson hired. Casserly was Washington's GM when Bowles played there in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Even if Johnson retains Bowles after this season, the Jets probably will be in rebuilding mode in 2017 -- not exactly conducive to a win-loss record that would help a hot-seat, third-year coach like Bowles retain his job.
It's also worth noting that general manager Mike Maccagnan, a Casserly disciple hired along with Bowles, deserves plenty of blame for the Jets' issues this season.
But while it would be a stunner if Johnson fired Maccagnan after this season, nobody would be surprised if he canned Bowles, even though Bowles has been on the job for just two years and won 10 games as a rookie head coach in 2015 -- with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback, no less.
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Quinn is now 18-13 with the Falcons, while Bowles is 14-17 with the Jets. Quinn has the benefit of an established franchise quarterback, Matt Ryan, while Bowles hasn't enjoyed that luxury with the Jets.
Still, despite that mitigating factor, and despite Quinn's career head coaching record being just four wins better than Bowles' record, the gap between the two coaches feels enormous to many Jets fans, whether that's fair or not.
Darryl Slater may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DarrylSlater. Find NJ.com Jets on Facebook.