Matt Patricia opened his final postgame news conference with the Detroit Lions by thanking his wife and children for their support.
Patricia probably knew what was coming.
His boss, general manager Bob Quinn, might not have expected the same fate.
The Lions fired Patricia and Quinn, who hired the coach to replace Jim Caldwell, and effectively ended the franchise’s attempt to replicate the success the men helped Bill Belichick achieve in New England.
The moves were made Saturday, surprising no one.
Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team resident Rod Wood were expected to explain the decisions and to look ahead at the franchise’s decades-long attempt to win when it matters in the NFL.
The Detroit Lions announced today that Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia have been relieved of their duties. pic.twitter.com/Tz5Rc7y53Y— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 28, 2020
Since Detroit won the 1957 NFL title, it has won only one playoff game — and that was way back on Jan. 5, 1992.
This season, the Lions (4-7) lost consecutive games for the third time. They collapsed in a 41-25 loss to Houston at home on Thursday after getting shut out for the first time in 11 years in the previous game at Carolina.
“I’m just really appreciative of my family, my wife, my kids,” Patricia said Thursday before taking questions from reporters on a Zoom call. “My wife does a lot behind the scenes and from that standpoint I appreciate her a lot.”
The setbacks dropped Patricia to 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons and Quinn’s mark fell 12 games under .500 over five seasons.
Quinn, who was part of the Patriots’ personnel department for 16 years, was given his first shot to run an NFL front office in January 2016. He retained Caldwell and Detroit reached the playoffs but then fired him the next season after another 9-7 record wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the postseason.
When Quinn let Caldwell go with a 36-28 record over four seasons and an 0-2 mark in the playoffs, he said the move was made to find a coach to take the team to the next level.
Patricia did that, but it wasn’t the level he or Quinn needed to keep their jobs.
Detroit was 6-10 under Patricia in 2018, won just three games last season and was barely better this year.
Patricia was on Belichick’s staff for 14 seasons, including six years as defensive coordinator, before Quinn gave him his first shot to be a head coach at any level. Patricia was incessantly peppered with questions about his job being in jeopardy, dating to the 2019 season, and refused to engage in the conversation with reporters.
“We know that we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Patricia said after falling to 0-3 on Thanksgiving with the Lions. “So, that’s my focus right now.
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