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.
“It clearly wasn’t working,” Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said on a Zoom call with reporters.
The duo joins a long list of general managers and coaches that failed to help the franchise win over the last several decades.
Since Detroit won the 1957 NFL title, it has won only one playoff game — and that was way back on Jan. 5, 1992.
“We can’t hide our past, that’s for sure,” said Hamp, who succeededher mother in June to lead the franchise her late father bought in 1963. “But I’m very dedicated to turning this ship around and really making a difference.”
Darrell Bevell, who has 14 seasons of experience as an offensive coordinator, will be the team’s interim coach for the final five games. The general manager’s duties will be handled on an interim basis by Kyle O’Brien, Lance Newmark, Rob Lohman and Mike Disner, all of whom worked for Quinn in the team’s front office.
This season, the Lions (4-7) lost consecutive games for the third time and it cost Quinn and Patricia their jobs. Detroit collapsedin 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. The most recent losses led to the end of their careers with the Lions.
“Ten days ago, we looked like we had a good chance to be playoff bound and both of those games were extremely disappointing,” Hamp said. “Yes, we thought it was a good time to make a change.”
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 stay employed in the Motor City.
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.
Hamp said nearly a year ago that Quinn and Patricia were retained with an expectation that the team contend for the playoffs in 2020.
“I meant what I said last December and I still mean it,” Hamp said. “Things were not going well.”
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