As defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, Matt Patricia won a lot. He won regular season games, playoff games, and even Super Bowls. That’s what happens when one is part of a dynasty.
Patricia left that warm cocoon of success for less green pastures and now finds himself as head coach of the Detroit Lions, a franchise that’s won a singular playoff game since 1957. A franchise that finds failure and disappointment at every turn. The organizational embodiment of Charlie Brown trying to kick a football and falling on his rear end.
And I’m starting to think Patricia doesn’t fully appreciate what he’s gotten himself into based on some comments made during this morning’s media availability.
First off, let’s give him points for not being Bill Belichick here. He actually saw the media members as human beings with emotions and not sacks of meat to be treated with disdain.
I’m unclear on the level of enthusiasm Lions reporters had this morning because I wasn’t in the room. But I have a theory, one that’s time-tested. It’s just damn hard to be upbeat and sunny with the stink of the franchise perpetually in the air.
Most of the reporters already know the ending and it won’t be a happy one. The team’s colors may be Honolulu blue and silver, but on the inside, everyone is perpetually dressed for a funeral. They know the score. This game is rigged.
Patricia will soon figure it out, like all those who have come before. The black hole swallowed up Jim Caldwell, Wayne Fontes, and Darryl Rogers. It swallowed up Steve Mariucci, Monte Clark, and Bobby Ross. Do you think all of those guys knew they were on a suicide mission? Don’t you think they, too, entered with some misguided enthusiasm?
I hate to say it, but the Lions will chew Patricia up and spit him out eventually. Maybe he’ll win a few playoff games. Maybe he’ll, gulp, coach a conference title game. But it will end the same, with the same muted emotion so many football fields away from the exciting place where it began.