On paper, Patricia is an ideal choice. He definitely has the intelligence to be an NFL head coach. Patricia is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was a four-year starter on the offensive line. He earned a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1996.
After spending a season at his alma mater as a graduate assistant, Patricia spent two years as an application engineer. He received lucrative offers to help maintain nuclear submarines and aircrafts but decided to embark on a coaching career.
Patricia has been with the Patriots since 2004. He began as an offensive assistant, eventually climbing the ladder as an assistant offensive line coach, linebackers coach, and safeties coach. Patricia was named defensive coordinator in 2012. His innovative mind has been on full display this season as the Patriots defense got off to a slow start due to a lack of talent.
The defending Super Bowl champions ranked near the bottom of the league (29th) in yards per game, surrendering 366 yards per game. They didn’t give up many points in spite of the yards the high number of yards yielded. The Patriots allowed 18.5 points per game, fifth in the NFL.
Patricia is a young coach at 43 years of age and is known for building strong relationships with players. Hiring him would be a slam dunk for the Giants, right? Not so fast. The biggest problem with hiring Patricia is that none of Bill Belichick’s assistants have had much success outside of Foxborough as a head coach.
Charlie Weis spent five seasons as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator (2000-04), helping the Patriots win Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX. He departed the Patriots to become head coach at Notre Dame (2005-09). Weis went 35-27 with the Fighting Irish, including a 10-3 season in 2006. However, Notre Dame was 1-2 in bowl games under Weis and largely underachieved. In the end, Notre Dame essentially paid Weis to go away
After two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs (where he helped the Chiefs win the AFC West with the NFL’s best rushing attack in 2010) and the University of Florida (where the Gators’ offense was ranked 102nd), Weis was named head coach at Kansas. His tenure with the Jayhawks (2012-14) is forgettable with a record of 6-22. He was fired four games into the 2014 season.
Romeo Crennel was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator while Weis ran the offense. He left Foxborough after the win in Super Bowl XXXIX to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns. The highlight of Crennel’s Browns tenure was the 2007 season when Cleveland went 10-6 but missed the playoffs. Crennel, the fourth Browns head coach after their four-season hiatus, went 24-40.
After Crennel was fired by the Browns, he landed with the Chiefs as offensive coordinator. He was elevated to head coach after Todd Haley was fired in Week 14 of the 2011 season. Crennel went 2-1 in the final three games and the interim tag was removed for 2012. Unfortunately, the Chiefs went 2-14 and Crennel was fired.
Eric Mangini spent six seasons (2000-05) on the Patriots coaching staff before being named head coach of the division rival New York Jets (2006-08), replacing the bombastic Herm Edwards. He led the Jets to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth in his first season, losing to Belichick’s Patriots in the Wild Card round. The following season, the Jets imploded with a 4-12 record. In Mangini’s final season, the Jets missed the playoffs despite starting the season 8-3 with Brett Favre behind center.
Mangini was named head coach of the Browns in 2009. Cleveland started the season 1-11. There were rumors that the team didn’t appreciate Mangini’s tendency to micromanage. He was fired after the 2010 season. His NFL coaching record is 33-47 (23-25 Jets, 10-22 Browns).
Current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who also interviewed with the Giants, is in his second tenure with the defending Super Bowl champions. He was named head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009. McDaniels’ time with the Broncos was marred by a videotape scandal and sloppy play on the field. The Broncos fired McDaniels one week after both the team and head coach were fined by the NFL. McDaniels was 11-17 as Broncos head coach.
Patricia is rumored to have flubbed during the interview process last offseason. There is also talk of Patriots defensive players’ tendency to lean on Belichick, a former defensive coordinator himself. An anonymous player believes that “Matt will struggle as a head coach”.
Matt Patricia has the intelligence and innovative mind to succeed as an NFL head coach. The odds are stacked against him given the success (or lack thereof) of many of Belichick’s assistants as head coach. All signs are pointing to Patricia becoming the Giants’ next head coach although he wouldn’t officially take over until after the Patriots’ season ends.