After weeks of speculation, the Detroit Lions have hired Matt Patricia as their new head coach. Patricia comes from the New England Patriots, where he’s coached since 2004 and has served as the team’s defensive coordinator since 2012.
The decision has been known for several weeks, however, the Lions had to wait for the Patriots to be eliminated from the postseason before they could officially give Patricia the job. The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the Patriots lost a 41-33 shootout to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.
The Lions will introduce Patricia on Wednesday, but he did release a statement on the Lions’ official website which you can read below.
“I’m incredibly honored and grateful to be named Head Coach of the Detroit Lions. Thank you to Mrs. Ford and her family, Rod Wood, and Bob Quinn for their trust and support as we begin this new chapter of Lions football.
“This position comes with great responsibility, and I will commit every ounce of my energy to this football team, starting today. My family is excited to become part of this wonderful city that displays so much passion for their teams.
“I can’t express enough appreciation to the entire New England Patriots franchise, particularly Robert and Jonathan Kraft and their entire family. I will truly cherish these last 14 years as a member of this incredible organization.
“Lastly, I’d like to express my appreciation and thanks to Bill Belichick. He’s been a remarkable mentor to me, not only as a football coach but also as a man and as a friend. I have learned immensely from his detailed leadership approach to the game, which has certainly shaped me into the football coach that I am today. Quite simply, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with, who I believe, is the greatest coach in NFL history.
“Now I turn all of my attention to the Lions. I look forward to the next chapter of my career in Detroit.”
The expectations will indeed be high for Patricia, who is replacing Jim Caldwell – the winningest head coach in Lions history. Caldwell led the team to back-to-back winning seasons but because the team failed to make the playoffs this season, he was fired.
General manager Bob Quinn indicated in his season-ending press conference that he felt the Lions underachieved with the talent they have on their roster under Caldwell. Only time will tell if Patricia is the guy to get this Lions team to the next level.
Stay tuned for coverage of Patricia’s first official press conference on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.