The Philadelphia Eagles may be bringing the Lombardi trophy home but the New England Patriots are still making bigger headlines.
On Tuesday, Josh McDaniels decided to stay in New England after all. Some have already dubbed it, ‘the ‘re-neg heard ‘round Twitter.’
Cue the insurance commercial memes, starring the old fisherman hanging McDaniels over the Colts’ heads. “Oh, you almost had it! You gotta be quicker than that.”
However, it can be argued that Patriots Nation should be more interested in giving a proper good-bye to Matt Patricia. In fact, his departure might be a bigger loss to than people think. Keeping Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels in New England has overshadowed Patricia’s new Head Coaching gig with the Detroit Lions. Say what you will about his pencil placement or his defensive coaching performance during Super Bowl LII, but the Patriots have won three Super Bowls with Patricia; 2004 season, 2014 season and 2016 season.
(Displaying the Roger Goodell clown t-shirt coming off the plane last season? Well, that’s just my kind of guy right there.)
The head coaching position is not going to be easy for anyone, even for the wicked smart guy with the big fancy degree. For starters, the Detroit Lions haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1957. In 1957, my parents were five years old (sorry, Ma!), Eisenhower was President of the U.S., gas was $0.24 per gallon, Ford Motor Company introduces the so-ugly-its-cute Edsel, and for my hometown folks Catholic Memorial High School opens in Boston, MA.
Under Patricia, the Patriots have won 13 of 14 division titles; including six as Defensive Coordinator. The Lions, well, they haven’t won any since 1993. Their defense has been dead last. How will Patricia fare in the NFC, specifically the North?
Let’s take a look back at when the Patriots faced the Packers, the Vikings and Bears in the same season. It was 2014.
After losing the season opener to the Dolphins and Matt Cassel steering the ship for an injured Brady and several other roster shakeups (Aqib Talib for Revis, Brandon Browner for Chung) the Pats managed to patchwork a defense against the Minnesota Vikings in the absence of Adrian Peterson. The Patriots took the game 30-7.
Playing the Chicago Bears doesn’t require much defensive strategy since the Patriots were busy shredding through Chicago’s defense. The Pats held the Bears to 20 yards or less on five of six drives giving Brady the green light to hit the gas. The Patriots took the Bears, 51-23.
During their matchup against Detroit, New England’s defense forced Matt Stafford to throw 46 times connecting on only 18 and never making it to the end zone. Patriots 34, Lions 9. The North doesn’t want to remember that one.
When New England played the Packers led by Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay won by 5 points dominating the Patriots in the first half. This has been the only meeting between Rodgers and Brady. The game felt like a Super Bowl teaser had Green Bay not choked…errrr…lost to Seattle in the NFC Championship.
Obviously, Green Bay is the Goliath of the NFC North and Patricia’s Lions will be David. Patricia will meet the Packers twice a season now. Therefore, he better be keeping that pencil sharp up under his thinking cap. Much credit should be given to Detroit’s front office. Choosing Patricia to be their Head Coach shows commitment to turn their franchise frown upside down. Detroit has suffered for decades under bad management decisions.
(And I’m not just talking about on the factory floor…But seriously, the PT Cruiser? Come on, man…)
As for the social aspects of the Detroit area; if you can live and work in New England then you can manage in Michigan. The winters are the same, and so aren’t the potholes. Their fan base is reminiscent of Pat’s fans circa late 80’s early 90’s.
Patricia’s coaching experience extends beyond defense to safeties, linebackers and the offensive line. If nothing else though, he has had the privilege of literally standing next to Patriots’ Head Coach, Bill Belichick, since 2004. I can’t imagine greater on-the-job training then working for Mr. Personality.
For a man as smart as they say Matt Patricia is, one would like to believe he’s picked up some Belichick-ian tricks. We all look forward to the post-game press conferences from Detroit.
–Heather Hilley is a Staff Writer and Op-Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. She covers the New England Patriots. Follow her on Twitter @hlhilley