At his introductory press conference, new Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia talks about his goals for the Lions and their fan base. Daniel Mears, The Detroit News
Allen Park — Because teams are prohibited from offering a coaching job to a candidate working for a team still alive in the playoffs, we may never fully know how serious other franchises were about hiring Matt Patricia as coach. That said, there were a number of reports last month that indicated he was the New York Giants’ top choice.
The Lions’ decision-makers made it clear that they felt they had to fend off other suitors for their top choice.
“I think there was clearly competition for Matt,” team president Rod Wood said. “I don’t want to comment on what degree that competition was, but he was an attractive candidate, not just to us, but other teams, including the Giants.”
Patricia never had an offer from the Giants, because the tampering rules prohibited those types of negotiations, but he said he left his interview with the team feeling it had gone well. In a sit-down with the Detroit News after his introductory press conference on Wednesday, he explained his mindset with the interview process.
“For me, was just talking about this before, you can ask the other organizations if they liked me or didn’t like me,” Patricia said. “I came out of the other interviews saying, ‘Yeah, I think I did OK.’ I think there was some interest, but this might sound weird, over the last three years, with the interviews that I’ve had with teams, for me, I interviewed them, not them interviewing me.
“I had a great situation in New England. I worked for a great guy. He let me do what I wanted. I had great players, we won, my wife’s family was five minutes away, it was just a great situation.”
After each interview, Patricia analyzed how he felt about the situation, from his fit with the team to how each organization was run. Then he tucked away his thoughts and turned his full attention to the Patriots’ next playoff game.
In the end, he felt best about the situation in Detroit.
“To go through the process, to learn about the organizations — because they’re all so different, the structure, the hierarchy, how far the owner is from the head coach — there are just things you need to find out,” Patricia said. “When you sit down with (general manager) Bob (Quinn) and Rod, and you find out about the Ford family, (Martha) Ford, you look at the situation, you find out about Bob’s philosophy, how it meshes with my philosophy and the best of it, you don’t want away from it unsure about anything, thinking there’s something you don’t really know. It’s just one of those things, it was pretty clear, pretty clean.”
While Patricia didn’t specifically name the Giants, he noted that he withdrew his name from consideration from jobs when he had any doubts.
“When the game was over, I pulled out that information out that I tucked away and said, “OK, what did I think about this?’ That allowed me to nail it down,” he said. “Honestly, over the course of the years, I’ve been able to say, when there was something I wasn’t sure about, I would contact them and say, ‘Thank you, but no thank you, because I know you’re working through a process, too.’ If I had wound up with having the same job I had, I was good with that, if nothing came through in the end.”