Matty Patty got fired!

When I first made this comic after the opening game embarrassment I had a big grand vision of a whole series of Matty Patty comics that ended up just…never coming to fruition. Maybe because the punchline would have more or less been the same gag every time. There wasn’t much I could do that would have been funnier than what Patricia was actually doing to the team. Patricia’s early failures pretty quickly gave way into the dawning realization that “oh, this is going to be depressing, actually”. I was not proven wrong in that belief. Patricia’s Detroit tenure will go down as an all-time bad hire.

The power of hindsight has clearly vindicated Jim Caldwell, who has gotten a bit of a re-evaluation in the aftermath. When Caldwell was fired, it was not entirely unexpected but also not entirely deserved. The Lions weren’t a bad team. They were consistently alright, fringe playoff contenders who had some problems. After a few years of mediocrity I guess they felt they needed just a small boost. I feel like better drafting and player acquisition would have done the job but at the time I also didn’t know how beloved Caldwell was as a coach. On the sideline Caldwell had a reputation as a stoic emotionless zombie so it came as a suprised to me when I found out players loved him. It was a good reminder that coaching is so much more than what we see on the sidelines for 3 hours every week.

The fallout from Patricia has also been a good reminder of how much coaching matters besides the actual game, even though he sucked at that too. I can’t remember the last time so many players have openly rejoiced at a coach losing his job. General Managers? Yeah, I’ve seen former players shit on GMs after firings plenty of times. Bruce Allen, Scott Pioli, Tom Coughlin, and Trent Baalke all got shade thrown on them (Pioli in particular) when they got fired, but the coaches? Normally players are bummed when coaches get let go, because coaches are like dads. Even perpetual hardass grouch Tom Coughlin was given praise by the Giants players when he left. It was when he took the more executive role in Jax that got him hated. Patricia? Nothing but shade. It was glorious and a true testament to how bad he must have been.

Patricia goes down as the latest failed Belichick disciple and possibly the worst so far (probably tied with McDaniels). He took a fringe playoff team and immediately drove them into the ground. He took a cohesive locker room and demolished it, alienating talent and requiring unneeded replacement players. He was quite possibly the biggest example of a Bill B crony who came into a program with a huge ego and tried to force the Patriot Way. You can’t force the Patriot Way. The thing about the Patriot Way is that it wasn’t built the way Patricia was doing it. The Patriot Way was an organic process that took years, and only became “a thing” after the franchise had their first dynasty run in the early 2000’s. Winning allows your culture to have respectability. When players went to New England, they knew it might not be as fun as they wanted, but they also saw it got results, so buying in was a reasonable trade-off.

I also don’t believe that Belichick is as inflexible and rigid as we perceive him to be. He’s an old grump who doesn’t emote outside vague disgust, but he’s always seemed good at understanding that when you grab a player, you find out what that player is best at, and you tailor his skillset to how you run the team. The McDaniels and Patricias seem to have coordinator ego brain. I’m the smartest guy in the room, therefore what I say is right and correct, and if it fails it is because you suck. These coaches try putting square players into round holes, playing them away from their talents, and then throw them under the bus. I think this approach works better for college, where NCAA restrictions and general youth and ignorance make players easy to mold. For the NFL? Many of these players are grown-ass men who are long time respected vets like Darius Slay. The Slay drama was pretty much every problem with Patricia personified.

So is Patricia the worst Belichick disciple? His main competition appears to be McDaniels or Bill O’Brien. McDaniels torpedoed Denver in much the same way, and BoB’s ending in Houston was practically a mutiny after his nonsense, but BoB did manage some actual success as a coach. Romeo Crennel has never done anything of note, Eric Mangini was terrible, Charlie Weis was terrible, and most of the other coaches that have done well are successes at the college level instead of the pros (Saban). Right now we got three still in the league, but all might be promising. Flores has genuinely turned the Dolphins around and gotten everyone to buy in the way Patricia never did. Vrabel has genuinely done great in Tennessee. Joe Judge is still very early on, but I like him more each game and he has the team fighting pretty hard despite the fact that we are generally devoid of talent. I think it means something when a bad team refuses to be an easy win for an opponent. The Giants are going down swinging.

Oh and to the Lions fans: be free. The bad man can’t hurt you anymore.