Matt Patricia Is the Dave Magadan of Football Coaches
By Kyle Koster
The Detroit Lions have done something no NFL team has done in 100 years. And when you read something like that, every context clue is flashing in neon lights with such Safdie Bros. chaos that we all know that it's a bad thing. In four straight games they've built and squandered double-digit leads. Like Adam Sandler enjoying a brief moment of serenity before being shot through the brain. Just like that.
On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers scored 39 of the game's final 46 points to leave the Lions meowing into the abyss with an 0-2 record. It happened again, Marge! They clogged the toilet with their foulness.
Barring the turnaround of all turnarounds, this will the be 27th consecutive year the Lions have failed to win their division. On probability alone, this is a stunning accomplishment. There were five teams in the NFC Central from 1994-2001 and four in the NFC North since 2001. The chances of not even emerging one time as the victor are less than one percent. And yet, here we are, basking in the shame of the franchise's sole highlight in that time span being when Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor knocked out the power during a Thanksgiving game.
This is the fourth paragraph and I'm just getting around to mentioning that the Lions have lost 11 games in a row. That's bad! They were at one time 3-3-1 with playoff hopes last year. People forget that! Lions fans forget it too because if they were to ever realize the horror of their existence, they'd freak out. You've seen that robot on Westworld. She snapped.
Patricia, billed as a defensive genius, took an above-average unit and transformed it into second-worst in the NFL last season. So far this campaign its allowed 21 points in a fourth quarter and half of 84 in a full game. It's been gashed by the run and pass. By future Hall of Fame and barely competent quarterbacks alike. On the other hand, Malcolm Butler did intercept that ball five years ago for the New England Patriots so it's a mixed bag with Patricia.
The ear-pencil enthusiast is now 9-24-1 with the Lions. That's a .288 winning percentage. Only Rod Marinelli and Marty Mornhigwig were worse. For those not well-versed in analytics, finding success 28 percent of the time is bad news as a football coach. It's actually pretty decent in baseball, though. For instance, Dave Magadan posted a career .2878 batting average. Gregg Jefferies checks in at .2886. Patricia's winning percentage is a below-average three-point shooter you can dare to take the try. Russell Westbrook jacking shot after shot, hoping for a different result.
He remains gainfully employed. In a sane world his seat would be hot. But the Lions don't operate in sanity. One could argue they exist only to drive people to mental ruin.
Decades of ineptitude lead the brain to wander to some dark places. As yesterday's bloodbath dragged on, I wondered how many divorces have been cause by the freaking Detroit Lions. How many lives actually ruined? Then I wondered if all the time and energy spent on this hapless sack of sorrow were channeled to more productive matters, what the state would look like. Think of how many innovations, for instance, have been unexplored because people at factories have been bitching about Scott Mitchell in the break room.
Bleak stuff. Haven't been this down since Magadan grounded in a double play to set up a winner-take-all game in Little Big League and grease the skids for Lou Collins to marry Billy Heywood's mom.