Patricia can wait: Patriots win puts Lions on hold
Allen Park — If the Detroit Lions are holding out hope of hiring New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as the franchise’s next head coach, the team will be waiting at least another eight days.
That’s because the Patriots destroyed the Tennessee Titans Saturday night, 35-14, continuing a quest to defend their Super Bowl championship. The Patriots will play the Pittsburgh Steelers or Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship next Sunday.
According to NFL rules, no team can hire Patricia until the Patriots have been eliminated from the playoffs or won the Super Bowl, which is scheduled for Feb. 4.
The Lions didn’t conduct any interviews for their vacancy last week, the second of their search to replace Jim Caldwell. It’s presumed they’re locked into one of the candidates still in the playoffs, with Patricia being reported by multiple sources as the team’s favorite.
But the Lions have competition for his services. Patricia has also interviewed with the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals, and Sports Illustrated and the New York Daily News have indicated Patricia to the Giants is more likely.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote last week that Patricia, a New York native, prefers the Giants job, while the Daily News reported he’s the team’s top candidate after their first round of interviews.
And while Patricia’s resume is well-established, he certainly didn’t do anything to hurt his stock Saturday night. The Patriots defense smothered the upstart Titans, holding them to 14 points and 267 yards, while registering eight sacks in the victory.
It marked the 11th time in the past 13 games the Patriots have held the opposition to 17 or fewer points.
In addition to Patricia, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is the only other assistant from a team still alive in the playoffs to interview with the Lions. The Vikings host the New Orleans Saints Sunday at 4:40 p.m.
The Lions are free to hire from the remaining pool of interviewees at any time. That group includes the team’s offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and Packers linebackers and assistant head coach Winston Moss.