Pros and Cons of Hiring Thomas Dimitroff as Next Lions General Manager

Should the Detroit Lions hire Thomas Dimitroff to be their next general manager?

Thomas Dimitroff built a team in Atlanta that made a Super Bowl appearance. Could he be given the opportunity to do the same for a franchise in Detroit that has never played in a Super Bowl? 

Dimitroff, who served as the Falcons' general manager from 2008-2020 (fired along with head coach Dan Quinn after team's 0-5 start to '20), is the Lions GM candidate that we're profiling today at SI All Lions.

During his time in Atlanta, the Falcons went 109-87 (not including results since he was dismissed), and made the playoffs six times, including in four of his first five seasons on the job.

And most notably, his fifth postseason appearance as the "head honcho" in Atlanta's front office included a trip to Super Bowl LI (a 34-28 loss to the then-Tom Brady-led New England Patriots). 

His teams also recorded a losing record just four times in his 12 full years on the job (this season being excluded).

In stark contrast, in that same time span (2008-2019), Detroit recorded eight losing seasons, and made the playoffs just three times, notching zero playoff victories.


Dimitroff is also known to be a fairly strong talent evaluator.

His draft classes produced a myriad of standout Falcons players, including franchise quarterback Matt Ryan, No. 1 wideout Julio Jones, Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jake Matthews and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.

While all the above is true, it also has to be brought up that Atlanta is on the verge of recording its third straight losing campaign (7-9 in both 2018 and 2019 and 4-8 currently this year). 

The Falcons have regressed since their 10-6 finish in 2017, and much like the Lions, have become known for consistently blowing late-game leads.

And that ultimately has to be attributed to Dimitroff as the architect of the franchise.

It's why Atlanta owner Arthur Blank pulled the trigger on brooming out him and Quinn, and I think Blank made the right decision.

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It was time for an organizational restart, and it meant both Dimitroff and Quinn had to go, despite the success they garnered in previous years.

Dimitroff's past work also includes a stop in the Motor City as an area scout from 1994-97, followed by a stint with the Cleveland Browns as a college scout from 1998-2001 and a tenure with the Patriots from 2002-07 -- first as a national scout and then as the team's director of college scouting.

As weird as it may sound, the past job that may hurt him the most is the one he had in New England.

The failed tenure of Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn in Motown, both of whom previously had jobs with the Patriots, likely left a bad taste in Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp's mouth about executives and coaches with prior ties to Bill Belichick -- and rightfully so. 

For this next hire, I would steer clear of anyone who once worked under Belichick in New England for a significant amount of time, such as Dimitroff. And I strongly believe Detroit ownership will do so, too, in order to save face from a public relations perspective.

I think Dimitroff is deserving of a second chance to lead an NFL front office. I just don't think he'll get it with the Lions. 

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