Ford Hamp Stands by Her Word: Fires Quinn and Patricia

Read more on the significance of Sheila Ford Hamp living up to her word
Publish date:

Thank you, Sheila. 

After the Detroit Lions' 41-25 loss to the Houston Texans in the team's annual Thanksgiving game Thursday, Detroit fans had nothing to give thanks for. 

Luckily, Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp gave them something to be thankful for Saturday afternoon, when she dismissed the underachieving duo of head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn. 

Quinn, who had been with the organization since 2016, hired Patricia in February of 2018 to replace veteran head man Jim Caldwell. 

At the time of Patricia's hiring, he was tasked with taking the franchise to the "next level."

As Quinn said during Patricia's introductory press conference, "When we launched the search for our next head coach, I wanted to find a leader that could take us to the next level, and I am confident we have found that in Matt Patricia."

Boy, was he wrong with that assessment, and it ultimately cost him his job. 

The organization has instead gone in the completely opposite direction. 

In Caldwell's four-year tenure as Lions head coach from 2014-17, Detroit went 36-28, with two playoff appearances (in 2014 and 2016). 

Meanwhile, in Patricia's nearly three full years as head man, the team was 13-29-1, with zero playoff appearances.


The most wins he garnered in a season came in his first year on the job when he guided the Lions to a 6-10 campaign. Remember, this was after a 9-7 year, in the final season of Caldwell roaming the sidelines.

Thus, 2018 was a season in which Detroit was expected to win more than six games and in fact, was supposed to contend for a playoff spot.

Not even coming close to that led to a sense of disappointment among the Detroit fanbase regarding Patricia right from the jump.

And that feeling only increased over time, as the losses under Patricia kept piling up.

The Lions never came close to being a postseason contender with Patricia calling the shots from the sideline. 

And, as time progressed in his tenure, his insistence on establishing the "Patriot Way" in the Motor City -- a tight-lipped, no fun atmosphere both on the practice field and inside the locker room -- alienated players, such as veterans Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs, and cost him control of the locker room. 

Fast-forward to Thursday and Detroit's disastrous performance in front of a national TV audience. 

Patricia's defense -- which, remember, Quinn had his fingerprints all over as the team's front-office "head honcho" -- allowed Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to throw for 318 yards and four touchdowns in what proved to be the final nail in the coffin in the "Quinntricia" era.

Hamp -- just like 99.9 percent of Lions fans -- had finally seen enough. She had no choice but to relieve both of them of their duties within the organization.

In a video conference with Detroit media Saturday, during which she formally made the announcement of the firings, she cited Detroit's 20-0 shutout loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 11 and the team's Week 12 loss to the Texans as the two games that cemented her decision to move on from the pairing. 

"Ten days ago, we looked like we had a good chance to be playoff bound," Hamp said. "Both of those games (against Carolina and Houston) were extremely disappointing. It just seemed like the path going forward wasn't what we wanted it to be. So, yes, we thought this was a good time to make the change." 

Sure, maybe she should've provided them with their walking papers a day earlier on "Black Friday."

However, at this point, it's not important, because she ultimately came to the right decision. 

She stuck to the mandate she made at the end of last season for Detroit to be a playoff contender this year, and in doing so, proved that she's not going to sit back and accept mediocrity -- a powerful message to a fanbase that for too long has been subject to just that.

In 2020, there maybe has been no single pro sports franchise in more need of a "pick-me-up" than the Detroit Lions. 

Hamp delivered the definition of one on Saturday, and should be commended for it. 

The only thing left to be said: "Thank you, Sheila." 

Get the latest Detroit Lions news by joining our community. Click "Follow" at the top right of our SI All Lions page. Mobile users click the notification bell. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @detroitpodcast