Lions coach Matt Patricia still driven by Patriots' Super Bowl loss

"Coming off my last game last year, I'm not real happy right now, so the drive is real strong," Matt Patricia said. Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

DETROIT -- Matt Patricia has been gone from the New England Patriots for two months now -- two months since he lost his final game as their defensive coordinator in the Super Bowl, when Philadelphia scored 41 points.

He's the head coach of the Detroit Lions now, but that loss still seems to bother him a little.

"Coming off my last game last year, I'm not real happy right now, so the drive is real strong," Patricia said during the team's season ticket member summit Monday night at Ford Field. "I feed off of it. I feed off the excitement and the passion and the desire for this community, our fan base, this state to rally behind us and I'm excited."

His response came after a question about the desperation of Lions fans to find a winner. The team has spent decades in mediocrity or worse, with one playoff win during the Super Bowl era and no division titles since 1993. The team has never reached the Super Bowl.

Patricia has multiple Super Bowl rings, a bunch of divisional titles and experience reaching the final game of the year -- a place the Lions have only come within sniffing distance once, after the 1991 season when they were blown out by Washington in the NFC Championship Game.

Detroit hired Patricia after the franchise fired Jim Caldwell, who had back-to-back 9-7 seasons, saying the team needed to take the next step toward being a continuous contender. General manager Bob Quinn hired Patricia hoping that he would be the guy to finally make that happen.

On Monday, the first day that Patricia could meet with and address his team, Patricia started to get his message across. He started to explain what he's about, what he's looking for. Some of the players Detroit has -- running back LeGarrette Blount, safety Tavon Wilson -- understand that from their mutual time in New England.

For most, this is a first working with Patricia. Many of them have seen what he could do, but haven't been close to him until Monday.

"The biggest thing we're just trying to get conveyed right now to our team, the building, all of our players is just what we're about," Patricia said. "What we're going to be about next year. What I expect as a team and what I expect as an organization from a Tier 1 championship level performance.

"That's what we're all about and that's what we're shooting for."

That begins with the front office, where Quinn, who overlapped for several years in New England with Patricia, said he believes the franchise has the best head coach-general manager relationship in the league considering their years of shared history. The Lions hope that translates into wins on the field and fans in the seats.

Team president Rod Wood mentioned the team's increased attendance last season -- he said they had the biggest jump in the league -- and that six of the games had standing room only. This season, he challenged Patricia to get it to eight games, to which Patricia quickly jumped in.

"More than eight," Patricia said.

Wood, after a pause, said "maybe 10 standing room only games." That would either mean one of two things -- either selling out the preseason (unlikely) or making it to the playoffs and hosting playoff games, something that hasn't happened in 25 years.

It is why the Lions brought Patricia in -- to get to that level. Starting Monday, the Lions now had to find a way to actually do that.