The Absolutely Insane Reason Why Bill Belichick Almost Didn’t Hire Matt Patricia
Matt Patricia has been the Patriots defensive coordinator since 2012, but has been a part of the New England Patriots coaching staff in some form or another since 2004. In that time, the Patriots have gone to four Super Bowls and won two of them.
When Patricia was promoted to coordinator, it was in the wake of their second Super Bowl loss to the Giants; the culmination of a two-season stint during which Belichick was his own DC. The team lost just five regular season games in those two seasons combined (2010 and 2011) , but it wasn't enough to win that coveted fourth ring.
Three years after promoting Patricia, the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 10 years on one of the most memorable defensive plays in the history of the game, and Belichick cemented a spot as one of the greatest NFL head coaches of all time. I tell you all of this because things may never have gone that way at all if Belichick had stuck with his first instinct about Patricia when he interviewed him all those years ago.
Because - spoiler alert - Belichick acted like kind of a dick.
According to a piece by Tim Rohan for MMQB, Patricia's initial interview with Belichick for an entry-level coaching assistant job was the hardest interview he'd ever had. That might not seem that crazy, until you take into account that Patricia was an aeronautical engineering major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where students are recruited by the likes of Boeing, General Electric and Lockheed Martin.
This guy was literally studying rocket science. Take a look at RPI's notable alumni list and you will understand just how smart this dude really is.
Still, studying in the shadow of all of that monumental success wasn't enough to prepare him for the likes of Belichick.
When Patricia received the phone call offering him the job, they told him they needed an answer immediately. His hesitation to take the job without consulting his wife first was enough for them to pull their offer for the job, because apparently if he couldn't answer them right away then he couldn't possibly be that committed.
Rohan put it this way: "He wouldn’t fit their culture."
Patricia made a frantic phone call to Nick Carparelli, a former Syracuse colleague who had be the Patriots director of Operations under Belichick, to ask for his help. Carparelli made calls to the Patriots on Patricia's behalf, and heard back from Belichick himself the next day. Rohan wrote that according to Carparelli, this is how the conversation went:
“What’s up with this kid Matt Patricia? Should I hire him?”
“Is he going to flake out on me? Does he really want the job? Or is he going to leave midseason?”
“Coach, trust me.”
“Nick,” Belichick said, “if I hire this kid and it doesn’t work out, I’m going to kill you.”
So there you have it. Twelve years and four more Super Bowl appearances later, Patricia is the defensive coordinator of the team with the best record in the AFC and Nick Carparelli escaped being murdered. All's well that ends well, right?!
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