To my way of thinking, one of the best indicators of someone's value in the working world is how many qualifiers they have in their job title. If I had to come up with a formula, I'd say that for every descriptor a person has in their title, you cut their actual importance in half. So if, say, you're filming a movie, the Director is super important to the process. Vital to every aspect of production. Ultimately it's the Director's film. And the 2nd Assistant Art Director is the film student trainee they send out with a camera to take B-roll footage of the sun setting into the ocean or whatever. About 1/8 as important. At most.
Or to use the most referenced example, you've got a Manager. Then you've got the Assistant to the Regional Manager.
Which brings us to Matt Patricia finally landing an NFL job this late in the offseason. Not as a coordinator. Not as a position coach. But as the Senior Defensive Assistant of the Eagles. By the formula, 1/8th as important as Philadelphia DC Jonathan Gannon. If that. Essentially it's a made up position. One the Eagles probably have never had, and could easily live without. If you'll forgive me the back-to-back fictional office reference, a job that would never survive an interview with The Bobs:
And listen, good for Patricia. His failure as Patriots offensive coordinator (no qualifiers in his title, to go with his no qualifications) is forgivable. He was put in a position Bill Belichick thought he could handle. He's a brilliant man. Apart from his time spent getting an engineering degree from Rensselaer, he's been coaching football all his adult life. He ran the entire show in Detroit for the better part of three years. There was reason to have faith he'd catch on eventually and figure it out. It just wasn't in him to do so. We move on. No hard feelings.
But it's hard not to be in a less forgiving mood when it comes to his last tour in New England. The way that one ended still stings. And it's even harder not to see a direct line between that and his hire by the Eagles.
Now to be 100% clear, in no way am I suggesting Matty P. screwed up so badly in Super Bowl LII as part of a long con to someday get paid in Philly. Let's be crystal on that. What I am saying is there has to be a lingering feeling of warmth in that organization for their new Senior Defensive Assistant. The man who was the architect of this:
A total of 41 points. The 373 yards and three touchdowns from Nick Foles. The 164 rushing yards. The Philly Special. Capped off by that excruciating, endless, interminable drive after the Patriots took a one-point lead in the 4th, that went 75 yards over an incredible 16 plays, ate 7:01 off the game clock and finished in the end zone. Sure, we'll all always associate this game with Malcolm Butler's Mystery Benching. But if Butler had been struck by lightning on his way to the team bus that day, Patricia still should've been able to coach up one second half defensive stop. One lousy punt. To have figured out how to help out Eric Rowe on Alshon Jeffrey's 34-yard touchdown. Or make it so Jordan Richards was in closer proximity to Corey Clement on his 55-yard catch than you currently are to me.
And I'm convinced that it's out of fondness for this debacle that Patricia will be drawing a salary in Philly this year. No so much payment for services rendered, but a gift. A show of appreciation. The equivalent of a nice Thank You card written in cursive. But printed. And every two weeks. With "Pay to the Order Of" on the front and Jeffrey Lurie's signature on the bottom.
Sure, the Eagles will say all the right things about Matty P's keen sense and analytic football mind being a tremendous asset to the organization. And maybe even mean it. But the larger truth is that it's not bad for business. The next time some coordinator on the other sideline is having a complete and utter meltdown, it's going to be somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind how, when Patricia was unemployed - and virtually unemployable - Philly stepped up and gave him a soft landing. So smart move by all involved.