The Lions had just hired Matt Patricia as their new head coach. Patricia arrived from New England, where he served as Patriots defensive coordinator when the team beat Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
One of the reasons why Sherman didn’t accept the Lions’ offer had to do with the Patriot Way culture that Patricia was bringing to Detroit.
“But that’s not the kind of football I want to play,” Sherman said of the Lions, per Lombardi. “The way you run their scheme, your culture. You want to do it the Patriots’ way and that’s really not the way I do football.
“I have fun. I like music at practice. I like to hang out and be relaxed in meetings. I don’t like the stressful environment in football. (The Lions) condition every day after practice. My body isn’t built to run all day and night. I’ll be prepared, but I don’t have to be run into the ground.”
There’s the “fun” word again.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson criticized the Patriots for a lack of fun after his team beat New England in Super Bowl LII. Patriots players were quick to remind Johnson they were having fun after winning Super Bowl LIII. After all, winning is pretty fun, and no team in sports has enjoyed more success in the 21st century than the Patriots. Six Super Bowl championships, nine AFC championships and 17 AFC East titles since 2000 speak for themselves.
Sherman, in fairness, clearly made the right choice between the 49ers and Lions.
The Lions have failed to become a playoff-caliber team under Patricia. Detroit is 9-22-1 in his two seasons as head coach, including a dreadful 3-12-1 record in 2019.
The 49ers will play against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night with the Lombardi Trophy at stake, and Sherman is a huge reason why San Francisco has reached this stage. He earned second team All-Pro honors as a key member of one of the league’s elite defenses.
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